Are you fascinated by the mysteries of the past? Do you want to witness the amazing creations of our ancestors? If yes, then you should visit Edakkal Caves in Wayanad, Kerala, one of the most remarkable prehistoric sites in India. Edakkal Caves are not just ordinary caves, but natural rock shelters that contain stunning carvings dating back to thousands of years. These carvings depict various aspects of life, culture, and beliefs of the ancient people who lived in this region. Edakkal Caves are a must-see attraction for anyone who loves history, art, and adventure.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Edakkal Caves, such as their history, significance, location, structure, carvings, entry fee, timings, tips and advisory. We will also suggest some other attractions near Edakkal Caves that you can explore during your trip to Wayanad. By the end of this article, you will be convinced that Edakkal Caves are a worthy destination for your next vacation.
History and Significance of Edakkal Caves
Edakkal means “a stone in between” in Malayalam, the local language of Kerala. The name refers to the formation of the caves, which are actually natural fissures in a huge rock that has a smaller rock wedged in between. The caves have two levels, each with its own entrance and features. The lower level is accessible through a small opening at the base of the rock, while the upper level is reached through another opening in the roof of the lower level. The upper level is much larger and more spacious than the lower one.
The caves were discovered by Fred Fawcett, a British police officer and explorer, in 1890. He was on a hunting expedition in Wayanad when he noticed the entrance of the lower level of the caves. He climbed up to the upper level and was amazed by the sight of the rock carvings on the walls. He realized that these carvings were not ordinary graffiti, but ancient artworks that had immense historical and archaeological value. He published his findings in a paper titled “Notes on a Rock-shelter at Edakkal” in 1894.
Since then, Edakkal Caves have attracted many researchers and scholars who have studied and documented the carvings and their meanings. The carvings are estimated to be as old as 5000 BC to 1000 BC, making them one of the oldest examples of rock art in India.
They belong to different periods and cultures, such as Neolithic (New Stone Age), Chalcolithic (Copper Age), Megalithic (Iron Age), and even historic times. They represent various themes and motifs, such as animal and human figures, symbols, scripts, weapons, tools, etc. Some of the notable carvings are: A man with a jar-like head and horns, A man with a bow and arrow, A pair of elephants, and many more.
The carvings are not only artistic expressions, but also sources of information about the life, culture, and beliefs of the ancient people who lived in this region. They reveal their knowledge of agriculture, astronomy, mathematics, metallurgy, etc. They also reflect their social organization, religious practices, trade relations, etc. The carvings are a testimony to the rich and diverse heritage of India and its people.
How to Reach Edakkal Caves
Edakkal Caves are located in Ambukutty Mala, a hill range in Wayanad district of Kerala. The nearest town is Sulthan Bathery, which is about 12 km away from the caves. Sulthan Bathery is well connected by road to other major cities in Kerala and neighboring states such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. You can reach Sulthan Bathery by bus or taxi from places such as Kozhikode (Calicut), Kochi (Cochin), Mysore, Bangalore, etc.
From Sulthan Bathery, you can take a bus or taxi to reach Edakkal Caves. The road is narrow and winding and passes through scenic plantations and forests. You can also hire a bike or car to drive yourself to the caves. There is a parking area near the base of the hill where you can leave your vehicle for a nominal fee.
From the parking area, you have to trek for about 1.5 km (around 4000 ft) to reach the entrance of the lower level of the caves. The trek is moderately difficult and takes about 45 minutes to complete. You have to climb up a steep and rocky path that has steps and railings at some places. The trek is rewarding as you get to enjoy the panoramic views of the valley and the mountains.
Alternatively, you can also take a jeep service from the parking area to the entrance of the lower level of the caves. The jeep service is available from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM and charges INR 70 for a jeep of 8 people. The jeep ride is thrilling and adventurous as you pass through narrow and bumpy roads.
From the entrance of the lower level of the caves, you have to climb up an iron ladder and a rock wall to reach the entrance of the upper level of the caves. This takes about 15 minutes and requires some physical strength and stamina. The upper level of the caves is where you can see most of the rock carvings and spend some time admiring them.
Best Time to Visit Edakkal Caves and Weather Conditions
Wayanad has a pleasant and moderate climate throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from 18°C to 29°C. However, there are some seasonal variations that affect the visit to Edakkal Caves. The best time to visit Edakkal Caves is from October to May, when the weather is dry and sunny and the visibility is good. This is also the peak tourist season in Wayanad, so you can expect some crowd and queue at the caves.
The monsoon season in Wayanad is from June to September, when the region receives heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. This makes the trek to Edakkal Caves slippery and risky, and may also cause landslides and roadblocks. The caves may also be closed due to safety reasons during this time. However, if you are a nature lover and don’t mind getting wet, you can visit Edakkal Caves during this time to enjoy the lush greenery and waterfalls in Wayanad.
The summer season in Wayanad is from March to May, when the temperature rises up to 35°C and the humidity increases. This makes the trek to Edakkal Caves hot and exhausting, and may also cause dehydration and sunburn. You should avoid visiting Edakkal Caves during this time, or if you do, make sure to carry enough water, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, etc.
Things to Do and See at Edakkal Caves
Edakkal Caves are a treasure trove of ancient art and history that will leave you spellbound. You can spend hours exploring the caves and admiring the carvings that depict various aspects of life, culture, and beliefs of the ancient people who lived in this region. You can also learn more about the carvings and their meanings by hiring a guide or using an audio guide that are available at the entrance of the caves. The guides are knowledgeable and friendly and will enhance your experience of visiting Edakkal Caves.
The entry fee for Edakkal Caves is INR 20 for Indians and INR 40 for foreigners. The fee for still camera is INR 25 and for camcorders is INR 100. The timings for Edakkal Caves are from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. The caves are closed on Mondays and public holidays.
There are some facilities and amenities available at Edakkal Caves such as toilets, drinking water, shops, restaurants, etc. You can buy some souvenirs, snacks, beverages, etc. from the shops near the caves. You can also enjoy some local delicacies such as appam, puttu, kadala curry, etc. from the restaurants near the caves.
You may also like to read: Itinerary for a weekend trip from Bangalore to Wayanad
There are some rules and regulations to be followed at Edakkal Caves such as:
1. Photography is not allowed inside the caves
2. Littering is strictly prohibited
3. Touching or damaging the rock carvings is punishable
4. Smoking and drinking are not allowed
5. Safety precautions should be taken while trekking and climbing
6. Respect the heritage site and do not disturb other visitors
Other Attractions Near Edakkal Caves
This is a spectacular waterfall that cascades from a height of 200 meters into a pool below. You can enjoy the scenic beauty of the waterfall and its surroundings, or take a dip in the pool. The waterfall is also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfall because of its shape.
This is the highest peak in Wayanad at an altitude of 2100 meters. You can trek to the top of the peak and enjoy the panoramic views of Wayanad and its neighboring districts. You can also see a heart-shaped lake on the way to the peak, which is a popular spot for couples.
Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary:
This is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and home to a variety of flora and fauna. You can spot animals such as elephants, tigers, leopards, bears, deer, etc. and birds such as peacocks, hornbills, woodpeckers, etc. in their natural habitat. You can also take a safari or a nature walk in the sanctuary.
This is an island in the Kabini River that is spread over 950 acres of land. The island is rich in biodiversity and has many rare plants, animals, and birds. You can explore the island by walking on bamboo bridges or taking a raft or a boat ride. You can also enjoy some activities such as fishing, swimming, camping, etc. on the island.
This is a natural freshwater lake that is surrounded by hills and forests. The lake has a shape of India’s map and has a lotus pond in its center. You can enjoy the serene beauty of the lake and its surroundings, or indulge in some boating or fishing activities. You can also visit a nearby aquarium or a children’s park.
Tips and Advisory for Visiting Edakkal Caves
Visiting Edakkal Caves is an unforgettable experience that will enrich your knowledge and appreciation of India’s heritage and culture. However, to make your visit more enjoyable and hassle-free, you should follow some tips and advice such as:
1. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes for trekking
2. Carry a water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, etc.
3. Avoid visiting during peak hours or weekends to avoid crowd and queue
4. Hire a guide or use an audio guide to learn more about the rock carvings
5. Respect the heritage site and do not touch or damage the rock carvings
6. Be aware of monkeys and other animals that may be present near Edakkal Caves
7. Carry some cash as there may not be ATM or card facilities near Edakkal Caves
8. Book your tickets or tours of Edakkal Caves in advance to avoid disappointment
Edakkal Caves are a wonder of nature and history that will take you back in time to the ancient world of rock art. You will be amazed by the beauty and significance of the carvings that depict various aspects of life, culture, and beliefs of the ancient people who lived in this region. You will also enjoy the adventure and thrill of trekking and climbing to the caves and exploring their features. Edakkal Caves are a must-visit attraction for anyone who loves history, art, and adventure.
You may also like to read: Lazy weekend at Wayanad, Kerela
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