Wayanad Heritage museum is situated at Ambalavayal, about 12 km from Sulthan Bathery. It is one of the largest and best archaeological museums in Kerala
There are many places in Wayanad which have great archaeological and anthropological relevance. Edakkal Caves is one of them and during the1980s there were large scale research and preservation attempts of these caves. The anthropologists who were engaged in this task collected innumerable artefacts from the district, mainly from places like Ambalavayal, Sultan Bathery and the forests of Wayanad.
These attempts brought in more interest from the district authorities and together with anthropologists, the authorities enhanced the mission to excavate more artefacts of archaeological relevance. Many relics were unearthed from Muthanga, Nalluvayal, Edathara and many other places of the district. The efforts became very successful when students from various colleges in the district as well as from Calicut University also started participating and collecting relics from various regions of Malabar. Even the local people came out with many artefacts used by the tribes.
The authorities started thinking of ways to preserve these relics and with the help of the state Archaeology Department, a museum was established at Ambalavayal.
One of the best-maintained museums in Kerala, the Ambalavayal Heritage Museum houses a rich collection of artefacts which stand in testimony of the fact that there had been an advanced civilisation which existed in the mountains of Wayanad. This heritage museum is one of the largest and best archaeological museums in the state. Exhibits in the museum include many stone weapons, stone carvings, 14th to 16th century sculptures, potteries of Megalithic Age, hunting equipments, clay sculptures and other interesting artefacts. Idols made of hard and soft rocks, which were believed to be worshipped by the ancient people too can be seen in the museum.
The exhibits collected are preserved in four blocks – Veerasmruthi, Gothrasmruthi, Devasmruthi and Jeevanasmruthi.
Veerasmruthi mainly includes different types of pictorial rock edicts known as Veerakkallu or Hero Stones, which talk about the valiant warriors of the bygone era. Hero Stones had been erected on the tombs of warriors to commemorate their heroic deeds – be it in a war or an attempt to kill wild animals like tigers.
Gothrasmruthi and Jeevansmruthi sections are related to articles associated with tribal life. Tribal artefacts like headgear, jewellery, hunting and fishing weapons, cowbells, farming implements and musical instruments are on display here.
The artefacts exhibited in the Devasmruthi block attract a lot of scholars and students interested in archaeology, as they belong to the very ancient times – from Neolithic age to the 17th century. Stone idols dating back to 12th century, terracotta figurines and local art works excavated from the Malabar region have been put on display here.
There is also a multi-media theatre near the Museum which offers a show for tourists.