List of major caves of India and their location:

Ajanta Caves (World Heritage Site): This group of 29 caves (in the shape of a horseshoe) located in the Sahyadri hills was excavated in 200 BC. and between the 7th century AD in two forms - Chaitya-5 (temple) and Vihara-24 (monastery). The 'Waghur' river flows in the foothills of this valley. The main attraction of the caves of Ajanta is the mural painting. The Ajanta Caves are predominantly infused with paintings inspired by Buddhism (the Mahayana branch).

The most important of these are the Jataka tales, which depict various stories related to the Buddha's previous births as a bodhisattva. Here Brahmanism and Jainism are also included. Cave number 16 (Dying Princess) and 17 (Chitrashala, Nirman-by Harishena) belong to the Gupta period. Paintings have been made in Ajanta by both 'fresco' and 'tempera' methods. Ajanta has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1983.

Ellora Caves (World Heritage Site): Presently the number of these caves (Chaitya and Vihara) are 71 which were built between 7th to 9th century which are famous for sculpture and frescoes.

There are three types of caves in Ellora:-

  • Mahayani Buddhist Caves
  • Mythological Hindu Caves
  • Digambar Jain Caves

Elephanta Caves (World Heritage Site): Many of these sculptures related to Hinduism, especially Shiva, are fine examples of Gupta art, which is at par with the sculptures of Ellora and Ajanta. These caves are known by the old name of Gharapuri which was the island capital of Konkani Mauryas. The Portuguese named the island Elephanta.

Bagh Caves: The caves are located on the banks of the Karad or Baghini river, a tributary of the Narmada and on the south slope of the Vindhya Mountains. The style of the paintings of the tiger caves is similar to that of Ajanta and is contemporary, but the art of the tiger not only has religious themes similar to that of Ajanta, but there is also a rapid flow in the depiction of anthropomorphic expressions.

The depiction of flowers, birds and animals is particularly important in the frescoes of Bagh Caves. The most famous picture of Cave No. 2 is that of Padmapani Buddha which is also known as 'Pandava Cave' while the third cave is known as 'Hathikhana'.

Bhimbetka Rock Shelter Caves (World Heritage Site): These caves are surrounded on all sides by Vindhya Mountains. The Satpura hills start in its south. Bhimbetka Caves are popular for prehistoric paintings and Bhimbetka Caves are also famous for rock paintings and rock shelters made by humans. The oldest paintings of caves are believed to be 12000 years old.

In the Bhimbetka caves, pictures of horses, elephants, tigers etc. have been engraved in natural red and white colors besides hunting scenes of wildlife. In 2003 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.

Kanheri Caves: More than 100 caves located in the premises of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which date back to 8th-9th century. The structure of Kanheri Chaityagriha is similar to that of Karle's Chaityagriha. It has been a major center of Hinayana and Mahayana teachings of Buddhism.

Barabar Caves: 3rd century BC Barabar and Nagarjuni rocks were cut in. The main caves of Ashoka are Karnachaipar, Vishwajhopari and Sudama caves. In the fourth cave, the inscriptions of the 5th century Maukhari ruler Ananthavarman are inscribed. Among the caves of Dasharatha, the cave of Lomash Rishi is notable.

In the three caves of Nagarjuna hill there are inscriptions of Ashoka's grandson Devanampriya Dasharatha, which were given to the living sect of monks. Makkhaliputta Gosala had run the Ajivaka sect.

List of Major Caves of India:

Names of caves City/state name
Ajanta Caves (World Heritage Site) Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Ellora Caves (World Heritage Site) Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Elephanta Caves (World Heritage Site) Mumbai, Maharashtra
Karlen's Caves Bhorghat, Pune-Mumbai, Maharashtra
Kanheri Caves Mumbai, Maharashtra
Badami Cave Karnataka
Tiger cave Dhar, Madhya Pradesh
Adamgarh Cave Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh
Bhimbetka Caves (World Heritage Site) Raisen, Madhya Pradesh
Barabar Cave Gaya, Bihar
Borra Caves Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
Udayagiri Caves Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Tiger caves Vindhyachal Mountains, Madhya Pradesh
Edakkal Cave Kerala
Varaha Caves Coromandel, Tamil Nadu
Mawsmai Cave Cherrapunji, Meghalaya
Jogimara Cave Chhattisgarh
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves Odisha
Amarnath Cave Baltal, Jammu and Kashmir
Caves of Undavali, Vijayawada Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
Dungeshwari Cave A state in Eastern India

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Caves of India FAQs:

The name of the deepest shaft cave discovered in the Mawsynram region of Meghalaya, India is "Krem Puri". It is considered one of the deepest caves in the world, with a depth of about 1,340 meters (4,395 ft).

Ajanta and Ellora caves are located in the state of Maharashtra. The caves of Ajanta Ellora were built by the Hindu rulers, in which the Rashtrakuta rulers built caves of Hindus and Buddhists.

An ancient cave wall with 55 panels on the life of Lord Buddha was discovered in Mustang (Nepal).

The Elephanta Caves are located on Elephanta Island (known as the island of Gharpuri) in western India, consisting of two hills separated by a narrow valley. The small island is dotted with many ancient archaeological remains, which are the only evidence of its rich cultural past.

The Bagh Caves are on the southern slope of the Vindhya Mountains, 97 km from Dhar district in Madhya Pradesh. It is situated between Indore and Vadodara on the banks of the Baghini River.

  Last update :  Thu 6 Oct 2022
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