Edakkal caves are a pair of natural caves and a major attraction at Wayanad district, Kerala, India. We visited here recently. Over the years, we have been visiting many weekend destinations around Bangalore.
Hampi, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Mysore, Munnar, Alleppey being some of them. Finally, we got to visit Wayanad and found them so enticing. The Edakkal caves in Wayanad are located almost 25 kilometers from Kalpetta, in Edakkal village. The major attraction inside these natural caves are ancient writing and carvings that are believed to date back as much as 6000 BC !! The stone age carvings that you see here are epic and rare. In fact, they are the only known carvings from the stone age, discovered in South India. Some of these carvings and writings are believed to have links with the Indus Valley Civilization – that flourished in north India as one of the oldest civilizations.
The way to Edakkal Caves
As you approach nearer to the Edakkal Caves, there are some parking lots where you can park your vehicles. Since, from a kilometer before the premises, vehicles are not allowed. This area is also marked by several restaurants and shopping complexes selling locally made items. Also, there is a nominal fee for parking your vehicle. Once you park your vehicle, start moving in the direction of the caves. The walk till the entrance to the premises where the caves are located is on a little steep incline.
Both the sides of the walkway are however, lined with several local shops. Many of these sell refreshments like coconut water, drinking water, fresh fruit juices etc. And believe me, you will need some by the time you reach the Edakkal Cave premises. Since, the walk will exhaust you a little. So, our suggestion, have some coconut water while on your way. If you like buying things when on your trip, this is a perfect spot. Since it has several local shops selling souvenirs, locally made handbags, wooden handicrafts and kitchen accessories, spices, coffee, tea and several other assortments.
The entrance to the Edakkal Caves premises
At the end of the walk, you will reach a ticket counter on the side. And a gate in front which marks the entry to the Edakkal Cave premises. Get your tickets here. Besides the ticket counter is a public restroom available. And in front, there is a shade with some wooden logs and benches where you can rest your feet. When we visited Edakkal caves, it was a hot day. And it didn’t look idle for our parent and daughter to take the climb further to the caves. So, they decided to wait there, sitting comfortably in the shade. While, we embarked on our journey further.
The climb to the Edakkal Caves
As you take your tickets and enter inside the premises through the entry gate. Just in front , you will see the start of the stairs. You have to take numerous such stairs before you reach the caves, which are located higher up. These are a combination of stairs cut out of stone. And also manmade stairs in between the stones to provide connectivity. Once you reach at the foothill of Edakkal Caves, the stairs get steeper and uneven. Finally, you will enter inside the caves passage. You can spot some natural streams of water here.
These are not the caves where you can see the carvings thought. Rather, these are just passageways to the other side. As you exit the caves, there are another flight of stairs to be climbed. And then descended. After descending several stairs, you arrive at a bifurcation. Here, one set of stairs at one end take you down, back to the entrance. While another set of stairs at the other end take you further up. Take the stairs further up to the actual caves where the carvings lie. And then head back , crossing the same spot, taking the other set of the stairs. And soon you will arrive back at the starting point.
The whole trip from the place where you park your vehicle all the way to the caves and back easily takes an hour and half at the minimum. Do note that pertaining to the steep and narrow stairs and not much space available, no one is allowed to spend too much time up above at the caves that have the carvings and writings from the stone age. The crowd has to keep moving to avoid rush. But whatever time you spend up there is a wonderful one. As you get to see the carvings from the ancient past by your own eyes, right there in front of you. And that is a moment to cherish.
Tips for visiting Edakkal Caves
- If it is a sunny day, do carry a hat and drinking water with you. You can as well buy them at one of the shops lining the path to Edakkal Caves.
- Beware of monkeys. They are abundant in number. However, they seem to be very much friendly. But you have to be careful, particularly if you are carrying food with you.
- The stairs to the cave are steep and many. If you are with family or very small kids, take your call on climbing them. It might be inconvenient to climb up carrying a kid. Climbing will be difficult for older people as well , and those with walking issues.
- There are several shops lining the path to Edakkal Caves. You can check the local handicrafts, tea, coffee, chocolate and other stuff there.
- Rest your feet while you reach the cave, and give yourself some time before starting to climb the stairs that lead to the cave.
- The last few kilometers stretch to the cave is a drive through winding hilly roads. And the scenery around is beautiful. So, you can stop on the way for some time and soak in the natural beauty around.
- You must wear very comfortable shoes to be able to trek and climb smoothly.
PS: Wayanad is a big district in Kerala, India. And it has several towns. The major ones being Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery. There are several other interesting places to visit in Wayanad apart from Edakkal caves. The whole district is an oasis of green. It is host to several wildlife sanctuaries, tea estates, ancient temples, churches, islands which form beautiful picnic spot in the middle of rivers and so many other places of interest. Wayanad is famous for it’s spices, dry fruits, homemade chocolates, leaf teas, filter coffee and wooden souvenirs. You can check these out at the local shops. Even if you are not much of a shopper, do check on some of the spices and small packet of tea. You will know the difference from what you normally get in the city markets of India.