From Son Bhandar to the gorgeous limestone Borra, here are five mysterious and ancient caves in India you must explore.
Feature Image Courtesy Bihar tourism
Much like the game show ‘Legends of The Hidden Temple’ which we enjoyed as children, many caves have legends behind them. Over centuries, people have been trying to unearth these mysteries behind the caves.
When we visit caves, they bring forth several interesting stories and a deep, rich history. While there are many such caves in India, here are the five most mysterious ones:
1. Son Bhandar caves
Located in Rajgir, Bihar, on the foothills of the Vaibhar hills, the Son Bhandar caves are two artificial structures from the 3rd or 4th century BC. Son Bhandar translates to ‘store of gold’.
According to legend, there is a secret treasure inside the caves. On one particular wall of the cave, there is a door that will open when the “right password” is uttered. The inscriptions, which are said to hold a clue to the gold, have not been deciphered by anyone so far.
The caves are said to be from the Mauryan empire and have a connection with Buddhism.
2. Edakkal caves
Located in Wayanad, Kerala, these caves are double-chambered and naturally formed. They are located in Ambukuthi Mountain. More than 1,300 metres above sea level, the Edakkal caves have unique carvings that are said to be thousands of years old.
The carvings are set to date back to 6000 BC, during the neolithic stone age. It was discovered by British police officer Fred Fawcett.
3. Borra Caves
Said to be one of the largest caves in the country, these limestone caves are in Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. They are home to million-year-old stalactite and stalagmite formations and are at an elevation of 1400 metres above sea level.
They were formed as a result of the flow of river Gosthani on the limestone deposits.
Legend says that a cowherd discovered the caves while looking for his cow, and he found a shiv ling (symbol of Lord Shiva) inside.
4. Undavalli Caves
Located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, these rock-cut caves are an example of Gupta architecture. Carved out of sandstone, they give us a glimpse into ancient religious practices.
There is a huge Lord Vishnu monolith in the reclining posture in one of the caves.
5. Bhimbetka Rock Shelters
Located on the foothills of the Vindhya range in Madhya Pradesh, these shelters were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003.
Discovered in 1957, these shelters house one of the largest repositories of prehistoric art in India. The paintings date back to the Palaeolithic Period. They demonstrate the lives of our ancestors.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)