Located near Araku Valley in Vizag or Vishakhapatnam, Borra Caves In India are home to legends dating back many centuries. One such chapter speaks of the Borra Caves also known as Borra Guhalu.
The Araku Valley 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
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 their 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.
Borra Caves – History
A few tribals with their superstitious belief have an interesting take on the origin story of the Borra 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.
You are in luck if you visit the caves during Shivratri. Tourists can enter the caves free of cost. One can also see the nearby tribal communities coming here to worship their god.
Borra Caves Wildlife
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 in Araku Valley Borra Caves is the fulvous fruit bat, a species generally found in big dark caves, old buildings, and forts. They feed on flowers and fruit, especially- mango, silk, and cotton.
How to Reach Borra Caves
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 is open on all days and Borra Caves timings are 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 take in a video or a digital camera.
The best time to visit and know about Borra Caves History is between November and December.
Things to Remember
- 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.
- There are three levels to the caves and only the middle level is open to the public in order to ensure their safety.
- If you do have time on your hands, visit the Kartiki waterfalls for an adventurous experience.
- The waterfall is seasonal and you may have to check if it is the right time to visit the offbeat tourist attraction.
Curated by Ruchit Rastogi