Caves in India

  • Post last modified:29 January 2023
  • Reading time:9 mins read

Caving in India is very popular considering the number of caves one can find here. Every state has a number of caves worth exploring. There is the right mix of history, spirituality, mystery, meditation, and adventure in cave explorations. Dating back to thousands years old, Caves in India are the epitome of architectural masterpieces. Putting its charm alive despite being so old and dilapidated, these caves with its unique architectural beauty have become world famous tourists centre to be visited by visitors from all over.

Caves in India

Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

The Ajanta Ellora caves are the most famous caves of India. They are carved into hillside rocks and are located in the north of Maharashtra. One needs to see these caves to understand the magnificence of their beauty and form. There are in all 34 caves at the Ellora. These date back to the 6th and 11th centuries AD. There are 29 caves at Ajanta. These date back to the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. The caves at the Ajanta are all Buddhist. However the caves at Ellora are a mix of Buddhist, Hindu as well as Jain.

The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra is a home to about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures those are the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting and are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales.

The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ajanta caves are located at about 59 kilometers from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometers from the city of Aurangabad. Ellora caves is 100 kilometers away from the Ajanta caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta.

Elephanta Island Caves, Maharashtra

The Elephanta caves are located on an Island just off the coast of Mumbai. There are in total seven ancient caves, which are hand carved out of a single rock. These caves date back to 450 and 750 AD and thus are very ancient. Out of all the caves, there is one main cave, which has many stunning large sculptured panels. These panels depict the Hindu god, Lord Shiva. One has to take a ferry from the Gateway of India to reach these island caves.

Badami, Karnataka

The caves of Badami are very attractive due to the presence of the many beautiful cave temples. The four temples are open daily for a specific time frame. The four caves are dedicated to individual deities like Lord Shiva (one), Lord Vishnu (two), and the Jains (one). These caves overlook the 5th century Agastyatirtha Tank and also the beautiful waterside Bhutanatha Temples.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Orissa

The Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves are located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The landscape is dotted with many ancient caves. There are many ornately carved caves, which are believed to be once occupied by Jain aesthetics. There is the mysterious Tiger Cave, which has an entrance shaped like a tiger’s mouth, and the Queen’s Palace Cave, which has the remains of the Jain symbols.

Tabo, Himachal Pradesh

One can find spiritually vibrant caves in Tabo, which offers the visitors a chance to meditate and go into a trance. Situated in the Spiti Valley, the rugged and rocky ridge is located in high altitude. One can explore a lot of small and big caves here as the mountains house many of them and thus there are many visitors annually.

The Many Caves of Meghalaya

Meghalaya is one state of India, where claims are there that, the caving exploration expeditions actually started. The place has many caves in almost all the nooks and corners of its landscape. Scores of cavers visit Meghalaya annually to undertake caving expeditions.

The Caves of Jammu & Kashmir

There are many caves in Jammu and Kashmir, but two important Indian caves include those dedicated to Lord Shiva. Thus, these are very popular with pilgrims from all over India. Shiv Khori is placed near Ransoo, deep in the Swalik Hills. It is a kilometer long cave and has a natural Shiva lingam made out of a nice stalagmite. Then there are the famous Amaranth caves on the mount amaranth. There is also a temple and a famous Hindu shrine in those caves, made of ice

Undavalli and Mogalarajapuram Caves, Andhra Pradesh

In the city of Vijayawada, one can find the well preserved 7th century dated Undavalli cave temples. In the caves one can find many shrines that are dedicated to the Hindu deities like lord Shiva, lord Vishnu, and Lord Brahma. The Mogalarajapuram caves are an interesting find but they are in the ruins nowadays but still worth a visit. However, these caves are very famous for exploration and getting to know about their make and architecture is very interesting.

Trichy Rock Fort Temple and Pallava Caves, Tamilnadu

The Rock Fort Temple is the main point of Trichy, and one of the major attractions of south India. It was constructed by the Nayaks of Madurai. The temples are built on a rocky outcrop, almost 237 feet above the city. There are many captivatingly beautiful and ancient sculptures carved inside the caves. The 83m high Rock Fort is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The rock is one of the oldest in the worldapproximately 3.800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland and older than the Himalayas.

Dungeshwari Cave Temples, Bihar

The famous Dungeshwari caves house the Buddhist temples that are very artistically structured. The Dungeshwari cave temples are also popularly known as the Mahakala caves. These are the caves where it is believed the Buddha spent a lot of years meditating, before going to Bodhygaya and attaining enlightenment. The place is thus a tourist hub, especially those who follow Buddhism.

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