Sunday, 17 April 2016

Wayanad trip - Reloaded with EDAKKAL CAVES

Day One – Edakkal caves - visited on 16 April 2016

Video of Edakkal caves : 
Video of Ambukuthi hill range :

I took the aanavandi Kerala state RTC from Bangalore at 0800 and reached Sulthan Bathery by 1400 hrs . I checked into Mint Flower by 1500 hrs. This is a good and economical option. The staff immediately suggested that I take an auto or jeep  taxi and reach Edakkal caves which is 14 km from Sulthan Bathery in the Wayanad district of Kerala in India.

I took an auto taxi at 1510 hrs . Soon became friends with Ali bhai who readily agreed to speed up his auto taxi to reach Edakkal caves on time. Thanks to Ali bhai we reached Edakkal base area by 1530 hrs. The ticket sales close by 1600 hrs and no entry to tourists to the caves after 1700 hrs.
Now the adventure started as I started trekking towards the caves (which lie 1,200 meters above sea level). This is a steep climb and at various times you need to engage your 2x2 wheel drive .. your hands and legs together. The climb is so steep at certain points that you will need to hold the rock formations with your hands to avoid falling. Steps are provided at certain stretches (where they can really be fixed!!).

Tip : 1. Please avoid carrying any bags or rucksack as you will not be able to manage such things during a steep climb. Water bottles need to be affixed with a ticker at the Edakkal caves office base/ticket counter. 2 . It is a better option to take a ticket for the camera as photos via phone are not allowed inside caves. 3. Please plan minimum 3 -4 hours including ascent, descent and travel for a trip to Edakkal caves. 

Exiting from first cave
As I progressed, I reached the first set of caves. This is a selfie yugam and trekkers/tourists were clamoring for selfies.

As we exited the first set of caves, I noted that the second set of caves were much higher up and even more challenging. Soon I could hear comments from fellow trekkers – Oh My God ! I am sure all mys sins from this birth/janma will be washed away and forgiven after completing this trek! Certain others were disappointed as they only noticed big rocks and wondered if this was it for them. Perspectives differ! 

The second set of caves are on the top most point and are bigger and have various inscriptions on the cave walls suggesting prehistoric in habitation. The views from this view point of Ambukuthi Hills are breathtaking !
The second cave at the topmost point of the hills in Edakkal 

Where is Edakkal Caves  : The Edakkal caves are two natural caves at a remote location at Edakkal, 25 km from Kalpetta & 14 km from Sulthan Bathery in the Wayanad district of Kerala in India's Western Ghats. 
Ambukuthi Hills
They lie 1,200 metres above sea level on Ambukuthi Mala, beside an ancient trade route connecting the high mountains of Mysore to the ports of the Malabar coast. Inside the caves are pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BC from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilization or settlement in this region The Stone Age carvings of Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples from south India

Prehistoric carvings inside Edakkal caves
Significance of petroglyphs : Edakkal caves are not technically caves, but rather a cleft or rift approximately 96 feet (29 m) by 22 feet (6.7 m), a 30-foot-deep (9.1 m) 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. The caves were discovered by Fred Fawcett, a police official of the erstwhile Malabar state in 1890 who immediately recognized their anthropological and historical importance. The paintings point out to connections to Indus Valley civilization.

View while descending from the hill top

Now for the descent :  Descent is through steps till a common point from where the route is the same that was taken for entering the caves. I was very tired and took fresh lemon soda .. and also bamboo rice payasam (மூங்கில் அரிசி
moongil arisi, മുള അരി
muḷa ari, ಬಿದಿರಿನ ಅಕ್ಕಿ
Bidirina akki, వెదురు బియ్యం
Veduru biyyaṁ). Bamboo rice paysam is a must have. It gives you the much needed energy for such challenging treks.

It took me about less than 30 minutes for the descent. Our Ali bhai was patiently waiting for me.  When I told him about the blog post and that I will be writing about him, he was very happy and excited.  He took me to a nearby Jain temple which was under Archaeological Survey of India. The Bathery Jain temple was quite interesting with its beautifully carved Pillars, architectural peculiarities. This visit was a bonus and not planned by me or Ali Bhai at the start of this journey!

Jain temple at Sulthan Bathery, Wayanad
The Jain temple at Sultan Bathery is believed to have been built in 13th century. The architecture of the temple has strong influences of the then Vijayanagar architectural style and it is made wholly of granite.

The carved square pillars built on a raised platform holds the stone slab roof and intricate cornices on all the sides and the exquisite carvings on the pillars are a connoisseur’s delight. A square granite slab with a carving of Mahavir Jain can be seen in the inner sanctorum of the temple which is surrounded by an open verandah.  There is a raised platform made of granite in front of the main entrance. This too holds carved pillars and their fluted columns end without any crown stones. The surrounding grounds too are paved in granite.

A for Ali's Auto taxi 

At around 1800 hrs, I told Ali bhai to drop me to Mint Flower ... It was time for me to cool my heels and prepare for Day 2 - Visit to Banasura Dam and Kuruva dweep Island.

Watch this space for Day 2 - Part 2!

1 comment:

  1. It was wonderful post,You shared amazing pictures in the post.Thank you for sharing the Information,If you are planning to travel then book bus tickets in the leading travel operator
    like KPN Travels,SRM Travels and National Travels