Thousands of years ago in a rock shelter at Edakkal, stone age people recorded their disquiet and anxiety at the social changes brought about by Iron Age technology. In 1910 an amateur archaeologist rediscovered their work and sought to bring it to the attention of professional colleagues and the general public. What makes the Edakkal caves important today.
The Formation of Edakkal Caves
These are not technically caves, but rather a cleft or rift fissure caused by a piece of rock splitting away from the main body. On one side of the cleft is a rock weighing several tons that covers the cleft to form the 'roof' of the cave. The carvings are of human and animal figures, tools used by humans and of symbols yet to be deciphered, suggesting the presence of a prehistoric settlement. The petroglyphs inside the cave are of at least three types. The oldest may date back to over 8,000 years. Evidences suggest that the Edakkal caves were inhabited several times at different points in history.
History of Edakkal Caves
The caves were discovered by Fred Fawcett, a police official of the erstwhile Malabar state in 1890 who immediately recognised their anthropological and historical importance. He wrote an article about them, attracting the attention of scholars.
Unique Features of Edakkal Caves
The rock surface is full of linear motifs and one can see weird shaped figures, crosses, triangles, tridents, squares, stars, wheels, spirals, plant motifs, pot shaped items, various animals and human figures. Many of the human figures have raised hair, some have masked faces and all these figures are eye-catching and have archaeological significance. Apart from these pictorial carvings, ancient inscriptions including a Tamil Brahmi script have been identified from the caves.
Images of a tribal king, a queen, a child, a deer and an elephant can be seen on the wall. 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 which suggest the presence of pre historic men.
The recent outcomes of the researches and excavations at the Edakkal Caves indicate its probable links with Indus valley civilization. There were about 400 signs that were recently identified and have significant link with the Indus Valley Civilisation and the prominent one among these signs is 'a man with a jar cup'. This has been the distinct motif of the Indus Valley civilisation and the presence of such signs indicates that the Harappan civilisation (2300 BC to 1700 BC) was active in south India too.
Ambalavayal Heritage Museum
Ambalavayal Heritage Museum is an archeological museum with one of the largest collections of relics dated back to the 2nd century A.D. The showcased objects are proof of an advanced civilization that perished in the Wayanad Mountains. The remnants exhibited at the Ambalavayal Heritage Museum range from clay sculptures and archaic hunting tools such as bows and arrows to stone weapons and hunting traps. Curios and ornaments that tribes that lived here used, musical instruments and pottery that date back to the Megalithic Age can be seen in this heritage museum in Wayanad.
Edakkal caves surroundings
Beautiful view from the caves
Path leading to the caves
Entering into the caves
Rock structures inside the caves
Pre-historic rock drawings
Images of a tribal king, queen, child etc.
Edakkal Hermitage resort near the caves
Ambalavayal or Wayanad Heritage Museum
Exhibiting interesting collection of historical artifacts
Lie 1,200 metres above sea level on the spectacular hill Ambukutty Mala
Rare and special prehistoric drawings in stone
Pictorial writings inside the caves are believed to date to at least 6,000 BC
The rock surface is chock-full of linear motifs and form a carved jumble of deep incisions
The carvings of human and animal figures, tools used and of symbols yet to be deciphered
Edakkal Hermitage resort
Ambalavayal or Wayanad Heritage Museum
Address of Edakkal Caves
Edakkal Caves are located at Sulthan Bathery Taluk, Wayanad District of Kerala state, India - 673593.
How to Reach
Edakkal Caves are located 8 km away from NH-212 at Kolagapaara
Nearest Town: Sulthan Bathery - 14 km, Ambalavayal - 5 km
Distance From: Mysuru - 217 km, Ooty - 104 km, Kozhikode - 99 km, Kalpetta - 26 km
Nearest Airport: Calicut International Airport - 110 km
Nearest Bus Station: Kolagapaara
Nearest Railway Station: Kozhikode
Transport: From Sulthan Bathery both KeralaSRTC and private buses are available to Ambalavayal. From Ambalavayal the Edakkal Caves are 5 km away which can be reached by autos or jeeps (Taxis) available in Ambalavayal town. From the vehicle parking area to the cave entry point there is concrete laid steep road. To traverese this road jeeps are available.
Where to Stay
Edakkal Hermitage resort is giving nice at the caves. There are many resorts and hotels are there for stay around Sulthan Bathery.
Best Season & Time to Visit
Should be careful in Monsoon season because trekking will be slippery.