The Flight of Gods 27. Aravalem Caves

The Flight of Gods

by Mohan Pai
Rock-cut Cave Temple

Aravalem Rock-cut caves – photo by Mohan Pai

The village of Aravalem is close to Sancolem in Bicholim taluk. The caves here were probably excavated in a laterite hillock by the Bhoja rulers in the sixth century AD.
Carved Lingas – photo by Mohan Pai
There are six cells resembling cubicles. Inside the caves are four carved lingas set into square rock-cut bases. These caves have long been thought to be of Buddhist origin, with the lingas installed after the decline of Buddhism – but this is not altogether certain and they may have been Brahminical caves from the start.
The local name for these caves is ‘Pandava Caves’ associated with the five Pandava brothers.
There is a small rivulet that flows in front of the caves. Aravalem waterfall and Sri Rudreshwar Temple is close by.
Aravalem waterfall – photo by Mohan Pai

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