The Edakkal Caves in Wayanad has carvings on them which date from the Neolithic era also known as the later parts of Stone Age. There are many legends associated with these caves. According to local tales, the caves were formed when Lava and Kusha, the sons of Lord Sri Rama fired arrows into the mountain. The Edakkal Caves are also associated with the Goddess Mudiampilly. Some locals of this area carry out pilgrimage to this site in honor of the Goddess.
Archeologists consider the Edakkal Caves as one of the earliest centers of human habitation. Inside the caves, one can find ancient stone scripts, human and animal figures with strange headdresses, pictorial paintings, and symbols like the swastikas. The carvings in the caves are estimated to be made between the periods of 5000 BC to 1000 BC. Similar carvings have been found only in a few places on earth. Stiriya in the European Alps and a few other sites in Africa have similar stone carvings and they are estimated to be seven thousand years old. The Edakkal Caves are also the only site in India which has carvings dating from the Stone Age and the Mesolithic age. It also has some links with Indus Valley Civilization.
The caves were discovered in the late 1800s by Fred Fawcett. He was the Superintendent of Police of the Malabar district during this period. A hunting trip led him to these caves. He was later shocked to find that the Edakkal Caves of Wayanad belong to the Neolithic people.
The Edakkal Caves in Wayanad are one of the best trekking spots around. However, it might not be suitable for old people and people with health problems. You need to trek for a good hour and a half to enter the entrance of the cave. The Edakkal Caves in Wayanad are located 1,200 m above the sea level. The name ‘Edakkal’ literally means ‘a stone in between’. The caves are formed from a heavy boulder straddling a fissure in a huge rock. Some scientists believe that the Edakkal Caves are not even caves.
The Edakkal Caves Wayanad has two chambers. The upper chamber is the largest. The human figures of these caves are very distinct. There are figures of a tribal queen, a king, child, animals, elephants, weaponry, along with Tamil and Brahmi Script. The carvings are very clear, which is one of the most mysterious things about the caves. Somehow, the Edakkal Cave carvings have survived the test of time. Only a few carvings are hazy. Recently archaeologists have found 400 new signs and the carving of "a man with a jar cup" which helped them understand that the people residing here had links to the Indus Valley civilization. Archaeologists also concluded that the Harappa civilization was very much active in South India during this era.