Once we were done absorbing the might of man-made enclosures, we didn’t stop but instead set on a new journey to catch a glimpse of nature-crafted underground expanse -that’s exactly what Belum Caves are. Located at a distance of 60 KM from Gandikota fort (Had blogged about it here:GandiKota Fort), these caves are supposed to be an abode to Buddhist monks as evident from the huge Buddha statue in front of the Belum Caves engraving. The zoom didn’t work but believe me, the statue is indeed huge.
The cave timings are from 10.00 -5.00 and due to RD’s constant bickering, we were here exactly at 10.00 A.M and yes the first ones to enter the caves from here:
This entrance had been made by ASI. The actual looks like this: I wonder how sages and monks entered this cave.
Once inside, you need some time to get acclimatized. Its really hot and humid.
There were two information boards and am really grateful to ASI for same.
From nowhere a guide popped up and we hired him immediately. I always prefer hiring a guide as they transfer useful information at real-time. This guy could speak Hindi/English and was very humble too. I liked him instantly.
The cave has ample artificial lights which give a golden hue to an erstwhile dark space.
There are air shafts at strategic places, which let you breathe for a while. However, if not for the guide we would have been unaware of their occurrence. Wonder, how others manage?
There are certain areas marked with their purpose. For e.g
A place 120 ft below sea-level and receiver of natural water, which I really really doubt.
This is the deepest cave point. Rest of the cave is 50 ft below sea-level. The entire cave is 3.5 km long of which only 1.5 km had been made accessible to tourists. The rest might be used by government to hold prisoners – who knows. The cave goes pitch dark in case of power failure. We experienced it twice and I had never seen such empty darkness in my life.
Since we visited this soon after rain spells, water had seeped in and we had to paddle at places. Imagine you are stuck inside and it starts pouring – I can’t swim as well.
All these got me thinking how could people meditate here, it was not even fit for a decent living.. well was told that earth was not so hot back then and these so called people wore bare minimum clothes and had bare minimum necessities for a decent living.
Apart from well-defined area, there were sculptures left to your imagination:
The highlighted area is supposedly an image of Sai Baba
Pillar formation due to sediment deposition over thousand of years.
This image shows the vastness of the cave.
But let it not fool you. There are places where you need to crawl for at least half a minute to understand the perils of being in a medication arena.
These caves are the second largest in India, very well maintained with adequate humane facilities, but less advertised and less frequented.
Through this blog, if I can encourage at least some of you to visit this archaeological site and appreciate Indian heritage, I would consider my effort worthwhile. As for me, I can only thank RD for introducing me to my first ever cave expedition.