Saturday, July 20, 2024

Tourism      Monuments      Rock - cut Caves      Kerala     Wayanad    

Edakkal Caves

Place : Wayanad District, Kerala
Significance : One Of The Earliest Centres Of Human Habitation
Best Season : December - May
Timings : 9am to 5 pm
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Located amidst the thick flora and fauna of the Ambukuthy mountain range at 4,000ft, the pre-historic Edakkal Caves is 25 km from Kalpetta in the Wayanad district of Kerala. Edakkal Caves are natural caves that feature prehistoric New Stone Age petroglyphs in the Pali and Brahmini scripts. These caves have become famous all over the world as one of the earliest human habitats.

A legend behind this cave is that, the caves were formed by arrows fired by Lava and Kusha, the two sons of Sri Rama ( the celebrated hero of the famous epic, 'Ramayana'). Some other belief that Lord Rama killed Surpanakha (the sister of Ravana) in the narrow fissure at the southern end of Edakkal cave. 

According to Archaeologists, the caves boasts line drawings belonging to the Neolithic Age, dating back to 4,000-1,700 BC. The drawings at Edakkal depict human figures, stars, wheels, bows, knives, palm trees, various animals like dogs, foxes, deer's etc.

F. Fawcett, a Superintendent of Police cum a pre-history enthusiast, accidentally discovered the caves in 1894. There are two caves in Ambukuthy hills, between Sultan Bathery and Ambalavayal. It is said that these caves are formed by a split in a huge rock due to some natural causes. The name 'Edakkal' is derived from the rock that is supported in between other larger rocks (Edai + Kal = stone in the middle).

The caves are situated in the middle of the Ambukuthimala and to reach this cave, a 1 km trekking is needed. The trail is narrow and extremely steep (about 80° ) with lush greenery all around. A gate is situated at the entrance of the Edakkal Caves. The cave is on two levels, the lower chamber is about 18 feet long , 12 feet width and 10 feet high. One have to pass through a gap to enter the caves. 

At the entrance, one can see a Kerala Government Tourist Guide and he will explain the tourists about the caves. Wetness and stream can be seen inside the cave. The fascinating prehistoric rock etchings can be see on the walls of these caves which are protected by iron poles. 

For the second cave journey one have to flight of stairs cut into the rocks and this upper chamber is about 96 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 18 feet high. A huge stone acts as the roof of the cave and the light enters the cave through a big gap at the right-hand corner of the roof . 

A few feet from the caves, is a telescope, installed by the tourism department where, each visitor needs to pay 3 rupees. One can view the town Ambalavayal and Sulthan Bathery since it is situated in such a high altitude. The peak of the hill is further a 500ft of trekking but this is quite dangerous and an unguided trekking. There is rope tied to iron poles that are drilled into the rocks and getting down from this is more difficult than get on the peak. From the highest point, one can see a bird's view of three southern states Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. 

The best time to visit is during morning hours and the trek is avoidable during the rainy season as the rocks may be slippery. 

Near By Attractions

The Wayanad Heritage Museum 

Situated in Ambalavayal, it consists an interesting collection of history, culture and heritage of Wayanad. Rock sculptures, tools, weapons and utensils related to the tribal people, terra cotta sculptures, pottery, the soils from different parts of Wayanad etc. Near to this, is a small theatre where one can watch a multimedia presentation on Wayanad.

Soochippara falls (Sentinel Rock falls)

It is located near Mepadi. The waterfalls falls at three levels amidst in lush green tea gardens. The falls range from 100 feet to 300 feet.