Borra Caves – Where Gods reside Below the Ground

India is home to legends dating back many centuries. However, one such chapter is about the Borra Caves also known as Borra Guhalu. You can find these caves on the East coast of India, in the Ananthagiri hills of the Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Borra caves are considered to be the deepest in India. This underground phenomena’s origin has been surrounded by many stories.  If you are someone who is fascinated by places full of mystery, then exploring the deepest caves in India can be your shot at finding more about India’s past.

A cave of Karstic Limestone structures

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The local name for Borra Caves is Borra Guhalu. Borra in Odia language translates to hole and Guhalu in Telugu means caves. The caves are basically Karstic limestone structures that have a depth of 260 ft. It was re-discovered in 1807, by William King George of the Geological Survey of India.

If you have a curious mind, you will be excited to know that the caves are at an elevation of 2,313 ft. Gosthani River originates from here and powers Visakhapatnam. The river finally flows out into the Bay of Bengal. Borra Caves are also famous for its oddly shaped and breath-taking stalactites (formation hangs from the ceiling of the caves) and stalagmites (rock formation rises from the floor of the cave).

It is the only cave dating back to the middle Paleolithic culture. Reading extensively about this place will inform you that stone tools as old as 30,000-50,000 years were unearthed here. This discovery confirmed that humans resided here in early times.

Lord Shiva’s humble abode

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A few tribals with their superstitious belief have an interesting take on the origin story of the caves. In their story, a cow fell down around 60 m through a hole in the roof while grazing on top of the caves. While searching for the cow, its owners came across the Borra Caves.

The cowherd then came across a stone figure that looked similar to a Shiv Lingam. According to them, it was Lord Shiva who protected the cow. Since the story has cemented its “religious” authenticity, a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva has been constructed right outside the cave.

Another myth is that a Shiv Lingam on top of which there is a stone structure of a cow is found deep inside the caves. It is said that the udder of this stone cow is the source of the Gosthani River.

The stalactites and stalagmites structures in the caves oddly represent Shiva-Parvati, Rishi’s beard, temple, mushrooms etc.

Home to unique species of Fauna

Source: Pixabay

Tourists will observe that bats are the predominant species in these caves. They will also come across the Golden gecko(lizard). The type of bat found over here is the fulvous fruit bat, a species generally found in big dark caves, old buildings and forts. They feed on flowers and fruit, specially- mango, silk and cotton.

How to reach

The closest city is Visakhapatnam. Its airport is connected by all major flight routes. You can book a taxi or hire a self-drive car to embark on this hilly journey.

Distance: 83.5 km
Time: 2.5-3 hours

Another option is via train from Visakhapatnam which will pass through the Eastern Ghats. You will need to de-board at Borra Guhalu Railway Station.

Distance: Over 100 km
Time: 3 hours

If you wish to take the long road and travel from Bhubaneshwar then the fastest route will be via NH16.

Distance: 451 km
Time: 9.5 hours

Hyderabad is also an option but it is quite far away. It is only feasible if you are traveling from there. The most suitable route is via NH65 and NH16.

Distance: 697 km
Time: 13.5-14 hours

Best time to visit

According to the Vizag tourism department, entry to the cave is open on all days from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.  The cost of the entry ticket is less than INR 100. However, you will have to shell out money if you plan to taken in a video or a digital camera.

The best time to visit is between November and December.

Note: The cave is only lighted by a couple of Halogen lamps. So, you need to be careful while exploring the parts that are open to the public.

Curated by Ruchit Rastogi

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