6 Must-Visit Caves in Goa (2023)
Caves are crucial, both historically and scientifically because they convey the information that they were home to man even before he knew how to actually build a home. Depending upon its creation, Caves are either man made or naturally formed. Goa, the city comprising a variety of natural creations of the mother Earth is home to many such caves as well. Apart from splendid beaches, Goa has a lot of other things to offer and the caves are one such gem. Considered one of the most popular travelling destinations in India, Goa is also renowned for several of these alluring creations of nature. By far, about 25 of these manmade and natural gems have been discovered in Goa. Incised with the purpose of promoting religious activities and some for living, these caves in Goa are sights of wonder and excitement.
In Verna lies the biggest natural cave of Goa and it is large enough to occupy around 1200 people at once. Another such natural formation is the Buddhist Cave at Rivona. And as for the man-made ones, the oldest one dates back to 5th century A.D. Accounts of some of these caves are also mentioned in mythological texts of Hindus. For instance, The Arvalem caves, popularly called as the Pandava Caves were believed to be home to the Pandavas during their exile. The Lamgau Caves too have their mention in Hindu mythological texts and are dedicated entirely to Hindu Gods. The land of Goa has many such hidden caves.
6 Must-Visit Caves In Goa
Detailed below are some of these hidden gems of Goa:
- Arvalem Caves: Arvalem Caves or popularly known as the Pandava Caves, are one of the oldest caves in Goa. Situated in the town of Bicholim, these rock cut caves were once home to the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu mythological text Mahabharata during their period of exile and are hence named after them. Geographically present in the northern part of Goa, the Arvalems comprise five compartments inside its premises giving strong evidence of the residence of Pandavas. Some theories also state it is proprietary to Buddhists because of the presence of a Buddha statue inside its premises. The caves are full of appealing edifices and mind blowing architecture. Carved out of Laterite stone, the caves attract visitors from all around the globe and are very popular among the masses. A temple of Lord Shiva known as the Rudreshwar temple and a waterfall are worth exploring in its vicinity. These caves are a perfect spot to explore the architectural masterpieces of nature.
- Lamgau Caves: Carved completely out of delicate Laterite, Lamgau Caves are a man-made masterpiece. One of the most popular caves in Goa, Lamgau caves are engulfed by palm trees all around it. There are actually two caves at this place and one of them has an amazing structure which resembles a pavilion. The ceilings, beams and even the entrance have all been carved with great concentration and dedication. The other cave has a rocky terrain and is larger than the first one. At the entrance of the cave, a small idol of Nandi is present and the inside of the cave is adorned with an idol of Lord Shiva and Tulsi. Located in Bicholim, these caves are a crucial attraction of Goa which is otherwise famous for its emerald beaches. The caves are located 25 km away from Panaji and you can either drive through Mapusa or trek through Lamgau to reach them. Another way to reach the caves is by using a jetty from Pigao village.
- Rivona Caves: Located in a tiny village of South Goa, the Rivona Caves are believed to be the creation of Buddhist monks during the 6th and 7th century. The caves are a part of the historical tour of Goa owing to their historical importance. These caves are also one of the most prominent examples of Buddhist influence in Goa. The presence of ‘pitha’ which is nothing but a seat for the teacher, a 16th century well at the entrance and an idol of Hindu God Hanuman affirms the fact that the caves might have served as a preaching hall for the people of that time. The architecture and the design of the cave is highly influenced by Buddhist art. The entrance of the caves is quite small in size but the interior of the cave is mesmerizing. Boasting of laterite carvings in its composition, the Rivonas are a major tourist spot in Goa.
- Khandepar Caves: Located on the bank of River Khandepar overlooking a jungle near the Khandepar village, the caves are a group of four ancient caves dating back to the 12th century. Discovered in the year 1970, two of the four caves are interconnected to each other whereas the other two are free standing. One is located at a little distance from the others while the last one is situated just opposite the first one. The caves resemble a similar pattern and are believed to be carved out of a single block. They follow the Shikhara style in the construction of its structure with the uppermost part carved out of laterite alone. Some of the main highlights of these caves are its wooden doors, lotus ceiling decoration and pegs carved out of laterite. The aesthetic architecture of the cave also resembles Buddhist art style and form. There is also the presence of a pedestal to hold a Shiva linga inside the courtyard of the last cave. These rock cut caves are located 36 km away from Panaji and attract a lot of visitors from all around the nation.
- Narve Caves: Located in Naroa in North Goa, the Narve Caves are simple yet intriguing in their design and construction. These caves have a garbhagriha which is the innermost room inside a Hindu or a Jain temple where the idol or the deity of the God is kept and even lingas belonging to the Chalukya period are found inside the premises. The upper part of these lingas contain writings in the Brahmi script and resemble a lion, a symbol of the Ashokan period. All this suggests that the cave was mostly used by Hindu dwellers. Constructed around the 6th century, the Narves make for an ideal spot for the lovers of nature.
- Warkhand Caves: Situated at the Konkan coast which is renowned for forming caves naturally and later made habitable by humans, the Warkhand Caves are a major attraction in Goa. The caves are located in a small village of North Goa bearing the same name, Warkhand and are the most important attraction of the village. Presence of a spring near its premises makes it even more beautiful from an exploration point of view. The appearance of wildlife is a common sight near these caves as the caves are present amidst a jungle. A lot of temples are also present in its vicinity which adds to the beauty of these caves. They are the perfect spot for the ones who want to explore and enjoy the natural and scenic beauty of these creations of Mother Earth.
These were some of the caves located in the state of Goa that you must plan to explore at least once in your lifetime when you visit Goa. They are perfect to quench your thirst of exploration and will leave you with an experience of a lifetime.
FAQs For Tourists Planning to Visit Caves in Goa
Q 1: How Is The Terrain Of These Caves Located In Goa? Is It Too Rocky And Uneven?
Ans: Constructed as a result of the process of carving, the terrain is rocky and uneven naturally but it is not rocky or uneven enough to prevent walking or exploration activities. You can easily walk and explore them by keeping your feet firmly on the ground.
Q 2: Are The Caves In Goa Safe To Visit and Explore?
Ans: Yes, the caves in Goa are all safe to visit and explore. Infact, all the safety measures and precautions are taken by the authorities in charge of them to ensure complete protection. Regular safety checkups are also done to become sure of the safety of the visitors.
Q3: What Are Some Of The Points To Keep In Mind While Visiting The Caves In Goa?
Ans: Some of the points to keep in mind during visiting the caves in Goa are:
- Try to wear running or trekking shoes during your visit.
- Keep necessary items like water bottles handy.
- Try not to interfere with the edifices present inside the caves.