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Saturday, 19 November 2011

Edakkal caves


The fascinating prehistoric rock etchings found on the walls of these caves have drawn the serious attention of rcheologists and historians worldwide.With at least three distinct sets of petroglyphs, the earliest thought to date back over 5000 years, it is assumed that the Edakkal caves had been inhabited at various stages in history.The name “Edakkal” literally means “a stone in between”, and this describes how the cave is formed by a heavy boulder straddling a fissure in the rock. Inside the cave is on two levels, the lower chamber measures about 18 feet long by 12 feet wide and 10 feet high and can be entered through an opening of 5 x 4 feet. A passage opposite the entrance leads upward to a small aperture in the roof through which one climbs up to the next storey whose interior is about 96 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 18 feet high. Light enters the cave through a big gap at the right-hand corner of the roof where the boulder does not touch the facing wall.Legends of the CavesThe name Ambukuthimala is ascribed to the local legend which has it that the caves were formed by arrows fired by Lava and Kusha, the sons of Sri Rama, legendary hero of the Ramayana.Even today there are many who believe that Lord Rama killed Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana, in the narrow fissure at the southern end of Edakkal cave. A local legend associates Kutti Chatan (the little devil of Malabar) with the goddess Mudiampilli, and until recently local people undertook an annual pilgrimage to the peak of the hill to perform a puja (ritual offering) in her honour.

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