Arvalem Caves, Goa
The Arvalem caves, also known as the Pandava caves, are ancient rock cut caves that can be traced back to the 6th and 7th century B.C. It is believed that the five Pandavas of the Mahabharata epic had taken refuge in these caves which lie in a dense jungle during the period of their exile. Some are of the opinion that these caves have been carved by the traveling Buddhist monks.
The caves consist of five small hollowed caves in granite. Of the five, three caves have some sort of a shrine while two caves appear to have been used for residential purposes. These caves from are quite small, with no articulate sculptures or paintings.The shafts of the four carved lingas inside the cave resemble to those found at the famous Elephanta and Ellora caves. The Shivalinga in the second cave is engraved with an inscription written in Sanskrit and Brahmi characters of the 7th century. The caves that seen to be used for residential purposes have small hollow carved out in them that might have served as storage space for food.
Getting to Arvalem Caves
Arvalem caves are located 9 kms. to the south of Bicholim town along the route leading to the Arvalem waterfalls. The area on both sides of the road is heavily forested. One can hire a cab or bike to reach the caves. There are no buses travelling to this place. Buses however travel to the nearby town of Bicholim. From there tourists can take a cab to the Arvalem caves, waterfall and the Rudreshwar temple.