Rare caves with Stone Age carvings and the only known examples from South India
- Timing: 9 am-4pm
- Required Time: 3-4hrs
- Entry Fees: Rs.20 per person
Edakkal caves are two natural caves located in Kalpetta in the Wayanad district. These caves are located 1,200 m above sea level on Ambukuthi Mala. ‘Edakkal’ literally means ‘a stone in between’. Even though it's a tourist place, it is also a place with a lot of historical importance. There are two mythical stories behind these caves. One of the stories is that these caves are said to be formed with the arrows fired by Lava and Kusha, the sons of Lord Sri Rama. Another one is associated with Kutti Chathan and the Goddess Mudiampilly. The local people used to have a pilgrimage trip to this place to honor the Goddess.
The pictorial paintings of Edakkal caves are very famous and are considered to be from 6000 BC. There are two chambers inside the cave, a lower chamber which is 18 ft long, 12 ft wide, and 10 ft high, and an upper chamber which is 96 ft long, 22 ft wide, and 18 ft high. Visitors can see carvings of human, animal figures, and objects used by humans, on the walls of the caves. These carvings provide evidence of a highly civilized society that lived in the pre-historic age. Archeologists and historians, worldwide, are attracted to these caves because of their historical importance.
The visiting time to Edakkal caves is from morning 9 am to evening 4:00 pm. After reaching the lower part of Ambukutty hills by car or bus visitors need to climb the hills. Up to a certain point of the hills, visitors can make use of the jeeps arranged by the DTPC. A reasonable entry fee should be paid at the ticket counter to enter the cave. One has to trek through the Ambukuthi Mala to reach the caves. After 45-50 minutes of climbing, you will reach the historic caves which will never make you disappointed.
- Mondays are holidays
- A little bit risky for older people
- Can get a panoramic view of the surrounding places through a telescope installed a few feet from the caves.
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Fred Fawcett, the then Superintendent of Police of the Malabar district in 1890 discovered these caves. During his hunting trip to Wayanad, he discovered the Edakkal rock shelter. He recognized the place as a habitat of Neolithic people. During various stages of history, different sets of people occupied the Edakkal Caves. The nature of representations on the cave walls the line drawings engraved on the rocks show the evidence of historic settlements. Petroglyphs of three different types are seen in the caves and some depictions are around 7000 years old. In South India, Edakkal is the only known place for stone-age carvings. The carvings belonging to the Neolithic and Mesolithic Age include ancient stone scripts, ancient weaponry figures, symbols, figures of various animals, and human beings.
Carved images of a tribal king, a queen, a child, a deer, and an elephant can be seen on the rock walls in the caves. A human figure with headgear, another on a wheeled cart, and some male and female figures too can be seen. There are images of tools used by earlier human beings and many other symbols that corroborate the presence of pre-historic men. One can see weird-shaped figures, crosses, triangles, tridents, squares, stars, wheels, spirals, plant motifs, pot-shaped items, various animals, and human figures carved on the rock walls inside the caves. Human figures on the carvings with raised hairs, masked faces are really impressive and have archaeological significance. The Tamil Brahmi script has been identified from the caves apart from these pictorial carvings and ancient inscriptions.