Postcards from Wayanad – Part 1

Happy New Year, guys! I hope 2015 is everything you want it to be, and more!


I was lucky to spend some time in Wayanad last week. What a perfect way to end 2014! We drove to Wayanad from Mysore. The drive takes about 3 hours, and you get to go through the beautiful Bandipur forest, that falls partly in Karnataka and partly in Kerala. Our driver said you can tell which side you’re on, with your eyes closed – if the road has speed breakers, it’s Karnataka, and if not, you’re in Kerala 🙂 He was from Kerala, yes 😛 The forest is magical, and we spotted herds of wild elephants, deer and even a cheetah that ran across the road.

In Wayanad, we stayed in a basic, no-frills villa in a lush green eco resort.It was so pretty, it’s a miracle that we even stepped out. But step out we did, beginning with the Edakkal Caves, home to Stone Age carvings that date back to at least 6000 BC. Take a moment to process how old that is!


The caves sit at the top of a mountain, at a height of about 1000 meters. They are not really caves, but a fissure that was created when a part of the main rock split away. Legend has it that it was formed when Lav and Kush, the sons of Lord Ram, shot arrows here. The carvings are mostly of human and animal figures. Because of similarities between the motifs found here and those found in the Indus Valley, scholars think the Indus Valley Civilization probably had a presence here too. Maybe the civilization didn’t just go extinct, but blended into other cultures instead.
If you want to see the petroglyphs (that’s what such carvings on stone are called), you’ll have to work for them. A pretty steep walk about 1 km long takes you to a ticket counter. And then you need to climb more. A lot more, actually. In most parts there are steps but in others, just boulders. It’s not very difficult, but it is quite tiring.

The hill at the back is the one you need to go up

It’s the crowd that makes the climb difficult, really

The view from the top

It’s very humbling to stand exactly where our ancestors must have stood thousands of years ago. The carvings in these caves are definitely the oldest man-made things I’ve seen in my life. Absolutely a must-visit while in Wayanad, and totally worth the effort of climbing up.


(ETA: I did a piece for The News Minute on the Edakkal Caves. Check it out?)
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  • Reply Madhu Gopalan January 14, 2015 at 4:51 AM

    Ahhh yes that makes sense! Thank you!

  • Reply Madhu Gopalan January 14, 2015 at 4:51 AM

    Thank you so much! Happy new year to you too 🙂

  • Reply R Niranjan Das January 14, 2015 at 4:50 AM

    You have a lovely travel blog. Happy new year!

  • Reply Anonymous January 14, 2015 at 4:50 AM

    Hi.I like reading your blogs.I just wanted to mention it could have been a leopard that you saw and not a cheetah 🙂

  • Reply Madhu Gopalan January 5, 2015 at 12:38 PM

    Thank you Revati!! We stayed at the Sunbird Garden Resorts. Very simple place, nothing fancy – but absolutely lovely people and the property is soooo wild and naturally beautiful.

  • Reply Revati Upadhya January 5, 2015 at 12:31 PM

    Duuuhuuude, such gorgeous pictures!!
    Where did you stay?

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