Caves represent a special aura, one of mystery and history fused together in an enchanting combination that draws out our inner explorers. India is blessed with several caves that promise delightful trips by all means. You must have heard of Angkor Wat in Cambodia which is on many a traveller’s bucket list. However, you can plan a simpler visit to some of the best caves in India to satiate your craving for adventure.
10 Most Famous & Ancient Caves In India
- Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves
- Elephanta Caves
- Badami Caves
- Tabo Caves
- Dungeshwari Cave Temples
- Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves
- Undavalli Caves
- Borra Caves
- Karla Caves
- Mawsmai Caves
1. Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves
These two caves are arguably amongst India’s most famous ancient caves and are located in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon. They are UNESCO World Heritage listed sites and promise unforgettable experiences by all means. Ajanta comprises of 29 caves while Ellora comprises of 34 caves. The former are majorly Buddhist caves while the latter showcase a mixture of Jain, Hindu and Buddhist influences. These caves have some enchanting sculptures that you should not miss. The Kailasha/Kailashanatha temple is situated in the Ellora caves and is the largest cave temple in India. This is a fascinating monolith that has been carved from just one rock.
2. Elephanta Caves
Located only 10 km away from Mumbai, this UNESCO World Heritage site promises to give you splendid experiences on your visit. The main cave itself covers the Gun Hill on the fabulous Elephanta Island and has delightful Lord Shiva sculptures along with panels showing the stages of life for an ascetic.
3. Badami Caves
Located in Karnataka, the Badami Caves go back to 6th/7th century AD and there are four caves in all, out of which there is a Jain temple and three Brahmanical temples. The caves have incredible sculptures and images showcasing the Tirthankaras, Mahavira and other Hindu Gods. There are other attractions like carvings of Lord Ganesha with two hands, a dancing Shiva with 18 arms and more.
4. Tabo Caves
Located near the Tabo Village in Himachal Pradesh’s Spiti Valley, these caves housed Buddhist monks in the past and there are many prayer flags inside, indicating that meditation is still done here. The serene atmosphere inside is a major plus point by all means.
5. Dungeshwari Cave Temples
This is located at Bihar approximately 12 km away from Bodhgaya and is regarded as a meditation spot for Gautama Buddha. There are two shrines which commemorate his journey towards enlightenment.
6. Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves
These caves are situated near Bhubaneshwar in Odisha. Udayagiri has specially carved caves that were supposedly shelters for Jain pilgrims in the past and the Tiger Cave will draw your attention with its entrance that resembles the mouth of a tiger. The Queen’s Palace Cave is another major attraction. Khandagiri also has several enticing caves worth exploring.
7. Undavalli Caves
These caves are located on the River Krishna’s Banks, approximately 8 km away from Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada. Made from sandstone, the caves have a huge Lord Vishnu Statue along with shrines dedicated to the worship of Mahesh, Vishnu and Brahma. There are pictures of Lord Buddha as well.
8. Borra Caves
Situated 90 km away from Vishakhapatnam, these caves are archaeological wonders and are close to 150 million years old. The Shiva Lingam formed naturally inside these caves is a major attraction along with other formations like the human brain, mother and child and crocodile.
9. Karla Caves
These caves are located near Lonavala which is a major tourist landmark. These caves go back to 200 BC and they showcase amazing architecture along with the biggest chaityagriha, arched entry points and the Ashokan Pillar complete with a torana and stone face.
10. Mawsmai Caves
The pride of Meghalaya, these caves showcase limestone formations that will catch your eye instantly. The caves are lit up completely and showcase an intricate network of chambers and pathways.
These fabled and ancient caves promise much more than sheer exhilaration and adventure; they also promise oodles of peace, tranquillity and spiritual bliss in most cases. Check out the caves that you would like to visit first from this list and then plan your trip accordingly. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed even one bit!
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