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