Wayanad district is a district of Kerala with its administrative headquarters located at Kalpetta town. The name of the district is derived from the two terms i.e. Vayal meaning paddy and Naad meaning land. Both the terms together means the 'Land of Paddy Fields'. The records of the archaeological department had proved the fact that the Wayanad forests have been inhabited for more than 3,000 years. Even the historians believe that human life existed in the hills of the place since the New Stone Age civilisation. There are two caves of Ampukuthimala situated in the way between Sulthan Bathery and Ambalavayal has some interesting pictures and pictorial writings on their walls which put up volumes of the bygone era and civilisation. Originally, this land was a tribal dominated region. The Rajas of the Veda tribe ruled the place in the ancient times. After sometime the Pazhassi Rajahs of Kottayam came to the region, Wayanad and captured it. In the later days, Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore invaded the Wayanad and made it a significant part of his kingdom. In this way during different periods of time the district was ruled by numerous great rulers. The present district of Wayanad was emerged on 1st November, 1980 when the north Wayanad and South Wayanad were carved out and then both joined together in order to fulfil the aspirations of the natives for development.
Geographically, the district lies at 11°71'N latitude, 76°10'E longitude and 2100 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 74.20% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 2,130 sq km. and it is bounded by Coorg district of Karnataka on the North, Malappuram district on the South, Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu and Mysore district of Karnataka on the East and Kozhikode district and Kannur district on the West. The climate of the district remains comfortable and cool throughout the year except the summer season. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 2761.4 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 3 taluks namely Vythiri, Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady. Moreover, it comprises 1 town and 48 villages. The administrative language in the district is Malayalam.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 8,17,420 out of which 4,01,684 are males and 4,15,736 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 1035 (females for every 1000 males). In the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 4.71% including 2.66% were males and 6.78% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu and Muslim with 49.48% and 28.65% of the total population. The population density in the district is 384 persons per sq. km. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Malayalam with 96.05%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 14,053 out of which 7,057 were males and 6,996 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 4,717 out of which 2,718 were males and 1,999 were females.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. Most of the lands in the district are use for agricultural purposes. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural crops in the district are Coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper, plantain, vanilla, rice, coconut, cardamom, tea, ginger, etc. Wayanad is famous for its rice production. The two rice of the district namely Wayanad Jeerakasala rice and Wayanad Gandhakasala rice has their different properties. Another source of economy in the district is the cattle farming. The tourism sector of the district is very developed and every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from this sector helps in its economy to a great extent. The district is scantily industrialised. In the name of industry, there is only Wayanad dairy of Milma (Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation) at Kalpetta and a few small scale industries. In 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Wayanad as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 13,97,819 lakhs at current price and Rs. 8,55,657 lakhs at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 12,16,089 lakh at current price and Rs. 7,58,560 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 1,42,401 at current price and Rs. 88,826 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district is well known as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University has its headquarters and main campus at Pookode, 14 km away from Kalpetta. There are some colleges in the district which are affiliated to this university. Some of its recognised colleges are Government Engineering College, Oriental School of Hotel Management, College of Dairy Science and Technology, Oriental Institute for Management Studies, Centre for Computer Science and Information Technology of Calicut University, Centre for PG Studies in Social Work of Calicut University, etc. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 89.03% including 92.51% are males and 85.7% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 6,45,585 including 3,28,136 are males and 3,17,449 are females.
M. P. Veerendra Kumar, a veteran Indian politician and a member of the 14th Lok Sabha was born on 15th August, 1937 in the Wayanad district. He is a member of the Socialist Janata (Democratic) political party and the president of Kerala state unit of the party.
During the year June 2021, there were 2,25,401 domestic tourists and 37 foreign tourists. The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Neelimala, located in the south eastern part of Wayanad is a trekker’s delight, with options for different trekking routes. The sight at the top of Neelimala, with the nearby Meenmutty falls is a breathtaking one. Another beautiful waterfall in the Wayanad district is named Chethalayam falls. In comparison to the Meenmutty waterfall the size of this waterfall is small. The Banasura Sagar dam, at Banasura Sagar in the southwestern part of Wayanad district is recognised as the largest earth dam in India. Pakshipathalam, located deep inside the forest in the Brahmagiri hills mainly comprises large boulders and some of them really massive.