Gandikota and Belum caves had picked up some boost in tourism, since last few years. I preferred visiting South India in Winters i.e. from November to February, because climate is usually pleasant for sightseeing, during that time. I have been planning this trip since last 5 years, I was supposed to go with Shikhar Vedh (Trekking Group), taking a small group of people, but it never materialized. Post Covid lockdown, as soon as, train line opened down South, tickets were going off very fast. I asked one of my friend for the trip, she got her other friends on board, finally, total 5 of us embarked on exploring this remotest Kadappa region of Andhra Pradesh with plan to visit Belum Caves, Yaganti, Gandikota & Lepakshi.
We boarded the MAS Festival Special train on Friday night, reaching Tadipatri at 10:00 am, on Saturday.
We checked in at AR Paradise Hotel, booked a double and triple bed AC rooms. In terms of location and region, this hotel had better amenities. I had hired a vehicle for round trip for Belum Caves & Yaganti, prior to coming to this place.
We left around 11 am, reaching Belum Caves by 12:30 pm. There is a huge White Buddha Statue at the entrance. There is an entry fee of Rs. 65/-, no Camera charges (am happy here).
Belum Caves are the second largest and longest caves in India, around 3229 mtrs long, formed due to erosion in limestone deposit in the area by the Chitravati River, millions of years ago (well, it was not known as Chitravati that time, offcourse). Right now, Chitravati River runs 30 kms off, south of Caves.
Proper marking and names of each section has been displayed. There are array of color lights displayed across the caves. There are long passages, narrow tunnels, siphons spread across the whole area. The deepest point of caves is at 120 feet from entrance level. As per records, this place was used by Buddhist monks as Meditation Hall in ancient days. There are proper path and bridges built by AP Tourism for easy access.
There are different section marked as Meditation Room, Thousand Hoods Mandapam, Banyan Tree Hall, Maya Mandir and Pathala Ganga.
As you go deeper, there are Stalactites and Stalagmites in the Chambers, Pit Holes in the Ceiling, Lines & Fractures in the Passage on the walls. As you go below and depth increases, you start sweating profusely (Carry water for drinking). There are ventilators at regular intervals along with coloured lights. Entire area is covered with stalactites hanging from roof of the Caves. We took almost an hour to explore the cave.
There is a shop at the entrance, wherein you can buy some refreshing drinks to cool off. We proceeded further to Yaganti Cave Temples.