The word Goa gives everyone the images of beaches, hills, party and just everything we wish for in a vacation. This beautiful state is located on the Western coast of India and is a perfect holiday destination. Apart from the beaches, Goa is also well-known for housing relics of almost 300-year old Portuguese architecture.
The state is filled with restaurants that sell delicious seafood. All the beaches and hills offer great spots for trekking and hiking. All of these factors make Goa a place for people with all kinds of interests. It is a haven for the nature lovers, history enthusiasts, adventure seekers and even a foodie!
Everybody knows the popular bits of Goa. But have you ever explored any cave in Goa? Fret not because Arvalem Caves is the place to be! Nestled in the laps of mother nature, Arvalem Caves is located in the Sanquelim village in North Goa which is about 31 km from Panaji. The caves are excavated from red laterite hill and date back to the 6th century.
All About The Intriguing Arvalem Caves
It is also known as the "Pandava Caves". This is because it is believed that the Pandava brothers - Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva - from the epic of Mahabharatha lived here during their 12 years of exile! The caves have five separate compartments, which is why this story gets more leverage.
Out of the five compartments, 3 of them have a shrine with the middle one comprising the main shrine of a shivalinga. Due to which some believe that the caves have a Hindu origin. However, some scholars speculate that the Caves have a Buddhist origin, since excavations made nearby revealed a large statue of Mahaveer Gautama Buddha which dates back to the 4th century.
PC: Kavya Rastogi
The excavated Buddha statue can be now witnessed in the Goa museum. It is also called as the "Harvalem Caves" by the locals. With the vihara at the south and sanctuary at the north, the structure of the caves seem very much to be in the style of a classic Buddhist rock cave. People believe that some travelling Buddhist monks carved the entire cave out of a single laterite stone. In the second compartment of the cave, there is an inscription of Sanskrit and Brahmi language dating back to the 7th century.
The natural beauty of Arvalem caves has drawn many movie shoots to this location. Apart from that, it is also a popular spot for picnic amongst the visitors.
Goa is gifted with an abundance of natural beauty. The Arvalem waterfalls are one of them. Located just about 1.5 km from the caves is the mystical Arvalem Falls. It gushes out in an undomesticated plunge from a height of 70 ft. The magnificent fall forms a pool or a lake, which is a beloved spot for swimmers.
It is also a popular picnic spot among the visitors. The Rudreshwar Temple situated nearby is usually visited by tourists or visitors who come to witness the picturesque fall.
Best Time To Visit Arvalem Caves and Waterfalls
The Arvalem Caves can be visited at any time of the year since the climate is balmy and blissful throughout the year. However, monsoon is the perfect time to visit the Arvalem Waterfalls, so that you can see the fall gushing out water in all its glory!
The cave is open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm, with a break of one hour between 1 pm to 2 pm in the afternoon. It is open on all days of the week. The Arvalem Falls is open from 9 am to 6 pm on all days of the week as well.
How To Reach The Arvalem Caves And Waterfalls
By Air: Dabolim International Airport located 40.5 km from Sanquelim is the closest airport. It is well-connected to many major cities of India such as Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, etc. From here, taxis can be hired or buses are available to the caves.
By Train: Dabolim Railway Station is the closest, main railhead, located at 40 km from Sanquelim. This station connects to major cities like Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore etc. Buses and cars can be taken from here.
By Road: Interstate buses are available from Panjim to Sanquelim. Rental cabs can be hired from Sanquelim for the caves and falls. Sanquelim is well-connected to Panjim, which is connected to its neighbouring cities.