prehistoric art, Edakkal Cave, Ambukutty Mala near Ambalavayal, Batheri, Wayanad, Kerala, India

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Edakkal Caves

Northern Kerala

These remote hilltop 'caves' – more accurately a small series of caverns – are celebrated for the ancient collection of petroglyphs in their top chamber, thought to date back over 3000 years. From the car park near Ambalavayal (12km southwest of Sultanbatheri) it's a steep 20-minute walk up a winding road to the ticket window, then another steep climb up to the light-filled top cave.

On a clear day there are exceptional views out over Wayanad district. The caves get crowded on weekends.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Northern Kerala attractions

1. Wayanad Heritage Museum

1.82 MILES

In the village of Ambalavayal, 12km southwest from Sultanbatheri near the Edakkal Caves, this small but fascinating museum exhibits tools, weapons,…

2. Jain Temple


The 13th-century Jain temple on the western edge of Sultanbatheri has splendid stone carvings and is an important monument to the region’s strong…

3. Uravu


An 11km drive east from Kalpetta, the Uravu nonprofit collective of 200 workers (most of them women) creates all sorts of artefacts from bamboo. You can…

5. Panamaram Jain Temple

12.93 MILES

Seemingly being allowed to collapse into oblivion, this ancient, partly ruined roadside Jain temple displays fine stone carvings backed by lush greenery…

6. Pookot Lake

15.26 MILES

Around 3km southwest of Vythiri (10km southwest of Kalpetta), Pookot Lake is a beautiful mirror framed by forest. With well-maintained gardens, a cafe, a…

7. Bandipur National Park

23.5 MILES

This park covers 880 sq km and was once the Mysore maharajas’ private wildlife reserve. It's noted for herds of gaurs (Indian bison), chitals (spotted…

8. Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

23.63 MILES

In the foothills of the Nilgiris, this newly enlarged 765-sq-km wildlife reserve is like a classical Indian landscape painting given life, with chital…