The Edakkal Caves in Wayanad is one of the popular attractions of Wayanad district in Kerala. Edakkal literally means 'a stone in between' and this can be seen in the structure of the caves. There is a stone that is wedged between two big boulders.
Located around 25 km from Kalpetta at an altitude of about 1200 metres above sea level, it takes a tough trek on the Ambukuthi Hills to reach the caves as the hill up gets steeper as you go higher. There are stalls that sell refreshments on both sides of the stepped trek trail.
On reaching the site, you may feel like being thrown to another world. The caves belong to the Stone Age when people used to write on stone using sharp manmade tools. You can find these etchings that include images of humans, animals, religious symbols and other signs that were used by the ancient man those days. These rock etchings speak of the highly civilised people of the neolithic age and has attracted students and researchers around the globe.
It is interesting to know that in 1890 the then British Malabar Police Superintendent F. Fawcett on his way for hunting, had found rock tools on the site that were used by the ancient man. Being a pre-historic enthusiast, he explored the cave-site and found that the caves had etched rocks that belonged to the Neolithic Age. This discovery was the first among the ancient scriptures on rock found in India. Later, the caves were taken over by the State Archaeology Department and declared it as a protected site.
Interesting Legends Related to the Edakkal Caves
There are some interesting mythological and tribal legends related to the Edakkal caves in Wayanad. The Ambukuthi Hills (also known as Ambukuthimala) is believed to have formed by the arrows sent by Lava and Kusha, the sons of Lord Rama as mentioned in the epic Ramayana. Another legend says that the demoness Surpanakha was killed Lord Rama at the southern part of the caves.
The locals here used to perform offerings at the hill and would take an annual pilgrimage trek to the peak of Ambukuthi Hills as it was believed to be associated with several strong beliefs of the tribes that stay in Wayanad.
Travel Directions & Tips
The Edakkal Caves are situated around 45 km from Mananthavady, 13 km from Sultan Bathery, 28 km from Kalpetta town and around 6 km from Ambalvayal.
For driving directions to Sulthan Bathery, please refer to this link. Though tourists visit the place throughout the year, the best time to visit the site is from December to May.