Bangalore is so crowded these days. Looks like whoever comes here, makes a home here. This new year being a long weekend, wanted to be away from this maddening crowd. Chose a quiet place called Gudalur (booked a farm house called Gauri Farms), which is nestled in the Nilgiris hills. The beauty of this place (Gudalur) is that you can make day-trips to Bandipur, Mudumalai, Ooty and Wayanad.
One fine morning we headed towards Wayanad from Gudalur. You could either take the Calicut road or take the Sulthan Bathery Road (from the town center). The drive is roughly about 65-70 km; you will come across beautiful tea plantations on the way.
There are sign boards displaying the directions. If you are driving, please take the car all the way till the main gate. The parking fees gets dearer if you find a spot near the gate. Trust me, it is well worth it, ’cause you need all the energy to climb the edakkal caves. From the gate the caves are about 1.5km (felt longer though). You kind of go in circles and you really do not get to see the caves all the way from below. As the climb gets tougher, you will be hoping to see the cave entrance at every curve.
There are few vendors on the way selling tender coconut, soda and different kinds of juice. We carried our bottled water, paid Rs 20/- (refundable) for the tag (plastic free zone).
We visited on Jan 1st. The crowd was not much (possible hangover). It was around 1pm when we reached the top of the caves. I am sure the views are magical during the golden hours.
The whole exercise takes about 3 hours. Oh, boy! not an easy one at all. I wish somebody had warned us. Really pitied the parents with young ones. Once you are half way and you are running out of breath, you realize how steep the climb is. Then you are not sure if you should abort the adventure or just continue. Tough call! I have seen/read many getting disappointed after reaching the top – only to find some 6000 BC carvings – the kind of stick figures that your kid draws! But historians think that there is a possible link with the Indus Valley civilization.
Is it worth all the trouble? Definitely, if you are into archaeology, history, petroglyphs, etc. Was I disappointed? Maybe, just a little bit (BTW, I am a software engineer). But when I look back now, I’m glad that we did it!
Few things to note –
- comfortable trekking shoes
- Mondays are holidays (so is Republic day, May day, Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanthi, Onam)
- entry time 9am to 4pm
- if you are taking pics, please pay the camera fees; cannot take pics with your phone
- carry some water; you will want to drink after you have entered the cave (no vendors there)
BTW, Happy New Year! This is my first blog post in 2013.