Belum caves - Andhra Pradesh
Belum caves are one of the most fascinating tourist spot in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. This historical cave is the longest cave system in India next to Krem Liat Prah in Meghalaya. These caves are adorned with unique formations such as stalactite and stalagmite formations, which adds enchanting beauty to the caves. The caves were formed over a period of millions of years with the constant formation of limestone.
The cave is 3,229 km long and 46 m deep. A certain point in the cave I very deep, and is named as Pataalaganga. This is the magical place from where mysterious underwater stream that flows throughout the year. Adding to it, Belgum cave has got lots of various long passages, galleries, large cavities with fresh water and water tunnels.
These caves were formed due to the continuous deposition of limestone over a period of million years under the surface of earth.Archeologist have found many priceless archaic vessels, and tools used by the cave men lived some thousand years ago. Correct study has proved that the vessels dates back 4,500 BC. Later study also reveals that, this cave was used by Jain and Buddhist monks for undergoing meditation and penance.
This cave was discovered by British geologist and archaeologist Robert Bruce Foote in 1884.Although, the caves remained unnoticed until a German team led by Herbert Daniel Gebauer made an exploration of the caves in 1982. It soon became one of the prized possessions of Andhra Pradesh in the tourism industry.
Structures inside Belum Caves:
Belgum caves are the black limestone residues, that have unusual unique structures. The highlight of the cave is the 16-row maze that enchants every visitor..
As this caves was mostly inhibited by the Buddhist and Jain monks, the visitors can see the carving of Lord Buddha and saints in the side walls. Evidence of the Jain and Buddhist remains have been found in the caves. A meditation den, saint's bed, and an enormous 40-foot idol Buddha were discovered from the cave. Other than this mysterious combination of natural formations of black limestone and surreal sinkholes are found inside the cave.
While exploring the cave, it is best to make yourself prepared by taking with you all necessary things. Stuff your backpack with water bottles, and snacks. It is better to hire a guide to explore the cave, as it is quite dangerous to explore all alone. Some part of the caves is poorly ventilated, so take a torch with you. Well gripping shoes will be comfortable to roam around the cave.
Best time to visit:
It will take more than one hour to go around the Belum caves. As it may be tiresome, the best time to visit Belum caves is during light summer season (July to Sep). However, any month will be suitable to visit Belum caves.
How to Reach:
Belum caves are situated in a small village with the name same. The Belum Village is located 106 km from Kurnool; you can take a bus or hire a taxi to reach the Belum caves. It can also be reached by hiring a taxi from Hyderabad.