On the flip side of Goa's beaches stand the compartmentalised caves that deserve your attention!
Like any other place, Goa has been popularised by its stereotypes as the land of beaches but if you look keenly, there is so much more in addition to the sunny coastline here. On the flipside of booze-thrills and chill scenes that usually define Goa, stands the glorious and historically significant Harvalem Caves with lush waterfalls in the vicinity that will take you closer to the culture, beauty, nature and wonders of this state, that are otherwise left unexplored.
Located near Bicholim and Sequelim towns in North Goa, this place has a few attractions which will keep you occupied for a day, offering you a unique blend of adventure in the stills of nature!
The Culture fusion at Harvalem Caves
Harvalem Caves, also known as Arvalem Caves or Pandava Caves are a part of Goa's culture, one that testifies its deep roots and connections to Buddhists, the protagonists of Mahabharat, its association with nature and much more. Unscathed through the test of times, natural calamities, wars and invasions, this place offers a preview of the sunshine state's culture, which is a beautiful statement of acculturation.
Chronocolising Goa's link to Mahabharat's Panadavs who were believed to have taken refuge here during their exile, this place has excavated several shreds of evidence. This is a simple structure of large laterite rock, carved in six compartments, which are popularly believed to belong to the five brothers and their wife, Queen Draupadi. While five chambers have raised shivlings, one chamber believed to be Draupadi's, is empty and has a raised platform, which was probably used for cooking.
While legend also has that these might be caves of the Buddhist monks, given a Buddha idol nearby, one of the walls of the chamber also has inscriptions linked to the 13th Century.
The Temple waterfalls
Not very far from the caves, stands the Temple of Lord Rudeshwar which leads to the beauty of a cascading waterfall. The locals here suggest visiting this place in monsoon when the water flow here is at its prime and the lush green cover is washed in the dewy hue of moisture. About 70 feet tall, the waterfall mouths a wild plunge and drops to a small pool or lake, which is a treat for photographers!
A popular picnic spot, this place has guard railings and benches which let visitors enjoy the splash of cool water and intake the magnificent and calming view of the lush meadows around.
Though you can visit this place throughout the year, given its balmy and blissful weather, lush green covers and its location which is not that far from the township, monsoon is THE recommended period to set exploring here! Be cautious though, monsoon here can be pretty temperamental and these tips can come handy for you:
- Carry an umbrella, a jacket, raincoats or rubber boots to save yourself from the unexpected showers. Wear comfortable sneakers as scaling the unexplored terrains can exhaust you.
- Carry water guards for your camera and mosquito repellants for yourself!
- Make sure you take extra caution if you are travelling with kids or elderly as the shifting land here can make it slightly dangerous.
- The caves are open all day long from 9 AM to 5 PM, except for an hour between 1 PM to 2 PM.