Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Friday, March 24, 2023

Sacred Caves






Ellora Caves       




A cave is a cavity inside the earth which may be either natural or artificial in origin. Natural caves come into existence by the action of water or tectonic displacement. Since time memorial both natural and artificial caves have served humankind in various capacities.  


Caves are considered sacred if they are associated with Gods, Goddesses, deities or mythical and magical figures, saints and preachers. They are also considered sacred if they are source of sacred rivers and streams or house sacred animals.


The use of caves for religious practices by individuals and groups extends back in time for at least several millennia in India. The Buddha dwelled and meditated in caves, forests, and other kinds of natural sites, practices which became common for Buddhist monks and nuns during his lifetime and beyond. Whenever Buddhism spread beyond India into other parts of Asia the religious use of caves spread as well. The same was the case with Jain Thirthankaras and their followers. Caves serve monks and nuns as secluded and peaceful places for monastic life, meditation, and chanting. A holy person might dwell in a cave for merely a few days or for months or even years. (1)


Caves affect the environment in positive ways. They support a natural habitat for life forms that require consistent temperatures and dark living conditions. Caves provide a valuable, clean water source that's naturally preserved in underground rock formations. As long as caves are free of human-initiated pollutants, they contribute to the environment in healthy ways and aid in the overall cycle of life. (2)


Sacredness associated with caves has played an important role in their conservation and thus helped in conserving the biodiversity. Indeed, sacred caves may be one component of a very ancient, widespread, and diverse system of sacred places throughout much of Asia which traditionally had far reaching significance for environmental and biodiversity conservation. 





 1.  http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/sponsel/Research/Research.html 

 2.  http://education.seattlepi.com/caves-affect-environment-6725.html


 Sacred Caves of India (Spatial Map)








Sacred Caves of India 



 Name of the Caves

1.Andhra Pradesh 




Akka Mahadevi caves

Akkana and Madanna Caves 

Bodhikonda and Ghanikonda

Bojjannakonda and Lingalakonda

Borra caves

Guntupalli Caves 

Kotturu Dhanadibbalu & Pandavula Guha

Mogalrajapuram caves

Nagarjunakonda caves

Undavalli Caves






2.Arunachal Pradesh

Dukhang Caves


Meghna Cave




Basistha Cave Temple


Jogighopa Cave Temples

Kamakhya Cave Temple

Suryapahar cave





Barabar Caves 


Dungeshwari Cave Temples or Mahakala caves

Indasala Caves

Patalpuri and Bateshwar cave

Pippala cave

Saptparni Cave or Sattaparnaguha Cave

Sonbhandar caves




Bel Mahadev Cave


Jogi Cave

Kailash Caves

Khuriarani Cave

Kutumsar Cave

Ramgarh and Sita Bengra caves

Sitamani Temples and Caves




Arvalem Caves


Dabos Cave

Khandepar caves

Lamgau Caves

Mangueshi Cave

Narve Caves 

Rivona caves




Baba Pyare Caves


Devni Mori

Jami Masjid Cave

Kadia Dungar Caves 

Khambhalida Caves

Khapra Kodiya Caves

Sana Caves 

Siyot caves

Talaja Caves 

Uperkot caves

Vadnagar cave or Jogida ni Gufa



8.Himachal Pradesh

Arjuna Gufa


Baba Balaknath Cave Temple

Dhoongri Temple

Masrur Rock Cut Temples

Tabo Monastery

Trilokpur Lord Shiva Cave



9.Jammu and Kashmir

Adkuwari Cave temple


Amarnath cave 

Baba Dhansar cave

Bumzu or Bhaumajo Caves

Butta Guffa

Mahanaal cave

Moungri cave

Peer Kho Cave Temple

Phuktal Gonpa

Saspol Caves 

Shergol Cave monastery

Shiv Khori Cave Temple

Takthok monastery

Vaishno Devi Cave temple

Visvesvara Caves




Anjani gufa


Bhairo Baba caves

Kunda Cave

Malmalpur and Shitalpur Caves

Panch Pandava Pahar

Pandulata and Ghorlata Caves

Shivgadi Cave Temple

Taponath Mahadeva cave temple




Aihole Caves


Badami Caves

Gandhal Cave

Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple 

Hulimav Cave Temple

Kaiwara Gavi (Caves)

Kavala Caves 

Narasimha Zarana Cave Temple 

Sri Somanatheshwara Cave temple, Nellitheertha

Sugreeva's cave

Yana Caves




Kallil cave temple Methala


Kaviyoor Thrikkakkudi Cave Temple

Kottukkal cave temple

Madavoorpara Siva Rock Cut temple

Punarjani Guha

Sree Irunilamkode cave temple

Trikkur Mahadeva Rock Cut Temple

Vizhinjam Rock Cut Caves 



13.Madhya Pradesh

Bagh Caves


Bhartrihari caves

Dhamnar Caves


Pandav Caves

Sri Govinda Bhagavatpada Cave

Udayagiri Caves




Ajanta Caves


Aurangabad Caves

Bedse Caves

Bhaja Caves

Dandoba Mahadev Cave Temple

Dharashiv caves

Dhokeshwar Mahadeva temple

Elephanta Caves

Ellora Caves

Jogeshwari caves

Kachargadh Caves

Kanheri Caves

Karla Caves

Kondana Caves

Lenyadri Group of Caves, Junnar

Mahakali Caves

Mandapeshwar Caves 

Pandu Leni 

Parashar Caves

Pitalkhora  Caves

Rajpuri Caves




Krem Mawjymbuin Cave

Marai Cave




Barunei Caves


Budhakhol Caves

Devagiri Hill Cave

Gupteswar Cave

Koilighugar Cave

Lalitgiri Caves

Mahuri Kalua Temple

Narangarh Cave

Olasuni Gumpha

Padapadma Gumpha and Sita Gumpha

Patali Srikhetra

Ramchandi Cave Temple

Ratnagiri caves

Sitabhinji Cave

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves





Gurdaspur caves


Mukteshwar cave temple



Adhar Devi cave temple


Binnayaga Buddhist caves 

Hathiagor Buddhist Caves 

Kolvi Caves 

Madareshwar Cave Temple

Niranjani cave

Parshuram Mahadev Cave Temple 




Byang Lhari- rinchen- nying Phug


Lho Khandro- Sang Phug

Nub-Dechén Phug

Shar- chok Bé Phug



20.Tamil Nadu

Arittapatti Caves


Cave Temples of Mahabalipuram 

Gokarnesvara Cave Temple, Thirugokarnam

Karpaga Vinayagar Cave Temple

Kazhugumalai Rock Cut Temples


Kilmavilangai Cave

Kudumiyanmalai Rock cut Temple


Kuranganilmuttam Rock cut Temple

Mahendravadi Cave Temple

Malayadipatti Rock Cut Temples 

Mandagapattu Cave Temple 

Melacheri Cave Temple

Namakkal Caves

Narthamalai Caves

Rock Fort Caves


Seeyamangalam Rock cut Temples

Singaperumal cave temple



Thalavanur Satrumalleswara swamy cave temple


Thirumalapuram Rock Cut Temples




Thirunanthikarai Cave Temple

Thiruparankundram Rock cut  Temple