Edakkal Caves are caves located at a height of 1200 m/4000 ft above sea level on Ambukutty Mala hill ranges. The actual caves that are referred to as Edakkal Caves is an opening or slit is formed on a single rock and is more than 30ft high! A huge stone or boulder is straddled in the slit! In fact, Edakkal means ‘stone in between’, and the name very aptly describes the caves! Edakkal caves are nestled around several rocks of different shapes and sizes. It is located at a height and hence it also offers beautiful view of the surroundings.
Enroute to Edakkal Caves
Visitors carefully observing the slit
Edakkal Caves are also known for pictorial etching that can interest archaeologists and other visitors alike. Several pictorial carvings are seen on few rocks and the oldest one is believed to be 8000 years old! The youngest of the carvings is believed to be from Indus Valley Civilization era. There are also few carvings that dates back to Harappan civilization. Apart from the pictorial carvings, you can also watch Tamil and Brahmi Script in Edakkal caves. Though the carvings are present in only some of the rocks, it has been believed to be from different times. This makes us believe that the caves were inhabited by different tribes and civilization over several years. These carvings are very special as they are the only evidence of stone age civilization in southern part of India.
A visitor carefully observing the carvings!
Just outside of the caves, there is a view point that offers a birds eye view of the surroundings. Several people use that place re-energize themselves after getting exhausted due the climb to reach this place. The view point offers magnificent greenery of Wayanad.
The caves were discovered in 1890 by the then Superintendent of Police, Fred- Fawcett. When on a hunting trip to Wayanad, he accidentally happened to find an axe/chisel made out of stone in one of the estates of Wayanad. Being an enthusiast in pre-history, he sensed that there may be some evidences of pre-historic sites nearby. He then inquired with several locals and set on an expedition to the mountain ranges in Wayanad. It is then that Fawcett came across Edakkal Caves, and he believed that the some of the carvings were done with tools that he found earlier.
There are also interesting mythological and tribal legends related to the Edakkal caves. According to the mythological legend, the caves are formed after Lava and Kusha, sons of Lord Rama, fired arrows onto the rocks. Few locals also believe that Lord Rama killed Ravana’s sister Surpanaka on this hill. The local tribals used to take an annual pilgrimage to Ambukutty Mala peak as it was believed that this peak is associated with Goddess Mudiampilli.
Path to Edakkal Caves
Several Caves enroute
Edakkal Caves is located at about 25 km from Kalpetta. Being at a high altitude of 1200 m, it takes a tough steep trek to reach the caves. The ascent begins near the vehicle parking. At a short distance, you will find ticketing counter (that closes at 4 PM) that charges a nominal amount as entry fee. From the ticketing counter, the ascent begins. The route gets steeper as you go higher. The route is well marked where at some places, stairs are carved out in rocks, and at other places, iron stairs are laid out. Though at some places, you need to jump/climb rocks, Edakkal caves can be reached by people of all ages (provided they are fit enough trek up 1 km). Different people take different amount of time to reach the top (of course, due to the fitness levels), but this can be a good testing point to check your own fitness level!
Initial part of the trek!
Where to Stay?
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