India, a land filled with innumerable beautiful religious and historical monuments and the breath-taking panorama of the Himalayas. But apart from all of this do you know about some extraordinary caves of India? These caves hold mystery and history of people and civilization who lived thousands of years before us. They hold answers to our past, a depiction of our beliefs and a bewitching beauty of natural and man-made blended architecture. Sure, everyone knows about Ajanta & Ellora and Elephanta. But what about others?
I will list down here some of the caves of India that holds an equal poise of grace and adventure as any other, if not more. Let’s take a walk, shall we?
1. Astounding Amarnath Caves in Jammu & Kashmir
The cave nestled in rugged and tough mountains of Himalayas. Amarnath Caves, and Amarnath Temple, holds an immensely popular religious and cultural significance to the Hindu devotees. Amarnath cave has the ice stalagmite in the shape of Shivalingam which is considered a mythological miracle. The shiva lingam is also believed by the locals and devotees to change its shape along with the phases of the moon.
The ice stalagmite forms from the freezing water that falls from the roof and drops to the floor. According to legends, this is the same cave where Lord Shiva revealed the secret of life and eternity to Goddess Parvati. Two other comparatively smaller ice stalagmite inside the cave represent Parvati and Ganesha.
Trip to the temple is only possible during the months of Shravan, i.e. July and August. It truly remains to be one of the most visited places in India, amassing over hundred thousands followers every year.
2. Exceptional Koteshwar Caves of Uttarakhand
Located about 3 km from Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand, these caves boast of its popularity as Hindu pilgrimage site. As per legend and beliefs, these caves have witnessed Lord Shiva meditating. It has also been the same place when the demon, Bhasmasur chases to kill Lord Shiva but fails. Therefore, Koteshwar caves hold great religious significance in Hinduism and its followers.
Most visited time starts from months of August to September. Thousands of people visit each year seeking blessing and many offerings to the Lord for good fortune!
3. Tabo Caves of Himachal Pradesh
Around 48 km from the undiscovered town of Kaza, Tabo village houses the country’s oldest caves. Believed to be the safe home to the monks during the harsh cold season, Tabo Caves sits spectacularly on the hillside. Now, it acts as a dwelling for meditation of monks. Many of the smaller caves are lined with colourful prayer flags indications Buddhist monks for meditational purposes.
The narrow openings, small rooms and ventilation windows in the rooms speak of brilliant architecture. Nearby the Tabo caves, there is a monastery museum. The museum houses a huge statue of Buddha Maitreyi who is believed to come back here and teach the real meaning of Dharma.
4. Mind blowing Mawsmai Caves of Meghalaya
Meghalaya houses some of the amazing and mysterious cave systems. Mawsmai Caves proudly sit on the top of that list. The caves offer a thrilling ride to any adventurous soul out there looking for excitement. The awe-inspiring maze of caves in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. Sometimes the travellers have to crawl through places to explore other regions inside.
The cave has large passages and chambers and is the only fully lit cave in India. When the light meets the limestones bathing the whole area in spectacular shades of hue, the sight truly leaves an everlasting imprint on your mind. The stalactites and stalagmites add to the grandeur of the caves.
5. Breathtaking Krem Liat Preh Caves of Meghalaya
Claimed to be the longest ever cave system in the Indian subcontinent, Krem Liat Prah Caves reside in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills District, tucked in the folds of the Shnongrim Ridge. The connection of the Krem um im-Liat Prah cave system to Krem Labbit, Khaidong, creates a single cave system of 34 km. The caves fascinate the specialists and enthusiasts of spelunking as a hobby from all over the world.
It continues to extend with the ongoing surveys and yet many parts of the system still remain deprived of human touch. The most significant feature of Liat Prah is the Aircraft Hangar, an enormous trunk passage.
6. Magnificent Krem Kotsati Caves of Meghalaya
Krem Kotsati is the third-longest and largest cave in the north-eastern state of Meghalaya. It tends to a length of around 21.5km under Jaintia Hills. Part of the Kotsati – Umlawan Cave system, it boasts of a total of 8 entrances and some virgin river passages. The cave of Krem Kotsati consists of an amalgamation of many caves. Krem Umsynrang Liehwait and Krem Wahjajew hold the position of most important in the whole area.
Among all the passages, one passing over a deep pool serves as the most enchanting one. It requires travellers to swim through to get to the other side. It is said that no part of the cave is more than one hour away from the nearest entrance.
7. Vibrant Vaishno Devi Caves of Jammu & Kashmir
One of the most popular cave temples in India is the Vaishno Devi. Claimed as the holiest Hindu temples revered and worshipped by millions. Located in Katra at Trikuta Mountains in Jammu Kashmir, the temple is dedicated to Shakti. The idol of the main deity in this temple houses a stone structure that represents three goddesses- Saraswati, Kali and Lakshmi. The shrine here sits at a height of 5300 feet above sea level. Many legends attached to this temple add a mysterious element to this temple. \
Picturesque surroundings and the verdant, green surroundings keep company to tourists. Amidst the beautiful landscapes, a trip to Vaishno Devi will definitely be a golden chance to connect with nature. Not only that, a trip here offers you an opportunity to know a lot more about Indian history and religious beliefs.
While walking on your way to the temple make sure you walk only on the paved path. Do not take halts at spots where you see warning signs.