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The Edakkal caves at Wayanad in Kerala are one of the famous monuments of the state.

Edakkal Caves

The thick flora and fauna of the Ambukutty mountain range give way to the primitive Edakkal Caves, about 25 km from Wayanad district, Kerala in the Western Ghats. Believed to be one of the earliest centers of human habitation, the caves lie 1200 meters above sea level and are a window to many queries about the evolution and way of life of human beings. Comprising of two natural caves, they were discovered by Fred-Fawcett, the superintendent of Police of Malabar District. On a hunting trip, he came across a pre-historic stone chisel and since he was an enthusiast in ancient history, he created some rambles and stumbled upon the Edakkal rock shelter. Inside the caves, one can find primeval stone scripts, pictorial wall inscriptions of human and animal figures with peculiar head dresses, the swastika form, symbols, and cave drawings of human figures, bows, knives, wheels, trees etc. What is interesting to note is that similar cave drawings, about 7000 years old, are found only in Styria in the European Alps and a few places in Africa.

Recently, some archaeologists proposed a theory that the Edakkal Caves could be a gamut of the Harrapan and Dravidian Civilizations as the freshly found carvings in the caves date back from 5000 BC to 1000 BC. Even the carvings are a lot similar to the Indus Valley carvings rather than any carvings in Tamil Nadu or Kerala. This can very well be used as a testimony to the cultural diffusion. The caves are also etched with three distinct types of petroglyphs which indicate that the caves were inhibited at different points of time in history. The best time to visit this natural wonder is at early morning hours since the visibility is much clearer. Entry to these caves closes at 1700 hours. To reach the caves, you have to trek 1 km all the way from Edakkal to the middle of Ambukuthimala. It is advisable to avoid trekking during monsoons as the rocks can be slippery and dangerous to continue the hike. The caves lie at two different levels, with the lower chamber being 18 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 10 feet high, and the upper chamber being 96 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 18 feet high.

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