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Reet Cheema Aug 05 2014

Which are the best caves in India?

Benazir Khan Aug 05 2014
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Indian tourism boasts about a large number of very interesting caves. Many of the best caves in India are maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. These caves will appeal to history and archaeology buffs as also to adventure junkies.

Ajanta and Ellora Caves (by [Wikide-I] 10,000 paintings for Commons. Erwin Jurschitza ejurschi at directmedia.de)

Ajanta and Ellora Caves

The Ajanta and Ellora Caves are located in north Maharashtra. These rock-cut caves carved out in the Sahyadri Hills contain a mix of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain sculptures and imagery. The 34 caves in Ellora, which are dated between the 6-11 CE, and the 29 caves in Ajanta, which were carved between 2 BCE and 6 CE, have intricate sculptures and very fine detailing. These are, without doubt, the most popular and well recognized caves in India.

Ajanta Caves (by shri_ram_r)

Ellora Caves (by www.zoqy.net)

Tabo Caves

Tabo is famed for the famous Tabo Monastery. A little towards the hilly terrain of the town are where one will find several caves which were excavated manually. It is located in the Spiti Valley and the rugged landscape of the township is replete with caves which serve as quiet corners for Buddhist lamas to sit and meditate in. As one of the most beautiful monasteries of the world, it also has an enchanting air about itself.

Tabo Village (by Amit Parikh)

Tabo Caves (by Michael Scalet)

The caves here were dug out manually. The caves are used for different purposes by the lamas who reside locally. Some serve as assembly halls, some as dwellings and still others as quiet meditation spots which are believed to be spiritually uplifting.

Undavalli and Mogalarajapuram Caves

They are located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The Undavalli Caves came into existence in the 7th century CE. The temple has 4 storeys, all of which had been cut out of a single rock. The sculptured parts of the temples bear resonance with the Chalukya period. Each storey of the cave houses several shrines. The last storey, however remains incomplete in terms of construction at the time. Vaishnava deities in various forms can be found within the temple. Lord Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are the principal deities to be found in these caves.

The Mogalarajapuram Caves are in a state of ruins today. They came into existence in the 5th century CE. They are dedicated to Lord Vinayaka and Lord Nataraja; renowned deities of South India. However, the temple is famed even more for one of the earliest statues in South India, known as the ‘Ardhanarisvara.’

Undavalli Caves (by durgaraovuddanti)

Borra Caves

Borra Caves are located a little before Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The caves are natural formations which have been formed around the Gosthani River. The caves consist of natural limestone formations of stalactites and stalagmites, which are a result of erosion of the limestone rocks over time. The shapes of these stalactites and stalagmites are depicted today in various forms within these caves. Some popular forms include - Shiv Parvati, human brain, mother and child etc.

Borra Caves interestingly lit up (by Raj srikanth800 at en.wikipedia)

Borra Caves' interiors (by Adityamadhav83)

Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves are located on an island situated a little away from Mumbai. The island, known as Gharapuri, can be reached through a ferry ride from the mainland. The caves are dedicated to Lord Shiva and heavily sculptured panels in the cave depict Lord Shiva as he is known in Hindu mythology - creator, destroyer and protector of the universe.

There are seven caves in all. Mahesa-murti is the most remarkable rock-cut sculpture here. The birth of these caves can be traced back to the time period between 450 and 750 CE. There are other prominent sculptured panels of significance here - Andhakarasuravada murti, Kalyanasundara murti, Gangadhar murti, depiction of a kind of dance by Nataraja, and one with Kailasa, Ravana and Lord Shiva, which are definitely worth a visit to observe the intricate craftsmanship.

Tourists at Elephanta Caves (by Ting Chen, Wing)

Beautiful sculptures in the caves (by Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library)

The interiors of the caves (by xnmeme)

North East Caves - Krem Mawmluh and Mawsmai Caves

Krem Mawmluh

Krem Mawmluh is the fourth longest cave in India and is situated a little away from Cherrapunji, Meghalaya. It is 4503 metres long. The cave’s massive length makes it one of the most interesting caves to explore making it one of the best caves in India. There are several miniature passageways in the cave, which form a complex grid once one is exploring it on the inside. The caves consist of pools, river passages, hilly boulders, stalactite and stalagmite formations and some areas filled with quicksand.

North East caves (by anuradhac)

Mawsmai Caves (by Ppyoonus)

The interiors of the caves (by ashwin kumar)

Mawsmai Caves

These caves are a result of the abrasion of limestone from rocks over a long span of time. Mawsmai Caves are at a little distance from Cherrapunji, Meghalaya and contain several stalactites and stalagmites. They have taken on different shapes over time, depicting various forms and figures. The caves are a huge natural breeding space for a variety of insects, algae and moss species.

Badami Caves

Badami Caves, located in the town of Badami in Karnataka, are renowned for several beautiful waterside cave temples. The Bhutanatha Temples and the Agastyatirtha Tank are the most popular tourist spots here.The caves here are surrounded by cave temples and the four caves are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Jain deities. The caves were built during the reign of the Chalukya empire. You can also visit the ruins of the Chalukya empire around the town of Badami, Karnataka.

Badami Caves (by Ruben Swieringa)

Interiors of the caves (by iamrawat)

Bhimbetka Caves

Located a little away from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, the Bhimbetka Caves are some of the oldest caves in India, which consist of 838 caves in all. The caves are named so after Bhim from the Mahabharata. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bhimbetka Caves have a huge collection of prehistoric art - which consist of paintings and drawings etched on the walls of these caves.

Drawings on the wall of the Bhimbetka Caves (by Raveesh Vyas)

Drawings of lifestyle habits of the common people on the cave walls (by Yann)

One can find a large number of red and white paintings, some which have made use of the colours of green and yellow. The paintings depict activities from the day to day lives of people which include hunting, dancing, singing, cooking and follow similar other domestic and outdoor themes in other paintings as well. The rock paintings in question belong to the Stone Age period. The caves also house several rock shelters.

Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves

These are some of the most ornate and beautifully carved caves and are occupied by Jain ascetics. They are located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, Orissa. There is the Tiger Cave, the entrance of which is shaped in the form of a tiger’s mouth and a Queen’s Palace Cave which houses several Jain religious symbols. Udaygiri Caves are also known as Sunrise Hills. Khandagiri Caves consist of a huge collection of some very beautiful caves, making them some of best caves in India.

A distant view of the Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves (by Proxy Indian)

The cave walls (by Proxy Indian)

The caves have a character of their own (by Proxy Indian)

The caves listed here are undoubtedly some of the most alluring structures. Some of the best caves in India are definitely worth a visit, for exploration and photography. Do share your thoughts, experiences and pictures!
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