The driver told us that we would have restaurants near Eddaikal Caves and so we decided to have lunch there – after a 30 minutes drive we reached our destination. There was just a small board which said “Welcome to Eddaikal Caves”.
There were only two restaurants out of which one was not functioning. We ventured a little further but only found a snack bar and a few craft shops. We returned back to the restaurant and had to wait for 10 minutes to place our order – it wasn’t crowded but the waiters were busy serving two other tables. We ordered a few plates of parathas and few meals. “White rice or red rice?” asked the waiter.“Red rice” Red rice is the Kerela rice – a little bigger in size and supposed to be healthier. The food was good; though we were circumspect about red rice at first, we didn’t find much difference in taste compared to the white rice. Or maybe we didn’t feel any difference because of the extreme hunger all of us were in. The meals was typical like what we usually have – sambar, curry, morkolambu, applam and the good thing was that even applam was unlimited.We were told that we would have to walk a kilometre to reach the actual entrance to Eddaikal caves. It might have been just a kilometre but it was an upslope road all the way. To add to our misery there were two jeeps plying up and down that were dropping people at the entrance. The drivers had no consideration about foot travellers and seemed like they would be more than happy to bump us off; each time a jeep came the one in front would sound an alert, “Jeep approaching. Step aside” and all of us would step as far aside as possible.
“One step of SS equals two of mine. He is going up easily”, remarked Viswa. Vasanth was the one who was most tried.“Hey, look at him. Vasanth is pushing himself!”He had both his palms on his back and was actually trying to push himself uphill. We took turns to take the lead; suddenly there was a burst of energy in KY and Jabradamus. Jab shouted, “Let’s run”. And KY followed him. It reminded me of Greek legends where certain heroes would raise a war cry that would lift up the spirits of their troops! Both jogged for a few metres before tiring out.Finally after walking up the rock steps we reached the actual entrance to the caves – there was a ticket counter. We sat down for a few minutes before proceeding to the ticket counter.“No problem guys – there is no one in sight below us; so we can sit till the queue moves”.The entrance and exit was the same path and the width was just sufficient for one person to pass through. Soon we guys treaded up through the entrance.
“So what’s up there? What do we see when we go there?”
“There will be a room from where you can see a view” someone joked.
Actually there was no room – there were huge stones shielding us from the afternoon sun; there was a tube from which water was gushing and then there was a path going uphill again. There were metal steps, rock steps, gravel steps and mud to traverse through. There was a stretch of path where there was a metal rusted ladder lying at a slight inclination. You could either take the rocky path on the right or trust the rusted ladder! We soon reached a platform from where there were steps on the right side leading to a small enclosure. This was the cave – huge stones flanking either side with a huge stone on top creating a nice enclosure.
“What if that stone fell?”
“It will be instant death – you won’t know anything at all”
“Will be terrible; what they call a koduram saavu”
“Might seem so but it will just be a split second!”
The stones on either side contained many carvings. Not natural marks but carvings made intentionally – weird symbols.“I wonder how they made carvings at such heights”, observed Jabradamus looking at patterns made near the top of the stone.We took a few snaps posing near the stones and then moved on to the left side of the platform. There were a few rocks leading further uphill; Vasanth halted at that point. Along with him KY and Prabhu also stopped. They weren’t keen on going up.
“What is there further up?”
“Oh, probably nothing”
“Some viewpoints maybe”
(…to be continued…)