Why do we always talk about sea, mountains, forests and historical monuments while discussing about holidaying in India? We often forget there are many other unique natural and man made creations that are deeply attached with India’s history and natural beauty. One such component is caves- those gigantic towering and hanging structures that open up to narrow dark pathways and sometime give goosebumps when you stroll through them. Caves in India are deeply connected to the country’s history, culture, mystery and spirituality, where inscriptions, pillars and wall paintings tell the tales of the region.
- Ajanta and Ellora, Aurangabad
It’s the first name the strikes our mind while planning for a caving expedition in India. Carved into hillside rocks in northern Maharashtra, these caves are marvellous pieces of rock cut architecture that portray paintings and sculptures of religious Indian art. 29 caves of Ajanta and 34 caves of Ellora date back to 2nd century BC and 6th century AD and 6th and 11th centuries AD respectively.
- Elephanta Island, Mumbai
A boat trip from Gateway of India takes you to Elephanta Island that houses seven rock-cut caves of 6th and 7th centuries A.D. The main cave with impressive sculptured panels depicting Lord Shiva in different forms is the prime attraction here.
- Badami, Bagalkot
It is known for being the abode to several beautifully laid out cave temples. The four caves of Badami dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Shiva and Jain religion respectively casts a spell amongst visitors with their magnificent outlook. Its scenic setting adds more fun to your trip. So give a try.
- Udayagiri and Khandagiri, Bhubaneshwar
On the outskirts of Bhubaneshwar, Udaygiri and Khandagiri stands as a collection of many ornately carved caves believed to be occupied by Jain philosophers in the past. Udayagiri (Hill of Sunrise) and Khandagiri (Broken Hills) occupy a distinct position in India’s history of rock-cut art, architecture and religion.
- The Many Caves of Meghalaya
The state is blessed with numerous caves spotted all over its landscape. Mawsmai Cave, Tangnub Monkey Cave, Siju Cave and many others soread over Khasi, Jaintia and Garo hills are awe- inspiring sites to watch and admire. Watch out for these caves during sunrise or sunset when they turn out to be extraordinarily beautiful.
- Undavalli and Mogalarajapuram Caves, Vijaywada
The well preserved Undavalli cave temples of 7th century are ideal place if you are looking for unmatched tranquility. Shrines of Brahma, Vishu and Maheshwar cast the power and vibrancy of Hinduism all around. Here again, Mogalarajapuram caves may be in ruins, but still deserves a visit for its interesting architecture.
- Trichy Rock Fort Temple and Pallava Caves
Constructed by Nayaks of Madurai ages ago, Rock Fort Temple of Trichy forms a major attraction with its carved sculptures. Built almost 237 feet above on a rocky outcrop, they provide awesome views of the surrounding. Be there during sunset to get the best snapshot.
- Dungeshwari Cave Temples, Bihar
It is believed that Lord Buddha has spent many years of his life here meditating before going to Bodhgaya. It today houses some artistically structured Buddhist temples that attract a lot of Busshist followers. Be here to experience spiritualism, peace and serenity.
- Shiv Khori Caves, Jammu
This kilometre long cave is known for the natural formation of Shiva lingam. Born out of stalagmite, the lingam attracts devotees from all parts of India to this spectacular cave shrine. Ransoo, in the Swalik Hills is known for being the home to Shiv Khori caves.
- Tabo, Spiti
Dotted with many vibrant caves, it is here where one can find spirituality and serenity. Local Buddhist lamas consider theses caves to be their favourite meditation spots. Again, their adjoining mountains will definitely take you to a state of trance.
If caving is what attracts you and you want to feel those goosebumps, tour along these caves of India and soak in their abundance natural and historical beauty.