How About Visiting the 6th Century Arvalem Caves and Arvalem Falls in Goa?

Arvalem Caves 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

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.

Khandala Hill Station and Bhaja and Karla Rock-cut Buddhist Caves

Khandala is a hill station is near Lonavala hill station in Maharashtra state, India.

Khandala Valley
Khandala Valley

Khandala hill station is located on the Bhor Ghat, which lies in between the Konkan plains and the Deccan Plateau.

This hill station is famous for hiking to Duke’s Nose, which offers excellent view of Khandala and Bhor Ghats. Tiger’s Leap is a tourist spot which appear as a tiger leaping into the valley.

Amrutanjan Point, Karla caves and Bhaja caves (Rock-cut Buddhist Caves), Bhushi Lake, etc, are some of the other prominent tourist attractions here.

There is an Ancient Jail at this hill station, which was built in 1896.

Chaitya (prayer hall) at Bhaja CavesChaitya (prayer hall) at Karla Caves

Karla caves are 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD rock-cut caves. The famous “Grand Chaitya” inside  Cave 8 is “the largest and most completely preserved” chaitya hall (prayer hall) of the period.  It is also known by different names like Karli Caves, Karle Caves and Karla Cells.

BhajaBhaja Caves

Bhaja Caves are a group of 22 rock-cut caves, which dates back to 2nd century BC.  It is also known as or Bhaje caves.

How Do I Go to Khandala Hill Station?

Khandala Hill Station is at around 3 kilometers from Lonavala, a famous hill station on the Western Ghats. Mumbai – Pune Expressway connects this hill station to Mumbai and Pune cities. Karjat is at around 7 kilometers away from this hill station.

Khandala railway station (next station to Lonavla station) is the nearest railway station. there are suburban trains between Lonavala and Pune stations. Pune International airport is the nearest airport.