Friday, November 27, 2009


Our drive down to Wyanad was of verdant beauty. As far as names go a literal translation of Wyanad would mean ‘The Land of the Paddy Fields’  and we find it accurately descriptive. Nestled in the Western Ghats, Wyanad is surrounded by lush forests. We brake suddenly, as a snake slithers out of the green fields beyond. Around us life goes on as normal. A lady clasps her hand and brings it to her cheek in reverence to the serpentine form. This is not uncommon in many parts of India, where its customary to see idols of the snake god Naga along road sides. Glossing over the religious aspects, over centuries practises such as these might have helped ensure the co-existence of man and beast.

Most of the evening, was spend planning the activities of the preceding day. We would need a four wheel drive we are told.

And so the next morning after feasting on the Keralite delicacy of Aaapam and Stew we left for Suchipara. Suchipara is exquisite. But first to get there we would have to trek a long way down. The sight that greeted us made all that effort seem worthwhile.
Waterfalls are sunny creations. Inch a little closer and the light spray of happy white effervescence touches my face which crinkles up.  A little closer and we see the suggestions of a rainbow hovering a little above the gushing waters flowing down. The rocks are slippery, so no closer my aunt cautions and we stay put.  All around are dense sprawling forests. The hypnotic sound of gushing water is strangely reassuring. Idling a bit in our little Picnic spot and after taking a few pictures we walked back.


What we saw next was incredibly fascinating. It did involve walking up, as it was located a height of about 1200m above sea level. The Edakkal Caves, are a serene green. Prehistoric artistic expressions line the walls. Light filters in throwing up shadows of curious visitors. The walls adorned by engravings , some of which are  believed to date back to 5000 BC. Our Guide explains that besides confirming the existence of prehistoric civilizations, it is the only recorded carvings in South India.

Edakkal Caves - Carvings on the walls believed to date back to 5000 BC

Inscriptions on the cave - our guide explained that what we were seeing is speculated to be symbolic of  the tribal chief

The Cave itself is more of a Rift, of two rock structures almost grazing each other. Structures such as these are called ‘Petroglyphs’
Pointing to the paintings, written in the Pali script the Guide explains what they could mean. He says it was probably written in praise of a tribal chieftain who has been exalted in the prehistoric writing as the slayer of many tigers and the protector of his people.
The cave itself was as accidental discovery of enormous anthropological significance. Fred Fawcett an police officer in then British India stumbled upon it and ever since the cave has been the object of a lot of research. One theory is that it might even have links to the mighty Indus Valley Civilization.

The inside of the cave

'Pertoglyph' , not really a cave but a rift between two rock structures

It’s a hard walk up to the caves and back and it took us close to 4 hours. But unriddling the cave is so intriguingly beautiful that it stays with you long after the long hard climb back.

Winged wonder , seen during one of our walks. The moth iself was pretty big.
We spend the rest of the day walking around and taking pictures. There seems to be  a butterfly farm somewhere close but in the interest of time we decide not to go.. But a winged visitor obliges , and we find  a beautiful moth in the loveliest of colours sitting right outside out door. Next time we shall trek a bit more I decide.


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