In addition to natural wonders, historical places, hills, Ghats and waterfalls, Karnataka is home to a number of caves. A tour of the caves can be fascinating and can leave you awestruck with the exemplary architecture and surrounding scenic beauty.
Famous for its cave temples, Badami in Bagalkot has the earliest known examples of temples dating back to the 6th century. The rock-cut cave temples are a combination of four cave temples consisting of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist deities.
Situated to the east of Pattadakal, along the Malaprabha River, Aihole has an incredible total of nearly 125 stone temples. They date back to 5th century CE and boast of the finesse of Chalukyan architecture.
The Nellitheertha Cave houses a Shiva temple and a natural cave which is about 200 metres long. The cave has restricted access and visitors have to crawl through to get to a Shiva Linga and a lake at the end. Belief is Sage Jabali worshipped Goddess Durga in this cave and she promised him to kill the demonArunasara. She fulfilled herpromise on the banks of River Nandini. This is now the famous place of Durgaparameshwari Temple, Kateel.
Found in South Bangalore on Bannerghatta Road, the Hulimavu Caves are a pre-historic monolithic granite cave. It is possibly a 2000 year old single rock cave. The shrines in the natural cave are dedicated to God Rama, God Shiva and Goddess Rajarajeshwari. Numerous other cave temples are also seen here, of which the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Cave Temple is most popular.
One among the Hulimavu Caves, Gavi Gangadhareshawara Caves has a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built by the founder of Bangalore, Kempe Gowda in 16th century AD, the temple is a fine example of architectural expertise. The deities of Nandi and Linga are precisely positioned for the sunlight to pass through an arc between Nandi and fall on the Linga illuminating the sanctum on
Located near Kadri Manjunath Temple in Mangalore, the Pandava Caves has a Buddhist monastery called Kandarika Vihara. It is believed that the Pandavas spent time here during their exile to avoid detection by the Kauravas.