Kerala Tourism has embarked on a Rs 2.9 crore project to improve civic amenities around the Edakkal Caves in Wayanad district, known for its rock art from prehistoric times, to attract more tourists to the hilly site.
The government has given administrative sanction to the budget for the proposal submitted by the Tourism Department, after scrutiny by the Departmental Working Group on Plan Schemes.
The two Edakkal caves, on a remote location that is 3,900 feet above the sea level on the majestic Ambukuthi hills, feature Neolithic-era pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BCE. Bearing human and animal figures besides symbols and letters, the hill-top also gives visitors a trekking experience.
“This project assumes significance as Wayanad is fast emerging as a major tourism destination of the state. Edakkal is a very important place historically and culturally. What we are aiming at is to make a visit to the place a very pleasant and enriching experience for tourists”, Tourism Minister PA Mohammed Riyas said.
The works will comprise laying concrete roads, paver blocks, renovated platform, handrails and seating, besides a gateway and landscaping of the plot along with electrification and three CCTVs and is to be completed within 18 months, according to a recent government order.
The Tourism Department while submitting the project proposal had pointed out that the site that has great potential to attract visitors in large numbers needed better infrastructure “a large number of tourists” visiting the scenic destination, 12 km southwest of Sulthan Bathery along the Western Ghats.
Around 1920 visitors are allowed to Edakkal caves on a day from 9 am to 4 pm. An entry fee of Rs. 50 per adult, Rs. 25 for senior citizens and Rs. 30 per child is charged. Visitors are not allowed on Mondays and on national holidays.