Here is a special guest post about Belum Caves in Kurnool by fellow traveler and photographer Somabrata Pramanik, whom I first met during our trip to Bidar and later again on a bird watching trip with GHAC
Somabrata: I am a regular reader of Desi Traveler since we met on a photography tour to Bidar Fort . This blog provides a lot of information and inspiration to my traveling and photography. I am more of a reader than writer kind of guy. So when I got an invitation from him to write a guest post on our trip to Belum Caves, I was little hesitated. Finally, I am writing my first travel blog and I will be happy if a single person decides to visit Belum Caves after reading this.
Our journey started with seventeen nature enthusiast from Hyderabad Adventure and Trekker’s Club in a minibus (nonAC). After visiting Sri Yaganti Uma Maheswara Temple and Pathapadu Bungalow finally we reached Belum village. It’s February 2! Though they call it winter, everyone was scorched by the hot air coming from the bus window. After having lunch there, when we entered the cave it was awesome. There are three entry points to the cave and this is the one opened for public.
After descending through few staircases you will reach the main chamber. Just look up and there is a half elliptical patch of clear soothing blue sky. But still we didn’t know a monster is waiting for us; they call it humidity. We got a middle-aged man to guide us inside the cave. ‘Lose 2kg in 2 hours!’ yes the best advertisement of the cave came from that man.
This cave is created by the continuous underground flow of water washing the soft limestone away from a comparatively harder layer. There are a number of chambers with various names. Pathways are created, electric light and cold air are arranged in the chambers. Don’t know why they have created an unnecessary artificial fountain inside the cave contrasting with nature.
This is the second largest cave in the Indian subcontinent with a span of 3.5 km. There are more unexplored chambers in this cave. The cave is famous for its stalactite and stalagmite formations.
There are different ornamental formations on the wall of the main chamber, created by deposition of mineralized solution through years. Along with the formations, there are deep scratches and pit holes visible on the cave wall, created by the flow of water. After the main chamber, there is the Dhyan Mandir, a hall with single entrance and exit. The guide told us that the Buddhist monks used to use this place for meditation in 100% humidity. In front of Dhyan Mandir, there is a stalagmite formation, looks like Shiva Linga.
Next, we took a narrow passage towards Patal Ganga, the deepest point in the cave. There is a very high chance of traffic jam if someone coming up from opposite way and that will be horrible considering the humidity and lack of air. So when we heard a group coming from opposite side we took a red signal near a comparatively wide space. And we got this awesome view of this formation there.
In Patal Ganga ( the Ganges of the Underworld), water is still flowing in a depth of 150 feet from main entrance level. Here we got this two spectacular formations and my joy knows no bound.
The famous Banyan Tree formation is shaped like Banyan Tree and a column formation as the trunk and thousands of stalactite formations as branches made this banyan tree formation. We took a rest under the tree and then returned through the same way back.
Traveler Information: Thanks to Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) for maintaining the cave properly. They are charging only Rs 45/- per adult and Rs 25/- per child. There are no decent hotels etc. except for a dormitory run by APTDC near the caves so plan accordingly and make it a day trip from Kurnool
Belum Caves Timings: The cave is open on all days from 10 am to 5 pm. The best part is that they are providing a free guide to each group.
How To reach Belum Caves: The Belum caves are located about 125 km from Kurnool, and 326 KM from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. You can take a bus, car or train from Kurnool to reach there. From Hyderabad take the Bangalore Highway till Kurnool and then follow this Google map link given here to reach Belum Caves.
About Author and Photographer: Somabrata Pramanik has done M.Tech in Computer Science from Indian Statistical Institute, he works with Netelixir as a researcher and software development engineer. He likes visiting historical places, trekking, bouldering and is an avid photographer. Please do check and like his work here on his Facebook page Explore with Somabrata and on Flickr
Guest posts from my other friends can be checked here
If you have liked reading the post please feel free to share it with your friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter and Google+. You can subscribe to the email updates to received new posts automatically in your inbox. I promise that I will not sell, rent, or donate your email to anybody.