Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Top 20 Must-Visit Caves in India

India is home to many places that boast a rich history. The abundance of caves in the country goes on to show how India has a deep-rooted history whose fascination isn’t limited to Indians. People from around the world come to visit India to explore the plethora of historic caves. These caves are not only historic, but they also hold spiritual importance and can be a great adventure for many. 

India is a country that is visited by many people from around the world due to its beautiful temples and lovely nightlife. It is also famous for spicy cuisines. However, Indian caves are spots that have fascinated not only the international visitors but the people of the country themselves. Almost every state has caves that have been formed with religious, spiritual, archaeological, and historical significance. As a result, these caves have drawn many people to explore them and many of these caves have been related to ancient Hindu Gods or Buddhist monks. If you believe in spirituality, you will be particularly fascinated to know that most of these caves were also used as a meditation spots. Because India is one of those countries that have been a part of ancient civilization, many age-old caves still hold a magnificent and mystical allure. From forests to valleys, you will find expansive caves all around the country. 

20 Must-Visit Caves In India 

Can’t hold back the wildness in your heart? Waiting to explore what the caves around India have in store? Well, here are the top 20 caves located in India you have to explore at least once in your lifetime. 

  1. Ajanta Ellora Caves in Maharashtra 

No Indian history book is complete without the mention of Ajanta Ellora caves. These ancient caves located in Maharashtra are a storehouse of long-lived sculptures and paintings which mostly belong to religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. They are the epitome of ancient rock-cut caves. Representing the bygone era through various paintings and sculptures, these caves are a major attraction. 

  1. Tabo in Himachal Pradesh 

If you are looking for some spirituality, you will be glad to hear that the Tabo caves in Himachal Pradesh were once believed to be used by Buddhist monks for meditation. Located on a rising hill, this group of caves now host a collection of colourful Buddhist flags. Tales of the Buddhist pantheon are told by the frescoes on the cave walls. It is a spiritual and peaceful place where you can retreat for some solace. 

  1. Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra 

The 6th century old Elephanta caves located in Maharashtra is situated on an island. Seven caves are rock-cut and flaunt a charming carving. The Mahesh Murti is the main attraction of the cave. You have to take a ferry to reach the cave. The cave is highly influenced by Shaiva traditions which is why it is rich in mythology and is also known to be unique. They hold a deep historical and archaeological influence and importance. Therefore, they are a must-visit. 

  1. Undavalli Caves in Andhra Pradesh 

Situated on the River Krishna banks, the Undavalli caves in Andhra Pradesh are said to be carved in the 7th century A.D. Using red sandstones by the Vishnukundin kings. The caves are devoted to Anantapadmanabha Swamy and Narasimha Swamy. The cave holds a high national significance due to which it is highly protected.  

  1. Jogimara Caves in Chhattisgarh

If you love Ramayana, you might be intrigued to visit the Jogimara caves, also referred to as Sitabenga caves,  in Chhattisgarh that are said to once have sheltered Lord Rama, Sita, and Lakshman. A tunnel named Hathipol is the route to the caves and elephants can pass through it. The cave’s roof is said to host seven diverse paintings of humans, elephants, and more. 

  1. Trichi Caves in Madurai 

Trichi caves located in Madurai were built by the Pallavas, Nayaks, and Cholas where there are two temples – the lower temple and the upper temple. These temples are said to be devoted to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The Trichi rocks are said to be almost 3.8 billion years old which is why it holds great significance in Indian history. The rocks are said to be older than the Himalayas.

  1. Krem Kotsati Cave in Meghalaya 

The Krem Kotsati cave in Meghalaya is India’s second longest cave measuring around 21 km. The cave accommodates eight entrances and you can enter the cave through any of these. You can reach one of these entrances by swimming through a pool as well. Hence, this is surely an adventurous cave and you will be thrilled after you visit this cave. 

  1. Borra Caves in Andhra Pradesh 

Rich in history and highly significant to the nation, Borra caves located in Andhra Pradesh are a natural stalactite and stalagmite formation through the accumulation of limestones. The cave is famous for the formations of a Shiva Lingam statue and a cow named Kamadhenu’s statue. It is located at an elevated height which is why it is a major point of attraction for many adventurers. 

  1. Udaygiri Caves in Madhya Pradesh 

Udaygiri caves are located in Madhya Pradesh and were carved in the Gupta period. There are 14 caves in total and it is most famous for the sculpture of Lord Vishnu and inscriptions belonging to the Gupta dynasty. They are also referred to as Jain monasteries. The representation of Lord Vishnu with a boar head is one of the main attractions of the cave and that is why it receives plenty of visitors throughout the year. 

  1. Varah Caves in Tamil Nadu 

Boasting ancient Indian architecture, the Varah caves located in Tamil Nadu were carved in the 7th century. The caves have many temples devoted to Lord Vishnu and are structured in the monolithic rock type. It is exquisite and a sculpture of Varaha describing the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a boar baked Varah is also found in this cave. Hence, the cave gains its name from this story. 

  1. Bhimbetka Cave in Madhya Pradesh

The Bhimbetka cave in Madhya Pradesh is a renowned World Heritage Site. There are paintings on the wall that depict the ancient forms of dances and celebrations. It is also known to shelter the Pandavas during their period of exile. The periphery of the cave boasts a rich variety of flora and fauna. The paintings in the cave are almost 30,000 years old and the rocks were also used to shelter people at the time. 

  1. Belum Caves in Andhra Pradesh 

With a length of 3229 metres, Belum caves are the Indian subcontinent’s second-largest caves that have been formed naturally. It is an underground paradise where you can have all your adventurous desires fulfilled because you will be trailing along the cave for a long time. The erosion of limestone deposits is believed to have caused the formation of these spacious and long chambered caves. 

  1. Sittanavasal Caves in Tamil Nadu 

Tamil Nadu’s Sittanavasal caves were carved in the 7th century and are also referred to as Arivar Koli. The cave is well known for its accommodation of a diverse range of paintings of flowers, ponds, animals, and more which have been painted using mineral colours. The cave is small in dimensions but boasts of rich history and the paintings have managed to allure many people to visit this cave. 

  1. Karla Caves in Maharashtra 

The carving of Karla caves in Maharashtra dates back to 200 B.C. They are known to be India’s largest and one of the most ancient Buddhist temple caves. It has a rock-cut structure and shelters an Ashokan pillar, arched entrances, and historic interiors which makes it a major attraction among many people even today. Associated with rich history, the cave holds national significance and therefore, it is being protected. 

  1. Mawsmai Caves in Meghalaya 

Mawsmai Caves in Meghalaya is yet another natural cave formation carved through limestone deposits. There are large chambers and giant openings in the cave while some parts of the cave are hard to pass through. These giant openings allow natural light to enter the cave allowing visitors to get a good glimpse of the formations and shelterings of the cave  and gives it the facility of being Meghalaya’s only lit cave. 

  1. Amarnath Cave in Jammu and Kashmir 

Located at an altitude of 3,888 meters, the Amarnath cave holds a significant place in Hindu mythology. It is the place where Lord Shiva gave explanations about eternal life and hence, the cave is devoted to Lord Shiva. Many people visit the cave for religious purposes and it is known to be a cane where people find peace and solace. The cave is indeed characterised by bliss and serenity. If you want to experience some peace, this is the place you should visit. 

  1. Udayagiri Caves in Odisha 

With a beautiful display of ancient sculptures and paintings in 33 rock-cut chambers, the Udaygiri caves have long been a famous spot amongst those visiting Odisha. The formation of the cave dates back to the Gupta period. Keep in mind that these caves are different from the Udayagiri caves located in Odisha.

  1. Bagh Caves in Madhya Pradesh

Located in Vindhyas’ southern slopes, Bagh caves are a group of nine rock-cut caves that were carved from the 4th century to the 6th century by a Buddhist monk named Dataka. There are many ancient paintings in the cave and hence, the caves are also called Rang Mahal. These incredible rock cut shrines are a favourite among visitors and are one of the main attractions of the state. These caves are also well known for their mural paintings.  

  1. Khandagiri Caves in Odisha 

Half natural and half man made, Khandagiri caves in Odisha are a group of fifteen caves. During the rule of King Kharavela, these caves were believed to be used by Jain monks and are ancient Jain rock-cut caves. They not only have a great religious significance but also have a deep historical and archaeological significance. If you are planning a trip to Odisha, do not forget to visit this cave because it can give a glimpse of the past and help you have an adventurous and historical trip. 

  1. Koteshwar Caves in Uttarakhand 

One of the most famous Hindu pilgrimage sites in India, the Koteshwar caves have a great significance and value in Hinduism. Lord Shiva is believed to have meditated in this cave after the devil Bhasmasur tried to kill him. He stayed here for a while. The cave is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. Rich in mythology and religious beliefs, this is another cave you should not miss out on. 

India is known for its mythology and mysterious caves. If the rich history of caves and their mysterious allure fascinates you, paying a visit to these twenty Indian caves will leave you feeling mesmerised and perhaps, help you view the world in a new light.

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