Tuesday, February 2, 2010
PILGRIM OR TOURIST
When I first visited these Edakkal caves about fifteen years ago, there were hardly any visitors, and the place was only known to specialists in ancient art forms going back to Neolythic and Megalythic times. But since then the caves have been described in school text books, and tourist guide manuals, so that now we see a whole tourist industry building up around this ancient site, which probably in prehistoric times represented a Holy Place to which tribal communities went on a spiritual quest. Of course, it is not easy to distinguish between that archetypal vision quest, which was so central to primal initiatory rites, and what we are now witnessing in the Tourist quest for places of cultural and historical interest. Many of those who come to climb the steep ascent to these primordial caves, have a hidden, or perhaps even conscious agenda, to discover the roots of our own culture, and the primordial symbols which still play a vital role in our imagination, and dreams.