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20 ROCK CUT CAVE TEMPLES OF INDIA
The idea of constructing living space by carving out rock faces is said to have originated in Central Asia. Chinese Buddhist monks used this idea to carve out Buddhist temples where the monks could live and pray. Earliest Buddhist cave temples in Dunhuang were begun in 366; at Bingling and Maijishan in the early fifth century; at Yungang in 460; at Longmen and Gongxian in the early sixth century.
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In India there are innumerable rock cut caves. Among them, many rock caves of the ancient era are revered and are places of worship. These Cave Temples are infused with paintings, frescoes and sculptures which makes them interesting places to visit and learn more about the time, customs and practices that prevailed then.
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Common features of Cave Temples
Most of the caves are circular or oblong in plan. The ceiling is dome shaped. Some of them have pillars that rise up to the ceiling, some have just a raised platform in the centre. In some caves the ceilings have an opening. Most of the cave temples are decorated with sculpted figures and paintings.20 CAVE TEMPLES OF INDIA
Here are 20 cave temples of India, some well known, some little lesser known. This is not a complete list, there are more cave temples scattered in different parts of India. Let me know in the comment box how many you have seen among these 20 cave temples of India.
𝐀𝐣𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐚 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐌𝐚𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐭𝐫𝐚
Ajanta Caves are a set of 32 Buddhist caves located in the picturesque valley of the Waghur River near Aurangabad, Maharashtra. These cave temples date from the 2nd century B.C.E. to 650 C.E. The caves were discovered by chance by John Smith, a member of a British hunting party, in 1819 CE. The Ajanta Caves have been included in UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1983.
Ajanta Caves Fact File
Highlight – Ajanta Caves paintings, many still glowing with their original colours.
How to reach – Nearest Airport – Aurangabad airport, distance of 5.5 km
Nearest railway station – Jalgaon city, about 60 km away
Tickets – 40 INR for Indian and 600 INR for foreign tourists
Timings – 6 AM to 5.30 PM
Best time to visit – during winters. Summers are unbearably hot.
Further reading – Ajanta Caves paintings in Aurangabad
@mysoretusker 𝐄𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐚 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐌𝐚𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐭𝐫𝐚 The Ellora Caves along with the Ajanta Caves mentioned above are some of the most beautiful cave temples in India. The fact that these two have the UNESCO tag makes them more special. One can spend around 4 to 5 hours to see all caves excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri Hills. Locally known as ‘Verul Leni’. Ellora Caves Fact File Highlight – Cluster of 34 cave temples of three religions, Hindus, Buddhists and Jains How to reach – Nearest Airport -Aurangabad Airport, 27 km from Aurangabad city Nearest railway station – Aurangabad Railway Station is 28 km away Tickets – 30 INR for Indian tourists; 500 INR for Foreign tourists; 25 INR for Video Camera; 30 INR Parking fee for Car. Timings – Open from 8 AM to 6 PM. Timing can vary according to seasons Best time to visit – Visit during winters. Summers are unbearably hot.
@kevinstandage1 𝐀𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐛𝐚𝐝 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐌𝐚𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐭𝐫𝐚 Aurangabad caves too are not natural caves, but were carved out of mountains with primitive tools by Buddhists monks residing there then. These twelve rock-cut Buddhist shrines are located around 20 km north-west of Aurangabad. They date back to the 6th and the 8th centuries. Aurangabad Caves Fact File Highlight – Interesting archaeological site How to reach – Nearest Airport – Aurangabad Airport, at a distance of 14.2 km. Nearest railway station – Aurangabad Railway Station, distance is 8 to 9 km. Tickets – 10 INR for Indians and 100 INR for foreign tourists Timings – Open from 9 AM to 5 PM. Best time to visit – During winters.
@mh20_diaries_official 𝐊𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐚 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐌𝐚𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐭𝐫𝐚 Though it is included in the cluster of Ellora Caves, Kailasa Temple deserves a special mention for its unique features. It is the largest cave temple in India, the ceiling is open with a raised platform and temple in the centre. Kailasa Cave Temple Fact File Highlight – about 2,00,000 tonnes of rock was removed to give shape to it! How to reach – Nearest Airport -Aurangabad Airport, 27 km from Aurangabad city Nearest railway station – Aurangabad Railway Station is 28 km away Tickets – 30 INR for Indian tourists; 500 INR for Foreign tourists; 25 INR for Video Camera; 30 INR Parking fee for Car. Timings – Open from 8 AM to 6 PM. Timing can vary according to seasons Best time to visit – When you visit Ellora Caves try and visit this first, in the mornings when the crowd is less. 𝐄𝐥𝐞𝐩𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐚 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐌𝐚𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐭𝐫𝐚 Elephanta Caves have a special place in my heart because this is the first cave temple I visited in my life way back in the nineties, in the analog days. These caves are located on an island off the coast of Mumbai, are a magnificent example of Indian rock art and architecture dedicated to Bhagwan Shiva. The first sight of Panchamukhi Shiva is clearly etched in my mind even today. The caves got UNESCO World Heritage Site status in the year 1987. Elephanta Caves Fact File Highlight – Two days Elephanta Music Festival in January How to reach – Nearest Airport – Mumbai Nearest ferry point – from the Gateway of India, you have to hire a ferry to reach Elephanta Caves. Tickets – 40 INR for Indians and 6000 INR for foreigners. Timings – Open on all days 6 AM to 6 PM. Best time to visit – Avoid rainy season 𝐀𝐫𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐦 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐆𝐨𝐚 These ancient rock cut caves give us a glimpse of tales from Hindu Religious stories. These caves, also known by the name Pandava Caves, date back to the 6th century. Other caves in Goa are Rivona Cave, Narve Cave, Lamgao Cave, Netravali Cave, and Khandepar Cave. Arvalem Caves Fact File Highlight – carved out of a single laterite rock by Buddhist monks How to reach – Nearest Airport – Panjim, Goa Nearest railway station – 9 km from Bicholim, North Goa Tickets – Free sight. The caves have grilled doors, you cannot enter, you have to see them from outside. Timings – 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM Best time to visit – All through the year
@travelingvirtually 𝐔𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐫𝐢 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐕𝐢𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐚 𝐌𝐚𝐝𝐡𝐲𝐚 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐡 The Udayagiri Caves are a group of 20 rock-cut caves located near Vidisha from the early years of the 5th century CE. They contain some of the oldest surviving Hindu temples and iconography, dedicated to Bhagwan Vishnu and Shiva, in India. Udayagiri Caves Vidisha Fact File Highlight – group of 20 Gupta-era temples and monasteries How to reach – Nearest Airport – Bhopal, distance is 58 km Nearest railway station – 4 km from town of Vidisha Tickets – 15 INR for Indian and 200 INR for foreign tourists. Separate Video Camera charges 25 INR Timings – Open from 9 AM to 6 PM. Best time to visit – Avoid peak summer months April and May. 𝐔𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐢 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐆𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐮𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐀𝐧𝐝𝐡𝐫𝐚 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐡 Undavalli Caves were sculpted sometime in 4th and 5th century CE during the reign of Vishnu Kundina kings. The main cave is one of the earliest examples of Gupta architecture, primarily primitive rock-cut monastery cells carved into the sandstone hills. This is one of the must visit places if you are in Vijayawada. Undavalli Caves Guntur Fact File Highlight – a four-storeyed temple, the tallest in this list of 20 Cave Temples of India. How to reach – Nearest Airport – Vijayawada Airport Nearest railway station – Vijayawada Junction railway station Tickets – 20 INR for Indian and 250 INR for foreign tourists Timings – Open from 9 AM to 5.30 PM. Best time to visit – All through the year.
@secret_temples 𝐀𝐢𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐁𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐨𝐭 𝐊𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐚 Ravana Phadi cave – Ravana Phadi is one of the oldest rock-cut cave temples in Aihole, located less than a kilometre uphill, northeast from the Durga temple. Aihole Fact File Highlight – the carving of Bhringi, a malnourished man praying to Lord Shiva How to reach – Nearest Airport – Goa International Airport 230 kms from Aihole Nearest railway station – Bagalkot, 34 km away Tickets – No tickets required Timings – Open on all days Best time to visit – All through the year 𝐁𝐚𝐝𝐚𝐦𝐢 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐊𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐚 These magnificent examples of Indian rock cut architecture, the Badami caves construction dates back to 540 AD. It was under the reign of the Chalukya dynasty. Badami Fact File Highlight – caves here are dedicated to three different religions How to reach – Nearest Airport – Goa International Airport 277 km from Badami Nearest railway station – Bagalkot, 34 km away Tickets – 20 INR for Indian and 250 INR for foreign tourists Timings – Open from 6 AM to 6 PM Best time to visit – All through the year.
@beautyof_karnataka 𝐆𝐚𝐯𝐢 𝐆𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐝𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐡𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐚 𝐓𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐁𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐊𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐚 The name translates to the Cave of Ishwara (God) who adorns the Ganga. It is also called the Gavipuram Cave Temple. Built in 16th century AD by the founder of Bengaluru, Kempegowda. The temple is famous for its monolithic pillars and structures in its courtyard. Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple Fact File Highlight – auspicious occasion of Makara Sankranti, when sun’s rays fall on the lingam inside the cave shrine. How to reach – Nearest Airport – Kempegowda International airport Nearest railway station – Majestic Railway Station, Bengaluru Tickets – No tickets required Timings – 7 AM to 12.30 PM, 5 PM to 8.30 PM. Best time to visit – All through the year 𝐇𝐮𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐯𝐮 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐓𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐁𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐊𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐚 Small and lesser known, yet I find it worthy to add to this list of 20 rock-cut Cave Temples of India. This cave has a shrine dedicated to Bhagwan Shiva. The height of the space inside the cave is 6 ft. at one end to as low as 4 ft. in the extreme end. One can sit inside and meditate. Hulimavu Cave Temple Fact File Highlight – place of jeeva samadhi for Sri Ramanand Swamiji How to reach – Nearest Airport – Kempegowda International airport Nearest railway station – Majestic Railway Station, Bengaluru Tickets – No tickets required Timings – Open every day, 6 AM to 12.30 PM and 5 PM to 7.30 PM. Best time to visit – All through the year 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐓𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐌𝐚𝐡𝐚𝐛𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐦 𝐢𝐧 𝐓𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥 𝐍𝐚𝐝𝐮 This too is a UNESCO site, admired worldwide for its stunningly intricate rock-cut temples. Built by the Pallava rulers in the 7th century, only eleven of them exist today. Among them Varaha Cave temple is regarded to be one of the greatest examples of Pallava art. There are many other cave temples scattered in different locations of Mahabalipuram. Cave Temples of Mahabalipuram Fact File Highlight – Exposed to vagaries of nature, they are eroding away at a fast rate. How to reach – Nearest Airport – Chennai, distance is 57.4 km Nearest railway station – Chengalpattu, it is located 29 km away. Tickets – No tickets required. Timings – Open on all days. Best time to visit – Avoid peak summer season from April to early June. 𝐊𝐚𝐫𝐩𝐮𝐤𝐚 𝐕𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐲𝐚𝐤𝐚 𝐓𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐓𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥 𝐍𝐚𝐝𝐮 Karpaga Vinayagar Kovil is one of the oldest Cave Temples (Rock Cut) temples of Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Bhagwan Vinayaka (another name for Ganesha). Vinayaka satisfies the wishes of his devotees like Karpagam tree, he is also known as “Karpaga Vinayagar”. Pillayarpatti is situated at a distance of 71 km from Madurai. Karpuka Vinayaka Temple Fact File Highlight – Vinayaga Chathurthi celebrated during the Avani month in lunar calendar, that is in August or September every year is the most auspicious occasion in this temple. How to reach – Nearest Airport – Trichy at a distance of 73 km. Nearest railway station – Pudukkottai which is at a distance of 32 km Tickets – No tickets required Timings – 6 AM to 1 PM and 4 PM to 8.15 PM. Best time to visit – All throughout the year. 𝐒𝐢𝐲𝐨𝐭 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐊𝐮𝐭𝐜𝐡 𝐢𝐧 𝐆𝐮𝐣𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐭 The Siyot Caves, also known as Kateshwar Buddhist Caves, are five rock-cut caves located near Siyot village in the Lakhpat Taluka of Kutch. The caves are believed to belong to the first century AD. You can stay in Dhordo Tent city, 82.7 km east in Rann of Kutch. Siyot Caves Fact File Highlight – Assumed to be part of 80 Buddhist caves located near the mouth of the Indus river as reported by Xuanzang in the 7th century. How to reach – Nearest Airport – Bhuj Airport, 4 km away Nearest railway station – Bhuj Railway Station Tickets – Free sight Timings – Open 9 AM to 5 PM. Best time to visit – Avoid the peak summer months April to June.
@varunpanchal_ 𝐁𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐚𝐫 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐁𝐢𝐡𝐚𝐫 Coming to the end of this list of 20 Cave Temples of India Barabar Caves deserve a mention for being the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India, dating from the Maurya Empire (322 – 185 BCE). The cluster of four caves, namely Karan Chaupar, Lomas Rishi, Sudama and Visvakarma, together form the Barabar Caves. They were constructed by emperor Ashoka for the use of Ajivaka ascetics. Located around 40 km from Bodh Gaya, in Bihar, India. Barabar Caves Fact File Highlight – the insides of the caves are so highly polished as to gleam like mirrors. How to reach – Nearest Airport – Patna, at a distance of 49.5 km. Nearest railway station – Jehanabad Tickets – Free sight Timings – Open on all days for 24 hours. Best time to visit – Avoid peak summer months
@jpsingh_99
@jpsingh_99 𝐏𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐁𝐡𝐮𝐯𝐚𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐡𝐰𝐚𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐔𝐭𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐤𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝 Patal Bhuvaneshwar is a limestone cave temple 14 km from Gangolihat in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand state. Patal Bhubaneshwar translates to ‘subterranean shrine of Bhagwan Shiva’. It is an underground ancient shrine located 14 km from Gangolihat, about 91 km from Pithoragarh. The way to the temple is through a tunnel which leads into a cave and through a narrow dark passage of water. Patal Bhuvaneshwar Fact File Highlight – you can see the tongue of Kali Bhairav, hairs of Bhagwan Shiva and other wonders formed on the rocks in Patal Bhuvneshwar cave. How to reach – Nearest Airport – 90 km from Naini Saini Airport Nearest railway station – 270 km from Kathgodam Station Tickets – Free sight Timings – winter : 8 AM to 5 PM and Summer : 7 AM to 6 PM. Open and Close timing will vary during the festival time. Best time to visit – from April to June and from mid September to October end.
@_shotsbyshravya 𝐀𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐡 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐓𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐊𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐦𝐢𝐫 Amarnath Cave is one among the holiest 20 cave temples of India for Hindu pilgrims. The ice pillar present inside the cave is also called ice lingam, the phallic symbol of Bhagwan Shiva. Two smaller ice stalagmites represent Parvati, his wife, and Ganesha, his son. The cave temple is open only in the months of July and August when most of the ice around has melted and access is easy. Amarnath Cave Fact File Highlight – phallic symbol of Bhagwan Shiva formed in ice How to reach – Nearest Airport – Srinagar Airport is the nearest airport to Amarnath You can also reach Amarnath Temple via a helicopter ride Nearest railway station – Jammu is the nearest Railway Station. Tickets – No tickets, but you have to bear the various expenses depending on your mode of transport. Timings – 6 AM to 6 PM. Best time to visit – May to June. 𝐀𝐫𝐝𝐡 𝐊𝐮𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐢 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐕𝐚𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐧𝐨 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐢 𝐓𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐊𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐦𝐢𝐫 The natural cave is opened for pilgrims after Makar Sankranti amid chanting of Vedic ‘mantras’ and a number of other rituals.The ArdhKuwari Gufa is one of the few pit stops on your way to pay respects to the Vaishno Devi Shrine in Kashmir. The cave is located almost half way on the hike to the Mata Vaishno Devi Temple. It is also known as Garbajoon Cave. Legend has it that Ma Vaishnodevi took shelter in this cave while meditating for nine months. This is the place where Ma Vaishnodevi beheaded Bhairavnarth in the form of Mahakali. It is believed that Durga hid herself from Bhairavnath for close to nine months in this cave and that when he finally found her, Vaishno Devi made a new opening to the cave with her trident. Ardh Kuwari Cave Fact File Highlight – One has to crawl on his/her knees to reach the other side of the Ardhkuwari cave. How to reach – Nearest Airport – Jammu, around 50 km from Katra. Nearest railway station – Jammu Tickets – No tickets required Timings – there are 2 slots for aarti, morning 5 AM and evening 6 PM Best time to visit – March to October Further reading – Ardhkuwari Gufa, Vaishno Devi
@ovotrips
@ovotrips 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐫 𝐂𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐇𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐥 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐡 The Masroor Temples are a complex of 15 monolithic rock-cut cave temples and the only caves in this list of 20 rock cut cave temples of India dedicated to Bhagwan Rama, Lakshmana and Sita Mata. These caves are considered as Ellora of Himachal and also as Himalayan Pyramids. They are believed to have been first built by Pandavas while they were travelling through these mountains. Masroor Caves Fact File Highlight – Even the damaged sculptures speak eloquently about the skills of artists who lived then. How to reach – Nearest Airport – Dharamshala (Gaggal) 15 km away Nearest railway station – Nagrota Surian Tickets – 25 INR for Indian and 300 INR for foreign tourists Timings – 6 AM to 6 PM Best time to visit – All through the year. Cre: isharethese

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