A list of twelve must visit cave temples around India that demand your visit. These rock-cut cave temples aren’t just rich in history and legend, they also boast of remarkable architectural and artistic qualities that will make you curious and learn more about the civilizations that pre-date modern India before preparing your eVisa in Indian
1. Ajanta and Ellora caves
The Ajanta and Ellora caves are one of the most amazing caves in India. The caves at the Ajanta are all mainly devoted to Buddhism. The caves at Ellora were built by the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist monks. Ellora caves start from the point from where the Ajanta caves end. Ajanta caves are older than the Ellora caves. Ajanta- Ellora caves are wonders to the world with their pre-historic sculptures and exquisite stone carvings.
There are 34 caves in Ellora, Ellora Cave is known for its monumental caves and is a World Heritage Site, which is in fact structures excavated out of the Charanandri hills. There are Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut temples and religious structures here that taking over a century to finish.
The 29 rock-cut cave of Ajanta includes paintings and sculptures of religious art. The Ajanta and Ellora caves in India are the masterpieces of India’s hillside rock-cut architecture. Ajanta has been selected as a World Heritage Site, to be preserved as an artistic legacy that will come to enrich and inspire the lives of future generations.
2. Elephanta cave
Elephanta is an island off the Mumbai (Bombay) coast in India. This rock cut temples were created by carving out rock and creating the columns, the internal spaces, and the images. The entire temple is akin to a huge sculpture, through whose corridors and chambers one can walk. The entire complex was created through a process of rock removal. Some of the rock surfaces are highly finished while some are untreated bare rock. One needs to take a ferry from the Gateway of India to achieve these island caves.
3. Badami Caves
Badami Caves are a total of four caves, three Brahmanical and the fourth Jaina. The four temples are open every day for a particular time period. Architecture of these caves is inspired by the Nagara and Dravidian style. Each cave has a mandap, stunning pillars, a stately verandah, and sanctorum.
Designs on these caves have transformed the Malaprabha River valley into a formation of temple architecture. The caves depict the original evidence of wall painting and Indian art. They stand as a reflection of the art and culture that existed back then and prove to be as some of the most beautiful and brilliant pieces of architecture seen till date.
4. Udayagiri and Khandagiri
Udayagiri also is called the Sunrise Hills, and Khandagiri (Broken Hills). The ancient Jain monasteries Udayagiri caves are located near the city of Bhubaneswar in tribal-state Orissa. At present, all the important caves have been numbered to avoid confusion in nomenclature.
The Udayagiri caves and Khandagiri caves are famous for 33 rock-cut chambers, sculptures and wall paintings. Udayagiri is the hill on the right and access to its 18 caves is provided by a flight of steps. About Khandagiri, Both the Tatowa Gumphas have parrot carvings over the entrance arches. These caves also bear some inscriptions of the time and the use of natural color pigments is evident.
5. Undavalli Caves
In the caves, one can uncover numerous altars that are devoted to the compelling Hindu gods like Lord Shiva, ruler Vishnu, and Lord Brahma. This is an amazing achievement of engineering, four floors high rock-cut temple with numerous sculptures and murals.
Located at about 6 km away from Vijayawada, Undavalli Caves in Andhra Pradesh. Formerly, it was a Jain cave that represents the Khandgiri and Udaygiri architectures. Undavalli Caves are made of sandstone and were made in the 4th and 5th century AD.
6. Meghalaya Caves
A state known for its picturesque hilltops and natural tree root bridges is now also home to the longest sandstone cave in the world at 24,583m, with dinosaur fossils from 66-76 million years ago, named Krem Puri. Other caves of Meghalaya state are also longer than 20km. These caves are basically excellent and dazzling.
7. Dungeshwari Cave Temples
Dungeshwari Cave Temples, also known as Mahakala caves, lies 12 km north-east of Bodhgaya in Bihar. Where three caves contain Buddhist shrines, where the Buddha is believed to have meditated.
Gautama Siddhartha is believed to have piously meditated at this place for six years before he went to Bodhgaya for the final realization. Two small shrines are built to commemorate this phase of Buddha. A golden emaciated Buddha sculpture memorizing the rigid penance is enshrined in one of the cave temples and a large Buddha’s s statue in the other. A Hindu goddess deity Dungeshwari is also placed inside the cave temple.
8. Amarnath caves
Amarnath Cave is one of the holiest places for Hindu, located in Jammu & Kashimir. An extremely popular Hindu place of worship, it likewise has a Shiva lingam made out of a stalagmite. The cave is situated at an altitude of 3,888 meters and has a great significance in Hinduism. Surrounded by snow-capped mountain, the place is epitome to such spiritualism which intoxicates the air to its divinity. There is an ice stalagmite symbolizing the Shiva Linga.
Pilgrims come at this the most admired shrines in the country while facing the extreme climates. As per the religious beliefs, this ice linga changes its shape according to the different phases of the moon.
9. Varaha Cave Temples
Varaha Cave Temple is a rock-cut cavern temple found at Mamallapuram. It is a case of Indian rock-cut structural architecture dating from the late seventh century. Varaha Cave Temple is one of the greatest examples of Pallava art and has beautifully molded lion pillars.
It has been created during the reign of Narasimhavarman I Mahamalla and represents an early stage in Dravidian architecture with many elements of Buddhist design prevalent.
The rock-cut cave temple architecture is the part of the UNESCO World Heritage group of monuments. Varaha cave temple is one of the major attraction of Tamil Nadu along with other caves Narthamalai cave and Sittanavasal cave.
10. Bhimbetka Rock Shelters
The Bhimbetka rock shelters compose an archaeological site and World Heritage Site located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The name Bhimbetka comes from the mythological association of the place with Bhima, one of the Pandavas (The five sons of king Pandu and the queens Kunti and Madri) in the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
Archeologists are of the supposition that the caverns may have been involved over 10,000 years prior. The main attraction of this cave is the rock paintings and sculptures that are around 30,000 years old. Colors of most of these paintings have been faded as natural colors have been used to paint. It is really interesting to visit the cave.
11. Belum Caves
Belum Caves is the second biggest cave in India and the longest caves fields of Indian Subcontinent. Belum Caves has a length of 3229m, freshwater exhibitions, extensive chambers, and siphons. It is a regular underground surrender framed by the steady stream of underground water. There are 16 separate pathways, incorporating the primary doorway and there are stores of Quartz in the caverns. The caves are structured in Black Limestone.
12. Borra Cave
Borra Cave located in the East Coast of India, Andhra Pradesh. The caves are basically karstic limestone structures extending to a depth of 80m, and are considered the deepest caves in India, aging for more than 150 million years. This natural deity is worshiped by the tribe communities around the cave. The sedimentation formation inside the cave creates many distinguished structures like the human brain, crocodile, Shiva Parvathi, mother and child and so on. The best of all is the Shiva Linga and Kamadhenu cow.
There are still lots of caves that does not include in this post yet, each of it contains different stories. Grab your Indian eVisa and come to India to enjoy all the magnificent sights, and also because "Travelling - it leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller"
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