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Edakkal Caves- 10 Things to Know Before Visiting

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About Edakkal Caves

Edakkal Caves are two natural caves located at Ambukuthy Mala (Ambukuthy Mountain) at Edakkal, 25KM from Kalpetta and 16KM from Sulthan Bathery in the Wayanad district of Kerala in Southern India. They lie in the Western Ghats Mountain ranges at 1,200 meters above sea level in an ancient trade route connecting Mysore to the ports of Malabar.

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Things to Do at Edakkal Caves


Even though Edakkal Caves is well known as a natural cave, it is a rock shelter made by a large piece of rock splitting away from the main body. Another large rock covers it to form the roof of the cave. The name Edakkal Caves means ‘a stone in between’.

To reach the caves, you have to hike 900 meters up through Ambukuthy Mala. The hike through the coffee plantations takes roughly an hour. The lush greenery in all directions, the scenic landscapes and the breeze carrying the aroma of coffee make the hike easy and interesting. The ticket office is on top of the mountain and the authorities will open up the iron gate for visitors after taking the proper tickets. And then you enter the world of history, a world where people lived 7,000 years ago!

Inside the caves, the rock surface is full of symbols and shapes of crosses, triangles, tridents, squares, stars etc. There are many human figures with raised hair, some have masked faces. Apart from the symbols, there are ancient languages also seen inscribed in the rocks.

There are two chambers inside: The lower chamber is 5.5 meters long, 3.5 meters wide and 3 meters high, while the upper one is 20 meters long, 6.7 meters wide and 5.5 meters high. An iron railing is placed in front of the rock carvings which prevents visitors from damaging them. The damp interior with history and misty air is sure to enthral any visitor. There is a telescope installed a few feet away from the caves as well which offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the mountain ranges.

History of Edakkal Caves


Edakkal Caves were discovered by Fred Fawcett, a police officer of the old Malabar state in 1890 who recognised its anthropological and historical significance. He was on a hunting trip to Wayanad and happened to notice a stone axe from the Neolithic Age in a coffee estate. After this encounter with the stone axe, he decided to explore the rest of the Ambukuthy Mala, clearing away the thick foliages that hid the caves. In his quest, the rock shelter which is now called Edakkal caves was found.

Symbols and writings inside Edakkal Cave

Inside the caves are pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BC from the Neolithic Age indicating the presence of prehistoric settlements in this region. These are the only known examples of stone carvings in entire South India. The carvings include that of human and animal figures, tools used by humans and symbols that are yet to be deciphered suggesting that the caves were inhabited several times at different points in time.

In recent research and excavations, possible links to the Indus Valley civilisation were also found through roughly 400 signs that were identified. One of these signs, a man with a jar is a distinct shape of the Indus Valley civilisation and the presence of such a symbol indicates that the Harappan civilisation(2300BC to 1700BC) was active in Southern India as well.

Legends surrounding the cave

Keeping science and history aside, there are plenty of legends too associated with the caves. The belief is that Lord Rama, one of the earliest visitors to this area shot an arrow at Ambukuthy Mala which pierced the rock and split it into two. The name of the mountain, Ambukuthy Mala is also believed to be derived from this legend. In Malayalam Ambu means ‘arrow’ and Kuthy means ‘pierced’. Locals associate the place with deities, there are many idols near the caves.

Best Time to Visit Edakkal Caves


It is best to visit Edakkal Caves in the months from September to February when the weather is not too cold or warm. During the heavy rains of the monsoon, the hiking trail and the rocks get extremely slippery and it is a very uncomfortable walk up the mountains. It is also recommended to go in the mornings and on weekdays as the place gets way too crowded later in the day and at weekends due to its popularity.

Tips for Visiting Edakkal Caves

  1. Wear comfortable shoes with good grip, as there is a lot of walking involved on slippery surfaces.
  2. Be careful not to take any snacks in hand as there are lots of monkeys who wait to snatch them away.
  3. The steep climb can be difficult for senior citizens or couples with infants.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Edakkal Caves

  1. The Edakkal caves are believed to be used as a shelter by Neolithic men. Archaeological excavations have revealed that the caves were inhabited by humans as early as 6,000 BC.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Edakkal Caves


It takes about three hours to hike to the top of the mountain to reach the cave and explore its petroglyphs and scenic views.

How to Reach Edakkal Caves


To reach Edakkal Caves, you have the option of driving yourself or taking the bus. If you are taking a bus, board the bus towards Ambalavayal from Sulthan Bathery and ask them to drop you off at the caves. From the bottom of the hill, you will have to start climbing to reach the ticket counter on top. There are jeeps provided by the tourism department up till midway through the hill if you do not want to climb up. The nearest major railway station is at Kozhikode and there are buses from Kozhikode to Sulthan Bathery.

Entrance Fee of Edakkal Caves

Adults: 50 INR, Children: 30 INR, Parking: 40 INR

Opening Hours of Edakkal Caves

Edakkal Caves are open from 8.30 AM to 4 PM daily except on Mondays. Note that during the time of heavy rains, the caves can be closed due to safety concerns.

Attractions Near Edakkal Caves

Ambalavayal Heritage Museum

Ambalavayal Heritage Museum

2.81km from Edakkal Caves

One of the largest collection of artefacts in Kerala is housed in the museum.

Ancient Jain Temple Wayanad

Ancient Jain Temple Wayanad

4.16km from Edakkal Caves

The Ancient Jain Temple in Sulthan Bathery, Wayanad is believed to have been built around the 13th century. The architecture of the temple has a strong resemblance to that of the structures built by the then reigning Vijayanagar Dynasty and is made wholly of granite.

Sunrise Valley Viewpoint

Sunrise Valley Viewpoint

11.63km from Edakkal Caves

A viewpoint with mesmerising views of the misty Western Ghat Mountains covered in thick green forest.

Kanthanpara Waterfalls

Kanthanpara Waterfalls

14.49km from Edakkal Caves

The 30 meters high, two tiered waterfall sandwiched between tea plantations.

Soochipara Waterfalls

Soochipara Waterfalls

14.77km from Edakkal Caves

Three tiered falls with its natural pools in its foot and a hike to explore its beauty.

Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary

Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary

15.37km from Edakkal Caves

Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary amazes the visitors with its rich fauna and an opportunity to come in close contact with some of the elusive creatures of the wild.

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Ancient caves and carvings, tea plantations, cool climate.

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