After the heavy rains during the 2018 floods in Kerala damaged the walls of the Wayanad's historic Edakkal Caves, the archeology department restricted the number of visitor numbers to 1,920 per day.
The cave walls have Neolithic engravings and scribblings believed to be from the prehistoric settlers. A research team conducted a study earlier this year on the extent of the damages, but the restrictions are still in place, officials confirmed.
No way to know in advance
Tourists have no way to know in advance whether they will be allowed to visit the caves. “The restrictions were first imposed in October, 2018. As of now, tourists won't know whether they will be able to visit the caves, without reaching the spot. The research team finished its study to assess the damages in January. But they have not yet submitted the report," said Wayanad District Tourism Promotion Council manager P P Praveen.
Why was the number restricted to 1,920 per day?
“Initially the decision was not to allow anyone inside. However, following discussions, the archelogy department fixed this number after considering how many people can be given entry in batches of 20 till noon,” he said.
Local people demand immediate action
People in the locality demanded that immediate action should be taken about the restriction that has been in place for years. They expressed concern that if the curb continues, it will drive tourists away from the area. This season too would see a dip in the number of tourists visiting the Edakkal caves if the report of the study is further delayed.