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Caves of Goa

The recent archaeological discoveries have proved the existence of ancient  settlements in Goa, that flourished in the primitive caves of Goa. Classified as natural and man-made, the caves of Goa are fast catching attractions of the history lovers around the world.

Till now, if records are anything to go by, a total of 25 man-made caves has been discovered in Goa and are spread across 9 districts of the western Indian state. Along with that, there are several natural caves that have been found in Goa. A large chunk of these caves shows that they were built with the motive of religious practices and only a few were carved out as residents.

Natural Caves in Goa :

The largest natural cave in Goa is situated in Verna that is expansive enough to house more than 1200 people at once. The Buddhist caves at Rivona is another natural cave complex in Goa and the ‘Pitha’ inside the cave, carved out of laterite, is speculated to have served as the seat of their Guru.

Man-made Caves in Goa:

Among the ancient man-made caves in Goa, the rock-cut caves of Arvalem dates back to the 5th and 6th century A.D. and have their mention in the mythological tales of the Mahabharata. Also known as the ‘Pandavas Caves’, these caves are associated with the heroes of the Mahabharata war who believed to have sought shelter in these caves during their period of exile.

Besides this mythological tale, there are people who believe that Arvalem cave complex has been carved out by the Buddhist monks on the move. Alike Buddhist caves at Rivona, these caves too were carved out of laterite stone, featuring a Vihara in the southern end and a sanctuary in the northern end.

Then there are rock-cut caves of Lamgau dedicated to the Hindu deities. In one of the caves, you will find a shiv linga made up of stone along with a tulsi Vrindavan and the sculpture of a Nandi bull in the patio. There is another cave, which is larger and profound, most likely used as a refuge against the monsoon.

Some of the most famous caves in Goa are located at:

  • Lamgao
  • Narve
  • Warkhand
  • Arvalem
  • Mallanguini
  • Sanguem
  • Shigaon
  • Rivona
  • Usgao
  • Curdi
  • Aquem