The earliest civilized man is said to have made the caves his home, and though we have come a long way from the Stone and stick Age our fascination for caves and the myths associated with them has not subsided a bit. India, being the land of mysteries and spirituality, has a countless number of caves with fascinating legends and historical significance associated with them.
Some of the significant historical caves in India that you should definitely check out are:
1. Ajanta & Ellora Caves
Hardly needing any introduction, the famous Ajanta and Ellora Caves signify the pinnacle of Indian craftsmanship. The oldest caves in Ajanta date back to the 2nd century B.C. and most in Ellora were formed between 5th and 10th century A.D. The artwork here is a mix of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist cultures.
2. Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves
The Khandagiri and Udayagiri caves are famous with tourists and visitors because of their religious and historical significance. Jain monks are believed to have stayed here in the past and one can find many sculptures and artwork to validate this belief. These ancient caves are a short distance away from the capital of Orissa, thus being easily accessible for visitors.
3. Badami Cave
The 6th century Badami Caves are exceptionally famous and a popular tourist destination in Karnataka. The caves are set in a picturesque location, right at the mouth of a green ravine, and the Hindu and Jain temples built inside are a perfect combination of North and South Indian styles of architecture.
4. Bhimbetka Rock Shelters
Possibly the oldest caves in the Indian subcontinent, The Bhimbetka Rock Shelters are a group of almost 700 caves dating back to anywhere between 100,000 to 30,000 years ago. The name translates to "sitting place of Bhima" as it is believed the Pandavas rested here for a while. The paintings here depict the life events of humans in the early Stone Age.
5. Elephanta Caves
One of the most popular caves in India, the Elephanta Cave is located on an island and can be approached by a ferry. There are seven caves here dedicated to Hindu and Buddhist religions. These caves have wonderful carvings and sculptures cut out from a single rock dating back to the 5th century A.D.
6. Belum Caves
Said to be the second longest cave in India, the Belum Caves extend to almost 4 kilometers in length and are made up of Black Limestone. Currently, only around 1.5 kilometer of the cave is open to tourists but is sufficient for viewing and comprehending the splendor of the cave.