Wayanad District in the north-east of Kerala, India, was formed on November 1, 1980 as the 12th district by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. Kalpetta is the district headquarters as well as the only municipal town in the district. 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) and Naad (land), making it 'The Land of Paddy Fields'. There are many indigenous tribals in this area. It is set high on the majestic Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 m.
According to archaeological evidence, the Wayanad forests have been inhabited for more than three thousand years. Wayanad was originally ruled by Vedar kings. However, after a Kshatriya Prince (Raja of Kumbala), was captured and held hostage in Tirunelli by the Vedars, it was invaded and annexed by a combined force lead by the Raja of Kottayam and the Raja of Kurumbranad. The Vedar king (Arippan) was killed and most of his subjects were massacred. However, the Raja of Kumbala asked a Nair aristocrat, Nanthillath Nambiar to marry the daughter of the Vedar king, who had survived the massacre. Nambiar was appointed as the Moopil Nair of Veliyambam, where the surviving Vedars were resettled.