Apart from the administrative capital of the district, Kalpetta is also the center of tourism activities in Wayanad due to its central location within the district and its proximity to most visited tourist sites. There is a good number of hotels and resorts within and surrounding Kalpetta town.
It is believed that the early Jain residents who migrated from Karnataka have named the place "Kalpetta". In Kannada, the words "Kal" and "Pettah" means "deposits of stones". Rocks -large and small- are found throughout the landscape of Kalpetta. Hence the name.
Kalpetta was under the rule of Western Ganga dynasty until AD930. Through ages this region fell into the rule of Hoysala Empire, Vijayanagara Empire, and Kingdom of Mysore. Pazhassi Raja was the next to rule the region. Kalpetta Nair administered the place as the representative for Pazhassi Raja. Mysorean invasion of Kerala made Kalpetta a part of Tipu Sultan's empire. This continued until the demise of Tipu Sultan. Along with the rest of Malabar, Kalpetta also came under British rule after Tipu Sultan's demise.
In Wayanad, the Indian independence movement started first at Kalpetta. The first political conference was held in 1921 under the leadership of Dharmaraja Iyer. K. P. Kesava Menon and A. K. Gopalan participated in this meeting. Formation of the committee of Indian National Congress also occurred around the same time. Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi visited Kalpetta on 1934 January 14.
Kalpetta became the headquarters when Wayanad district was formed on 1 November 1980. Kalpetta was still a Village Panchayath when it became district headquarters and it attained Municipality status on 1 April 1990.
As of 2011 India census, Kalpetta had a population of 31,580. Males constitute 49% of the population and females 51%. In Kalpetta, 11% of the population is under the age of 6.
Being the district headquarters, Kalpetta is home to a large number of government offices. Besides, the district level offices of Media Houses, Political Parties etc. also function out of Kalpetta. Hence a large section of the population of Kalpetta are office-goers. Like elsewhere in Kerala, Hindus, Muslims and Christians live in harmony in Kalpetta. There is a significant Jain population also in Kalpetta.
Kalpetta has very good road connectivity with the rest of Kerala and neighboring South Indian cities. NH212 connects Kalpetta with Kozhikode and Mysore. State Highways connect Kalpetta with Ooty in Tamil Nadu and Madikeri in Karnataka. En route to Mysore on NH 212, past Wayanad district boundary, which is also the Kerala state boundary, NH 212 passes through Bandipur National Park. There is a night traffic ban imposed on this stretch since 2009. The alternate road to take is, leave NH 212 at Kalpetta and proceed to Mysore through Mananthavady, Kutta, Gonikoppal, and Hunsur.
The nearest airport is Calicut International Airport, 100 km from Kalpetta.Mahathma Gandhi Museum
Myladippara trekking center
Meppadi Garden village
Anantnath Swami Temple
The Wayanad dairy of Milma (Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation) is situated at Chuzhali within Kalpetta Municipal Limits. There is a Mini Industries Park promoted by Kinfra at Kalpetta. Several small scale industries function out of this Park. Tourism and hospitality industry experienced a boom in recent years. This has led to mushrooming of resorts throughout Wayanad, with the largest concentration of hotels and resorts at Kalpetta and adjoining areas within Vythiri taluk.
Local Administration : Kalpetta is the Ist municipality in Wayanad district. Currently, Ms UmibaMoideenkutty of UDF is the Chairperson of Kalpetta Municipality. Kalpetta is also the headquarters of Kalpetta Block Panchayath and Wayanad District Panchayath.
Kerala Legislative Assembly : Kalpetta constituency is currently represented by Mr. CK Saseendran MLA.
Lok Sabha : Kalpetta is part of the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency. Mr. M I Shanavas is the current MP.
Midhun Jith- Indian Team player /Guinness World Record Breaker & World Kickboxing Champion
Abu Salim - actor
M. P. Veerendra Kumar - writer and politician
- Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Pookode (14 km from Kalpetta)
- College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at Pookode (14 km from Kalpetta)
- Oriental School of Hotel Management located at Lakkidi (15 km from Kalpetta)
- DM WIMS Medical College located at Meppadi (15 km) is the only Medical College in Wayanad district
- College of Dairy Science and Technology, Pookode offers B.Tech degree course in Dairy Science & Technology
- College of Engineering, Thalapuzha, Wayanad
- DM WIMS Nursing College located at Meppadi
- Kendriya Vidyalaya, Kalpetta
- SKMJ Higher Secondary School, Kalpetta
- De Paul Public School, Kalpetta
- Govt.College, Vellaramkunnu, Kalpetta.
- St: Joseph's convent School, Kalpetta
There is a high demand to start Kalpetta - Ernakulam Super Fast KSRTC service via Thamarassery, Perinthalmanna, Guruvayoor, NH17. This is the easiest way to reach Ernakulam from here instead of going through Kozhikode and Thrissur.