Edakkal Caves – the caves between the stones are an exemplary example of rock art. While the beautiful carvings of animals and human beings on the rocks signify the life of a long lost age, the mysterious symbols and designs depict multiple objects at the same time like the moods of a woman; neither can be interpreted with certainty. Either the carvings are confusing or have been purposely designed to confuse the audience. Check it for yourself by visiting Edakkal Caves, Wayanad.
What’s so special about the caves, anyway?
Well, nothing at first. In fact, the climb to the caves, sucks all the energy out of you. And if you are someone who avoids exercise like you avoid your distant aunt whose 2016 resolution is to either see you married or as a parent, you are in for a shocking surprise. The 1.5 kms. (approx.) climb from the parking spot is quite steep so much so that you find yourself gasping for air in every 5 mins. Not even that, there will also be a group of foreigners who will be so fit that you will be invariably body shamed. And if that doesn’t happen, you will find locals, younger than you, climbing like they are strolling in a park. Either way, if you don’t exercise, prepare yourself for some embarrassment, smirks, raised eyebrows & jokes.
Me? Oh! I became a butt of jokes for many. With my tongue out in just 10 mins. of climb, nobody could really tell the difference between me & very handsome Tommy relaxing nearby.
Once you have completed the seemingly difficult climb, you get to enter the caves. The entrance to the caves is through an artificial hole amongst the stones. This is the time to gain some respect back from your embarrassing climb. Show some flexibility & just enter the caves in the first attempt.
Key Tip: Take no help & show no hesitation. Just enter the caves & look good in front of all others.
Once you have entered the caves, you move ahead expecting something magnificent only to find 100-150 odd stairs to the Edakkal Caves. The sunny side is that the views from the stairs are absolutely mesmerising at all times of the day. You get to see quite a lot of the town from there. Click a few pictures & take some selfies. The view & air – both are really cool up there!
What happens when you are in the caves?
A cool breeze blows across your face & you think the climb was totally worth. But wait, then you see inside the cave. There is just one side of the stone that’s carved. That can’t be it. The graffiti from your office walls must be larger & longer. Then, you check with the guides standing nearby whether there is more of the caves. May be, if you climb some more, you get to see another one that’s been hidden from the lazy ones. Sadly, there is just one of it & carvings are only on one side of the stone. If you visit in the month of December like we did, you will find everything covered in shiny, green algae. So much for the visibility, huh?
Soon after, I availed the services of a guide standing nearby. The explanation was hardly of 5 mins but that really changed the scene for me. The algae covered engravings started to look like a piece of art to me. I realised that the rock doesn’t have Mumbo-Jumbo. It tells the tales of many communities that once lived/ visited here. Suddenly the geometrical lines on the rock translated into rock art for me. And within minutes, I knew it all fits. It all was part of a story. A story that can’t be told. A story that can’t be documented. A story that can only be shown. A story that can only be carved on something that is indelible.
My camera ditched me at the last moment when it ran out of juice & I couldn’t click any pics of the caves. They didn’t allow any mobile photography inside the caves. So, no pictures!
- Commute: the nearest airport is Kozhikode. So, you can take a flight to Kozhikode & visit Wayand.
- Stay: you may either stay at Sultan Bathery or Kalpetta in Wayand & take a taxi from there to Edakkal. Taxi service is good & frequent.
- Entry fee: INR 20 for an adult. INR 30 for still camera. INR 150 for movie camera. No mobile photography is permitted.
- Visiting Hours: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Mondays and National Holidays are off.