When you see the area from outside, you can’t believe there are deep caves right below you ! Everything seems quite and dry until you purchase your entry tickets and proceed to the mouth of the caves. it was simply awesome. There are three entry points to the cave and this is the one opened for public.
After descending through few staircases you will reach the main chamber. Just look up and there is a half elliptical patch of clear soothing blue sky. But still we didn’t know a monster is waiting for us; they call it humidity. ‘Lose 2kg in 2 hours!’ yes the best advertisement of the cave came from a fellow mate .
There are different ornamental formations on the wall of main chamber, created by deposition of mineralized solution through years. Along with the formations there are deep scratches and pit holes visible on the cave wall, created by the flow of water. After the main chamber there is the Dhyan Mandir, a hall with single entrance and exit.
Belum Caves are geologically and historically important caves. There are indications that Jains and Buddhists monks occupied these caves centuries ago. Many Buddhists relics were found inside the caves. These relics are now housed in Museum at Ananthapur.
Places In Belum Caves
- pillidwaram — pillidwaram means cats gate. It is a natural arch of stalactites formed in the shape of a lion’s head;
- Kotilingalu Chamber – This section contains stalactite formations which are akin to shiva lingams. This section has thousands of such stalactite giving it a surrealistic look. It has one huge pillar formed due to stalactite and stalagmite joining together.
- Patalaganga – It is a small perennial stream which disappears into the depths of the earth. This stream flows from the southeast to northwest. It disappears and is believed to be heading towards a well at the Belum village, located 2 km away from the caves.
- Saptasvarala Guha or Musical Chamber – Saptasvarala Guha means chamber of seven notes. The stalactite formations in this chamber reproduce musical sounds when these are struck with a wooden stick or knuckles.
- Dhyan Mandir or Meditation Hall – This section is near to the entrance. An interesting formation at Meditation hall looks like a bed with pillow to recline. The local legend has it that in ancient times many sages used to live here. This section was used by Buddhist Monks. Many relics of Buddhist period were found here which are now housed in museum at Ananthapur.
- Thousand Hoods – This section has amazing stalactite formations shaped like hood of Cobra. The stalactite formations on the ceiling looks as if thousands of cobras have opened their hoods.
- Banyan Tree Hall – This section has a huge pillar with stalactites hanging from the ceiling. This gives a look of Banyan Tree with its aerial roots when seen from below. The locals call it “Voodalamari” since it looks like a Banyan Tree with its aerial roots hanging from the branches.
- Mandapam – This is a huge area inside the cave with magnificent stalactite structures on the sides giving it a look of a hall with pillars.
None of the pictures in google nor did the blogs i read on the net seemed to have captured their real beauty .