Wayanad District is a district in the north-east of Kerala state, India with headquarters at the town of Kalpetta. The district was formed on 1 November 1980 as the 12th district in Kerala by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. The district is 3.79% urbanised, with three municipal towns Kalpetta, Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery.
Wayanad district is in the southern tip of the Deccan Plateau. Part of the Western Ghats is in the district. In the centre of the district hills are lower in height while the northern area has high hills.The eastern area is flat and open.
The region was known as Mayakshetra (Maya’s land) in the earliest records. Mayakshetra evolved into Mayanad and finally to Wayanad.The Folk etymology of the word says it is a combination of Vayal (paddy field) and Naad (land), making it ‘The Land of Paddy Fields’. There are many indigenous tribals in this area.
It is set high on the Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 m.It is the least populous district in Kerala.Unlike all other 13 districts of Kerala, in Wayanad district, there is no town or village named same as the district (i.e., there is no “Wayanad town”).
Wayanad district stands on the southern tip of the Deccan plateau and includes part of the Western Ghats. Quite a large area of the district is covered by forest but the continued and indiscriminate exploitation of the natural resources point towards an imminent environmental crisis. It has a large amount of dry and moist deciduous forest. Wayanad is home to endangered species.
In 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Wayanad one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).It is one of the two districts in Kerala currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
According to the 2011 census Wayanad district had a population of 816,558,roughly equal to the nation of Comoros.This gives it a ranking of 482nd in India (out of a total of 640).The district has a population density of 383 inhabitants per square kilometre (990/sq mi).Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 4.6%.Wayanad has a sex ratio of 1035 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 89.32%.Badagas are present in 21 hamlets spread across Wayanad.The entire Wayanad region falls under the Kannada speaking area as per the linguistic survey and history of Colonel Wilks.