India is steeped in rich history and vibrant culture that dates back centuries. A crucial slice of the country’s famous past lies within the caves in India. Exuding mysterious secrets and intriguing stories, what lies in these famous caves in India? Housing exquisite art, spectacular sculptures and carvings along with strikingly natural beauty, India’s unexplored natural gifts are worth evoking our adventurous spirit. An exploration trip from the largest cave in India to the biggest one will take you on a journey through India’s vibrant heritage that is depicted in the form of art on the walls of these majestic caves.
7 ancient and famous caves of India you must see:
1. Ajanta and Ellora Caves
Located close to Jalgaon city in Maharashtra, Ajanta Caves, the biggest caves in India, and Ellora, the largest cave temple in India, are architectural marvels dating back to the 5th to 10th centuries. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ajanta and Ellora showcase stunning cave architecture that bears testimony to India’s artistic excellence during the period. Ajanta and Ellora Caves are famous for their paintings and sculptures that attract archaeologists from across the globe. Ajanta is a group of 29 caves that predominantly represent Buddhist scriptures and learnings. Ellora is a series of 34 rock-cut temples that feature a mix of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain sculptures from the period.
2. Elephanta Caves
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Elephanta Caves are one of the most fascinating caves in India. Located on Elephanta Island, about 10 km outside the city of Mumbai, the cave sprawls around Gun Hill and is doused in historical legacy. It is decorated with sculptures of Lord Shiva in different positions and avatars. A group of seven rock-cut caves is exquisitely designed to display Lord Shiva's three fierce forms — Aghora, Tatpurusha and Vamadeva.
3. Badami Caves
Built by the Chalukya king, Mangalesa, Badami Caves in India are a group of four Hindu and Jain cave temples dating back to the 7th century. Each temple is adorned with intricate architecture and depictions from Hindu mythology. The first three caves show Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in their Brahmanical figures. The fourth temple cave is dedicated to Vaishnavite and Shaivite of the Jain Tirthankaras. Devotees from across India visit these breathtaking Badami Caves to learn more about their ancestors and witness marvellous rock-cut Chalukya architecture.
4. Tabo Caves
Nestled far away in the Spiti Valley in the Tabo village of Himachal are the beautiful Tabo Caves. Carved from the nearby hills, Tabo Caves sit above the Tabo monastery and served as a refuge for Buddhist monks during the harsh winter months. These caves in India serve as evidence of human habitation during prehistoric times. Their unique architectural design showcases large empty spaces that were used as assembly halls for meditation by monks. Even today the tranquillity of these Himalayan caverns is used as a meditation spot by Buddhist llamas.
5. Dungeshwari Cave Temples
One of the most famous caves in India, the Dungeshwari Cave Temples are located about 12 km from the religious city of Bodhgaya. Playing a key role in India’s religious chapters, it was at these caves that Gautam Buddha spent his prime years in meditation. He found the road to enlightenment during his stay and began preaching to his followers. The caves have shrines to commemorate this event along with a golden statue of Lord Buddha in his state of penance. The Dungeshwari Cave Temples also hold immense religious significance for Hindu devotees who visit the site to offer prayers to the Hindu Goddess Dungeshwari. Also known as the Mahakal Caves, you will find a serene tranquillity take over you as you sit and meditate amidst the divine aura of the Gods.
6. Undavalli Caves
Sitting along the banks of River Krishna, the Undavalli Caves in India are located around 8 km from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. An example of outstanding rock-cut architecture, the Undavalli Caves are carved out of solid sandstone. One of the caves houses a life-sized statue of Lord Vishnu in his reclining position, while others are dedicated to the Trimurti of Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
7. Krem Liat Prah
Situated in the state of Meghalaya is the longest natural cave in South Asia, the Krem Liat Prah. It is a breathtaking site to witness nature’s exquisite craftsmanship. Folded in the Shnongrim Ridge, these caves in India are among the 150 caves of the ridge that are still unexplored by archaeologists. The caves of Krem Liat Prah are approximately 34 km long and are still being surveyed for more.
Delve into the mystery that is hidden in these caves in India for an intriguing history lesson of a lifetime. These seven famous caves are among the best ones to visit in 2022.