History of Chain Tree tourist spot at Wayanad

Chain Tree is located along the national highway near the Pepper Wayanad Gate hotel and is an interesting tourist spot for the visitors to Wayanad. Read this article to know more about the history of the Chain Tree.

Chain Tree is a Ficus tree with a massive steel chain hanging on it, and is along the national highway near the Wayanad Ghat Pass at Lakkidi, in the district of Wayanad. This is a quick stop for many travellers from Kozhikkode to Wayanad and the chain on the tree has a (fictitious) story to tell.

History of Chain Tree

The history of Chain Tree is associated with a local tribal called Karinthandan, who was killed by the British after taking his help to discover the routes through the ghat.

During the colonial era, Wayanad didn't have any developed roads. Due to the heavy rainfalls it receive, this place was blessed with a lot of thick rain forests. Only the local tribals were aware of the paths through the forests.

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Chain Tree at Lakkidi, Wayanad

Karinthandan - the legend

Karinthandan belonged to Paniyas (an Adivasi/tribal community) in Wayanad, who lived between 1700 - 1750 AD. It is believed that he is the person who found out the Wayanad Ghat route during British period. Being the local chieftain of Adivaram region, he knew every nook and corner of the hillocks in the region.

Once the British Viceroy announced a reward to those who find a way from Thamarassery to Wayanad and help to build a new road across the churam. A British engineer took the help of Karinthandan to explore the paths through the dense forests. After discovering the unknown routes, to take credits for the discovery of this beautiful place, the engineer took him to the peak of a mountain and shot him dead there.

The British developed roads through the forests of Wayanad and started exploiting the resources in the area. But the soul of Karinthandan started haunting the passengers. A lot of accidents happened during 1890 and 1900. It was believed that it was Karinthandan's soul that caused the accidents.

In addition to the attacks from the wild animals, people had to worry about the ghost of Karinthandan. A pandit (priest) was called to study the cause of the problems. According to the priest, the travellers are being haunted by the ghost of Karinthandan. After a lot of efforts, the priest managed to chain the ghost to a Ficus tree, which is now known as "Chain Tree of Wayanad".

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Current state of Chain Tree (Changala maram)

The tree has grown up and is about 25 feet tall now, giving good shade all over the place. It is said that the chain bound on the tree is growing along with the tree. A small temple (named "Changala Muneeswaran Kovil") has been built adjacent to the tree. The deity of the temple is none other than the adivasi cheiftain who was killed by the English engineer.

You can see a small tea shop under the shade of the tree, selling tea, cool drinks and snacks to the travellers who stop by the tree to pay respect to the soul bound on the tree. There is a Coffee Day located just about 100 meters from the Chain Tree.

The chain tree looks no different from other similar trees except for the steel chain sunken deep into the trunk and hanging from a tall branch. Since the tree doesn't really stand out, you may not even notice it unless you look for it. If you don't want to miss this, look for "Pepper Wayanad Gate" hotel on the right (while coming from Kozhikkode) and the tree is just opposite to the hotel.

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Name board in front of Chain Tree
A small board in front of the tree that reads: Changalayitta Maram - Muneeswaran Kovil

A lot of people stop by just because they are curious about the chain on the tree. If you are travelling this route, it may be worth stopping by to take a 5 minute break under the shade of the tree. Many truck drivers stop by and pray for a safe journey up and down the hilly terrain. Many others stop by just to take a short break after climbing the hilly ghat road.

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Hotel Wayanad Gate near Chain Tree
The Coffee Day and Pepper Wayand Gate hotel opposite to the tree are good options for refreshments near Chain Tree. You can see the tree on the right side of the highway in this photo. The big building on the left is the Pepper Wayand Gate hotel. The Coffee Day is hidden next to the hotel.

Karinthandan Smrithi Yatra

An NGO called PEEP (People's Action For Educational And Economic Development Of Tribal People) organizes Karinthandan Smrithi Yatra in memory of Karinthandan. This procession is organized from Lakkidi to Adivaaram on the second Sunday of March every year and is participated by thousands of people from the Paniya community from all parts of Kerala. The Paniya community has urged the government to install a statue of Karinthandan near the 'chain tree' and name the ghat road as Karinthandan memorial ghat road.

Information for travellers

Location: 2 km from Wayanad Gate/Wayanad Ghat road while coming from Kozhikkode. Along the highway
Nearest hotel: Pepper Wayanad Gate (50 meters from the tree)
What to do: Stop the car, admire the tree, give a short break to your car, have some refreshments at the Coffee Day, Tea Shop or in the Wayanad Gate hotel.
Nearest attractions: Thamarassery ghat pass (Wayanad churam) view points, Pookot Lake & boating
Time to spend: 2 to 5 minutes
Fees: It is just a quick stop by the highway and there is no fee to watch the chain tree unless you want to offer some money to the small temple attached to the tree.

1. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/Tribal-hero-of-Thamarassery-Ghat-road-gets-a-face/articleshow/38987798.cms
2. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/in-memory-of-a-tribal-martyr/article2986449.ece
3. http://www.peepwayanad.org/karinthandan.html

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Wayanad

Photos of Chain Tree

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Guest Author: Mahadev08 Mar 2016

Even though I have seen this tree several times when I pass through Lakkidi, I never knew this place has such a history to tell. I thought this is just a shade for the truck drivers to stop and take rest for a while. I have seen many drivers paying offerings in that small temple under the chain tree and thanks for sharing all the history behind it. Next time when I go through Wayanad, I will make sure I stop by and check the place myself in detail.

Guest Author: Ashwin Kumar08 Jun 2016

It is always interesting to hear about the history behind such places. Chain tree is visible in front of the highway and people dare to go near it, if what I've heard is true.

Any essence of truth in the paranormal stories about Thamarassery ghat pass?

Guest Author: Nakul Bhagnani29 Jun 2016

We also halted in the same hotel and wondered what this chained tree is! We can see that a small mandir or murthi is installed in below. I would like to know, whether any confirmation on these kind of mythical stories?

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