The magnificent beaches in Goa have been attracting hundreds of tourists every year. Over the years, Goa has seen a tremendous growth in its tourism. While a majority of the tourists visit Goa for its white sandy, pristine beaches, the laid back vacation vibes and occasionally the hippie party culture of the North Goa, there are various other attractions in Goa which manage to attract hundreds of tourists from different parts of the world. Goa is one of the best holiday destinations in India, and what makes Goa a preference amongst tourists is the wide range of attractions. From natural beaches to man-made architectural wonders, Goa is also home to a number of mountains, waterfalls, and even dense forests. One such popular tourist attraction in the dense forests of Goa is the Harvalem caves.

  • A lot of people are now interested in exploring Goa like never before. Surprisingly, there has been an equal amount of travellers who are now opting to visit Goa for the more unexplored treasures – natural and architectural beauties which lie away from the beaches. Due to its rich past, one can see a lot of Portugese influenced architecture, like churches, vintage homes and even the city’s layout. And still, one can see many wonders which seem to be influenced by other cultures. A few such hidden wonders can be seen amidst the Sahyadri mountain ranges. One such popular tourist attraction in the dense forests of Goa is the Harvalem caves.
  • Harvalem caves, also known as Arvalem or the Pandava caves, are recently becoming popular among tourists and travelers. Situated in Sanquelim, it is just about 4 km away from the Sanquelim bus stand and about 9 km from Bicholim. Primarily known for their natural beauty of being rock-cut caves, Harvalem caves also have caught the attention of those interested in the Indian culture, due to its relative influence in the Indian mythological folklore. The origin of these caves date back to the 5th century, and have attracted hundreds of tourists and archaeologists over the years.
  • These caves are excavated into the laterite hill and consist of two major chambers. Based on the Indian mythology of Mahabharata, these caves are named after the Pandavas. According to the legend, the Pandavas sought refuge in these caves during their exile. The presence of five compartments of Shiva lingas in the cave complex, are considered as relevance of this fact.
  • However, there exists a huge Buddha statue near these caves, which gives rise to a few popular beliefs of these caves having a Buddhist origin. Moreover, the architectural style of these caves also resonate with the Buddhist religion. There have been quite a lot of mixed opinions about the origin of these caves.
  • Diving deep into the architecture of these caves, the structure is quite simple, yet appealing. The walls of these caves are plain, with no paintings. The rock structure have been cut into laterite stone. There is a presence of Rudreshwar temple in its vicinity, along with Arvalem waterfalls. The Arvalem Falls is quite a popular destination amongst many tourists. Together, these caves make a must visit in everyone’s list.

How to reach Harvalem caves

Harvalem caves are situated in Sanquelim, which is about 21 km from the state capital Panjim. You can choose any one of these to reach Sanquelim.

By Road

There are a few buses from Shivamogga bus terminal (also known as Shimoga) traveling to Sanquelim.

BY Train

Madgaon railway station is the nearest major railway station. From there, one can hire a cab or taxi to reach Sanquelim. Bhagega railway station is another local railway station in Sanquelim, but the frequency of trains from here is less.

By Air

The nearest airport is Dabolim, and one can hire a taxi or cab from here to reach Sanquelim.

If you’re willing to explore the city of Goa beyond its commercial beaches and hotels, or if you seek some adventure, you can plan to visit the Arwalem caves and the Arwalem waterfalls.You can experience the nature at its best, and it also happens to be a beautiful spot for a family outing.