My first acquaintance with stalactites and stalagmites—Belum caves, second largest cave system in the Indian subcontinent. Thanks to my friend P who found out about this place; all of us got our first taste of going into a cave system.
Situated in the state of Andhra Pradesh, at around 300 kms from the city of Bangalore, ‘Belum Guhalu’ as it is called in Telugu language is a commercial cave. This means you are charged a nominal fee for entry, and a guide is mandatory. You cannot spend the day spelunking on your own.
Only a part of the cave system is open to public – illuminated with soft lights, installed stairways and fresh-air shafts.
We were told that some relics from the Buddhist period were found in the cave which are now displayed in the museum in Ananthapur. The first thing you see on reaching Belum is the massive white colored Buddha statue against a small hill with the words ‘ BELUM’ written on it. There is a small canteen and washroom facilities outside the cave.
The drive from Bangalore to Belum caves is pretty interesting too; we passed a large sunflower field, black tiles/granite quarries, and a cement factory that resembled an alien spaceship from far. Yeah I know, me and my imagination!
All in all, Belum is an easy day trip from the big cities of Bangalore or Hyderabad.
Do you know of an interesting cave worth a visit?