Mal: വയനാട് vayanāṭ
‘Ricefield Country’ District, Kerala
From Mal: vayal, ‘rice-field’; and nāṭu’, ‘country’.
Wayanad is famous for its varieties of rice: some of which grow only here.
But rice is in decline. 40,000 hectares of land was under rice cultivation in the 1960s, which has fallen to 10,000 hectares now. With this decline, many traditional rice varieties have already gone completely extinct while some are slowly on their way out.
Both jeerakasala and gandhakasala Wayanad aromatic rice varieties have been registered with the Geographical Indications (GI) registry of Government of India in 2010. These varieties have the potential to compete with the well known varieties of scented rice like basmati and jasmine rice.
Wayanad is also famous for its mountains rivers, gorges and tribal culture.