These ancient cave temples are located near to Arvalem falls in North Goa, India. It is also known as the Pandava caves as it is believed that Pandavas (heroes of epic Mahabharata), occupied five chambers of the caves here, while they were in exile.
Arvalem Caves – Image courtesy – goa.gov.in
These rustic and simple caves has their sanctum sanctuary at the northern end. Vihara is at the southern end. These architecture resembles goes well with other Buddhist caves in the nearby areas. Hence its is believed that these caves were built by Buddhist monks. There was also a gigantic statue of Lord Gautama Buddha, which was found near to these cave temples.
The origin of the caves dates back to the 6th century or so. The caves here are situated on a laterite rock. These caves are also called Harvalem caves.
Carvings and the artifacts of the caves gives credibility to another belief, that this caves were the work of Brahmins, the Hindu priest caste in India. There are granite Shivlings with carvings similar to those found at Ellora Caves and Elephanta caves.
There is a sculpture in the second cave, which is dedicated to the sun god. The inscriptions here dates back to 600 A.D. It is similar to those prevailed during the reign of King Kapalivarman of Bhoja period.
Arvalem waterfalls on Cudnem river is situated very close to the caves. You need to hike around 1 kilometer or so to reach this beautiful falls.
How Do I Go to Arvalem Caves / Arvalem waterfalls?
Sanquelim or Sankhali is the nearest town, at around 2 kilometers distance. Bicholim alias Dicholi, the mining heartland of Goa and the district headquarters, is at around 9 kilometers distance.
Panaji, the capital of Goa, is at around 31.5 kilometers distance. Dabolim Railway Station is at around 41 kilometers distance from Harvalem caves. Indian railway along with Konkan railway, connects Panaji with the rest of India.
There is an International airport at Dabolim in Goa, at around 40 kilometers away from these cave temples and falls at Arvalem.
Arvalem Caves Timings
These caves are open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm; with a break in-between from 1 pm to 2 pm.