Kerala is a cradle of visually stunning vistas that greets you with the warmth and love of classic Indian hospitality. While the lofty Western Ghats, emerald green paddy fields, thick swaying coconut groves, and the vast green expanse of aromatic tea plantations make Kerala a green Paradise, the mighty Arabian sea and sky-scraping mountain ranges add a contrast of blue tone to the place, turning it into a land of breathtaking beauty and the most demanding tourist destination among global travellers. If there is a place in Kerala where you can experience the ultimate charm and the extraordinary creativity of nature, it is the one and only Wayanad, fondly hailed as the “Ooty of Kerala“. Owing to its immense beauty as well as historical and cultural significance, Wayanad attracts a lot of nature lovers and historians. For tourists seeking adventure like, trekking, hiking, rock climbing etc, Wayanad offers myriads of opportunities also.
Situated about 25 kilometres away from Kalpetta, the Edakkal Caves are located in the remote island of Edakkal. The caves are one of the biggest tourist destinations in South India.
Each year, thousands of tourists visit the caves to checkout its natural beauty and legendary status. There are many legends and tales about the formation of the caves. Let’s explore the history and attractions of the caves.
The Edakkal Caves in Wayanad is a natural wonder which dates back to 6000 BC and still amazes the tourists especially those people who are interested in stone age history. Moreover, it is the only place in India where you can find the stone age carvings. Set high on the hills of Ambukutty (Ambukutty Mala) in Wayanad district at an altitude of 1,200 m above the sea level, the Edakkal Cave is actually a fissure in the rocks that has occurred due to natural calamities and climate change, though it resembles a cave. Edakkal Cave translates to “a stone in between” as it looks like a huge boulder wedged between two bigger stones and is 96 feet long and has a width of 22 feet. One can reach the Edakkal Caves only by trekking up the Ambukutty Hills.
As per legends, it is believed that the historic Edakkal Caves are formed by the arrows of Lava and Kusha, the sons of Lord Rama (Seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.). Another myth is regarding Goddess Mudiampilly and Kutti Chathan. History says that the Edakkal Cave was first discovered by Fred Fawcett during his hunting trip to Wayanad in 1890. Fred Fawcett was the then Superintendent of Police of the Malabar district. And he further discovered that the caves were the habitat of the Neolithic people.
It is also discovered that Edakkal Caves has some links with Indus Valley Civilization. The rock carving and the unique symbols that indicate the remnants of Harappan culture which was recently discovered from Edakkal Caves by the State Archaeological Department is proof for this. Around 429 unique signs were found out from the cave among which the most prominent one is ‘A man with a jar cup’, that stands unique to the Indus civilization. The other compound letters found here date back from 2300 BC to 1700 BC and are identified as remnants of the Harappan culture. Further studies concluded that the Edakkal caves had remnants up to the Iron Age.
What you Experience:
As the Edakkal Cave is set very high on the Ambukutty Hills, it requires a 45-minute climb to reach the cave. And the trek passes through sprawling lush green coffee plantations and the cool breeze accompanying make you zestful. On the way, the carvings of Adam, Eve and Satan from the Bible admire the glances of every passerby.
Though the trek is quite difficult, the cool and serene ambience of the place, as well as the breathtaking view of the scenic Wayanad Hills and the surrounding peaks, leave you dumbfounded. The drawings engraved on the caves will take you to the pre-historic times. You can zoom in the panoramic view of the surrounding peaks with the help of a telescope kept near the cave and the experience is simply superb.
Some portions of the Edakkal Caves are petroglyphs, these are not caves but rifts in the rocks, or clefts. There are three types of petroglyphs to see at the Edakkal Caves and the oldest ones date back 8,000 years. The petroglyphs have excellent formations that are great to see.
- Edakkal cave in Wayanad is the only place in India where you can find Stone Age Carvings which includes figures of human beings, animals, ancient weapons, ancient stone scripts, and other symbols.
- The Edakkal Cave is a double chambered naturally formed cavern whose lower chamber is 18 feet long and 12 feet wide while the upper chamber has a length of 96 feet with a width of 22 feet.
- These Carvings belongs to the Neolithic and Mesolithic age which date back to the 6000 BC.
- One can find three types of petroglyphs at the Edakkal Cave in which the oldest ones date back 8,000 years.
- Edakkal Cave is an amazing trekking spot in Wayanad that attracts swarms of trekking enthusiasts every year.
Tourist places near Edakkal Caves:
- Wayanad Heritage Museum: It is renowned as the largest archaeological museum in Kerala.
- Phantom Rock: Offering a good scenic view and a pleasant ambience, the Phantom Rock is an ideal place for a small trek and is named so for its resemblance to the human skull.
- Neelimala View Point: Neelimala View Point is a nice place to hang out with nature and it offers a splendid view of the picturesque landscapes, hills, dense forests and the mesmerizing Meenmutty Waterfalls.
- Jain Temple: It is a historical place with a peaceful atmosphere, ideal for meditation and it reminds us of the period of strong Jain presence in the region.
- Soochippara Waterfalls: The view of Soochippara Waterfalls gushing down in three tiers with the backdrop of deciduous, evergreen and montane forests is an awe-inspiring sight to watch.
October to May is considered as the best time to visit the Edakkal Caves.
Nearest Airport: Calicut International Airport, about 112.7 Km.
Nearest Railway Station: Calicut Railway Station, about 99.8 Km.
Nearest Bus Station: Sulthan Bathery Bus Station, about 14.4 Km.
If you love exploring nature and adventure sports, you’ll enjoy the experience of exploring the Edakkal Caves. It’s a great trek and a wonderful way to connect with nature.