Edakkal Caves | Wayanad
Edakkal Caves are two natural caves in a remote location at Edakkal, in the Wayanad district of Kerala. They are located 1,200 meters (3,900 ft) above sea level on the Ambukuthi hill, near the ancient trade route that connected the high mountains of Mysore with the ports on the Malabar coast. Inside these caves are paintings from Neolithic man, believed to date back to at least 6,000 BC, suggesting a prehistoric settlement in the area. The Stone Age carvings at Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples from South India apart from Senthurini in Kollam, Kerala. The cave paintings of the Senthurini (Shendurni) forests in Kerala date back to the Mesolithic (Mesolithic) period. These are not technically caves, but a 96-foot (29 m) by 22-foot (6.7 m) high cleft or rock shelter, a 30-foot-deep (9.1 m) cleft where a piece of rock splits open. On one side of the fissure is several tons of rock forming the 'roof' of the cave. The carvings contain human and animal figures, tools used by humans, symbols that are not yet decipherable, and indicate the presence of prehistoric habitation. There are at least three types of petroglyphs inside the cave. The oldest is more than 8,000 years old. Evidence suggests that the Edakkal Caves were inhabited several times at different stages of history. The caves contain drawings from the Neolithic period, dating from 6,000 BC to 1,000 BCE. The youngest paintings have made headlines for their possible connection to the Indus Valley Civilization.
The caves were discovered in 1890 by the then Malabar District Superintendent of Police, Fred Fawcett, during his hunting trip to Wayanad, and he immediately recognized their anthropological and historical significance. He wrote an article about them, attracting the attention of scholars.Edakkal Cave also has many legends. The cave is also called "Ambukuthi Mala'' as it is believed that Rama's sons Lava and Kusha created the cave by shooting arrows at the mountain. Another is associated with Kutti Chatan and Goddess Mudiyampilli. Locals used to make pilgrimage to this place to enshrine the goddess. Historian Raghava Warrier of the Kerala State Archeology Department has identified a depiction of "A Man with Jar Cup" as the most distinctive form of the Indus Valley Civilization. A discovery made in September 2009 indicates that the Harappan civilization was active in the region. The "A Man with Jar Cup" symbol from Edakal is said to be more similar to the Indus motif than already known from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The discovery of symbols is similar to the Harappan civilization, a predominantly Dravidian culture, attesting that cultural diffusion may have occurred. It would be wrong to assume that the Indus civilization disappeared into thin air. Iravatam Mahadeva, a scholar of the Indus Valley and Gesusu scripts, said the findings were very significant, calling it a "major discovery". A trip to Edakkal Caves is like a trip to our forgotten past. Located at a distance of 10 km from Sultan Batheri, they have provided historians with excellent information about the life and habits of our forefathers. The caves are two natural rock formations believed to have formed a large fissure in one giant rock. The carvings inside are exquisite. Reaching these caves requires a trek through the majestic Ambukuthi Hills. The aroma of coffee stays with you the whole way. It is truly a surreal experience to step into history. Located at an altitude of about 1200 feet above sea level, Edakkal Caves are among the oldest human settlements ever discovered. The name Edakkal itself means "a stone between".
The Edakkal cave paintings are remarkable for their scale and complexity, but their origins are shrouded in mystery. Since their discovery, they have been a source of awe and wonder to tourists and historians alike. The carvings are rich and varied. Human figures, animals, tools, vehicles, everyday events and scripts in different languages have been found here. The variety of carvings suggests that the Edakkal Caves were inhabited several times at different stages of history. These caves attract many history buffs and archeology students who want to explore these mysterious caves. The carvings on the left wall include a prominent human figure with a headdress, another human figure with a headdress and ornaments, a human figure with an elaborate headdress, an elephant, a wild dog, a peacock, a pair of wild dogs and a plant. There are also flowers, a human figure with a square headdress, a wheeled chariot and some geometrical signs. The right wall includes a few male and female figures, a triangular symbol, a human figure, a human figure in a wheeled cart, a few geometric symbols, and a conical human figure. These carvings indicate a tribe living by hunting and agriculture. It was declared a protected monument in 1985. The carvings at Edakkal are classified as Neolithic petroglyphs. The Neolithic is the New Stone Age, estimated from 12,000 years ago (ybp) to 6,500 ybp. Petroglyphs are pictures carved into rock. Most of the artefacts found here are now kept in the Wayanad Heritage Museum.
There are two chambers inside the cave. The lower chamber is 18 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 10 feet high, while the upper chamber is 96 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 18 feet high. Edakkal Caves have attracted the attention of archaeologists and historians worldwide. Timings to visit Edakkal Caves are from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. By bus or car you have to reach the lower part of the Ambukuthi hills and climb the hill from there. DTPC arranged jeeps can be used up to the middle of the hills. To enter the caves, you have to pay a reasonable entrance fee. You have to climb about 1.5 km to reach the caves. The journey starts below where the parking area is located. On the way to the cave, there are several shops selling drinks and snacks for the visitors. Also, the hiking trail is dotted with coffee plantations, which are a sight to behold. The climbing time for most visitors is around 45 minutes. Despite its importance to archaeologists, historians and researchers, the mountain now needs to be protected from illegal constructions, mining and urbanisation. Mining activities are rampant, adding to the pressure of the mushrooming of tourism resorts that are drastically changing the landscape. Also, a large fissure developed on the eastern side of the hill - during the heavy rains of 2019 - is raising concerns about the Edakkal caves. As Wayanad faced incessant rains along with landslides and damage in 2018 and 2019, the risk in Ambukuthi increased manifold. The Wayanad District Soil Conservation Team inspected the site. A crack had formed on the hill slope for about 60 meters. The exact cause of the rupture is yet to be ascertained. The crack must have occurred during heavy rain. During floods, such cracks are more likely to trigger landslides. As Wayanad has faced extreme weather phenomena since 2018, the hills need urgent attention. Environmental issues should be addressed and caves should be preserved for future generations. Apart from posing a serious threat to rock formations, environmental degradation will adversely affect the welfare of hundreds of families living on the hill slopes of Kuppakolli, Edakkal, Andikavala, Vellachatta, Pattiyambam and Govinda Moola.
Meanwhile, environmental groups in Wayanad are demanding that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) immediately take over the entire mountain to end all forms of human interference. The deterioration is happening despite the government declaring 5.5 acres of land around the caves protected and banning any kind of construction activity within 300 meters of the mountain's vicinity. Years have passed since the state government decided to hand over the caves to the state archeology department, but there has been no progress even in that regard. Private tourism lobbies are now taking advantage of the government's apathy. According to local social workers, tourism resorts have been built near the caves in past years in violation of all norms. Despite being an environmentally sensitive area, major constructions are underway. They allege that the resorts are being built using permission to build small buildings.
The state government has been trying to get UNESCO World Heritage Monument status for the caves for the past decade. Unaddressed including unregulated construction and mining activities in the area. The first cave in Edakkal was closed to tourists for three months due to heavy rains last year. The Ambukuthi Hill Conservation Committee alleges that despite the government banning all kinds of construction in the vicinity of the caves, illegal resorts and illegal quarries using explosives are going on unhindered. It is necessary to monitor the movement of water across the surface of the intake cave and, if necessary, divert the course. This is because the constant flow of water through the rock can lead to wear and tear of the rock, resulting in rock displacement and hazards. Vegetation growing across cracks poses another threat to masonry. This vegetation is likely to obscure the view of the carvings. Edakkal Caves can be permanently protected if they are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The heritage designation will help to maintain the ecological balance of the hills and provide further protection to the Stone Age carvings. Thousands of tourists visit the caves every year to witness their natural beauty and legendary status.
Best Time to Visit Edakkal Caves
It is best to visit Edakkal Caves during the months of September to February when the weather is not too rainy or hot. During the heavy monsoon rains, the footpath and rocks are extremely slippery, making the walk up the hill very uncomfortable. There is a high chance of slipping. Edakkal cave is closed during heavy rains due to the risk of landslides and other hazards. Climbing Edakkal Cave during hot weather can easily make the tourists tired and unable to complete the climb. Going on weekdays is recommended as this place gets very busy on weekends and public holidays.
Tips for Visiting Muthanga wildlife Sanctuary
It would be better if you take note of the following tips before entering the Edakkal cave.
8.00 AM - 4.00 PM
Note : Closed on Mondays.
Child: ₹30 (Below 12 Years)Adult: ₹50Camera: ₹50Video Camera: ₹200Parking: ₹10
Things to do at Edakkal Caves
A great trekking experience
Take photos to add value to memories
How to Reach Edakkal Caves
The nearest airport to Edakkal Caves is Calicut International Airport at a distance of about 105 km. You can easily take a cab from the airport to Wayanad or take a bus from the airport (or nearby) to Wayanad. Or you can rent a vehicle, look for short Edakkal Caves directions on Google Maps and drive yourself there.
Kannur International Airport is not far from Edakkal Caves and is about 107 km away. It is possible to take a cab from the airport (or nearby) to Wayanad. Or you can rent a vehicle, look for short Edakkal Caves directions on Google Maps and drive yourself there.
Kozhikode Railway Station is the nearest railhead to Edakkal Caves, at a distance of about 98 km. The Kozhikode Railhead is well connected to major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, as well as to several regional cities and towns in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Once your train arrives, you can easily take a cab from there (fares will be higher) or take a bus from the railway station(or nearby) to Wayanad. Or you can rent a vehicle, look for short Edakkal Caves directions on Google Maps and drive yourself there.
Wayanad is served by various KSRTC buses and private buses from various districts of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Wayanad is easily accessible by road.
Edakkal Caves - Directions
Edakkal Caves is 41 km from Mananthavady. From Mananthavady you can reach Edakkal Caves via Panamaram - Pachilakkad - Meenangadi - Ambalavayal - Edakkal.
From Sultan Bathery
Edakkal Caves is 13 km from Sultan Bathery. Edakkal Caves can be reached from Sultan Bathery via Kolagappara, Ambalavayal and Edakkal Road.
Edakkal Caves is 24 km from Kalpetta. From Kalpetta you can reach Edakkal Caves via Kainatty - Muttil - Meenangadi - Ambalavayal - Edakkal.