One never tires of Goa! It’s a place where you keep returning and discover a new facet each time. The Arvalem Caves are one such facet. Not many are aware of these ancient caves that are centuries old and have been remarkably preserved. Even fewer know that this is Goa’s best-kept secret during the monsoon season.
Said to have been carved in the 6th Century, there are many legends surrounding the origin of these caves. One school of thought attributes them to the Buddhist Monks while the other points to a Brahmin origin.
The reason for this uncertainty of origin is the presence of both Buddhist and Brahmin elements in the caves. These caves have been carved out of a single laterite rock; an architectural technique associated with Buddhist viharas. Such rock-cut caves are found in Maharashtra and were carved by the monks to be used as shelters. Another discovery which strengthened this theory was the discovery of a Buddha head near the caves.
However, the presence of shivalingas in four of the caveshas many scholars convinced that these are Shaivite caves. The lingas bear inscriptions in Sanskrit which are similar in style to those found in the Bhoja period. The linga in the second cave reads “Sambalur Vasi Ravih”, which is ascribed to this period and more specifically to King Kapalivarman.
As per local legends, these five caves were carved by the Pandavas during their exile period. The mystery around the caves’ inception adds to the allure of these caves which are otherwise devoid of any designs or paintings on their walls.
Besides the caves, you may visit Rudreshwar temple and Arvalem Waterfalls which are located nearby. The Arvalem Falls is a peaceful place, amidst the lush jungle, minus the huge crowds associated with Goa. It is these picturesque falls that form the backdrop of the song “Hum bane, Tum bane” from the movie Ek Duje Ke Liye.
The stairs near the mouth of the falls will lead you to the Rudreshwar Temple. Mostly visited by the locals this temple sees an elaborate celebration during Shivaratri. The temple is said to have been built at the site of an ancient Shiva temple. Chat with the priest if you have time and he will narrate the mythical story of this temple in great detail!
Best Time To Visit
Goa is an all season destination. Each time of year has its own charm and unravels a different layer of its personality. The Arvalem Caves are most delightful during the monsoon period. The forest surrounding the caves is bathed in green and shining in full glory during the rains. The waterfall too is gushing and roaring, sight and sound that are hard to witness in the dry summer/winter months. Goa during the monsoon is a traveller’s delight and the Arvalem Caves is amongst the wonderful sights to see.
Located near the Bicholim Taluka, these caves are easily accessible by road. There is no public transport on this route so you will have to take your own car/bike or rely on private cabs.
Of course, if you stay at the Sterling Resorts Varca or Bardez, we would be happy to customize the entire experience for you and your family. The Caves are at a distance of 52 km and 32 km from Varca and Bardez respectively.
The caves are open to the public every day from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
Allow Sterling Resorts to add comfort and style to your Goa stay. With two excellent locations- Varca and Bardez- we ensure that you don’t miss out on any part of this beautiful State. Our well-appointed rooms and warm hospitality ensure that you get the best out of your vacation. And if you book now, we are also offering a 22% discount on stays till 31st August. Need more reasons to add Arvalem Caves and Sterling Goa Resorts to your next Goa itinerary?