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GoaCentral > Sightseeing > Monuments of Goa > Caves in Goa

Caves in Goa

Introduction

The latest discoveries in the field of Archaeology have brought to light, the movement of the early man in Goa. A possible land route of entry is postulated as being through the area marked as  NH-17 or from the  Malaprabha Ghataprabha region (from neighboring Maharastra state).

 A number of stone tools of an early period have been found in many places such as in the Malangini cave, at the basin of Mandovi at Shirgao, and other places.  At the same time, early stone tools have also been discovered in the adjoining regions of the neighboring states of Maharastra and Karnataka i.e. at Malvan and Karwar. There have also been found, evidence of  microliths and  chalcolithic pottery in Goa.

The discovery of rock carvings at Pansaimal and Kazur, points to the possibility of the early man being an inhabitant here.  During this period, the early man was both a hunter and a gatherer of food.  He was probably residing in the natural caves in the area.  Later on, he began leading a settled life with domestication of animals and the development of agricultural systems. These developments over time helped the early man perfect his techniques and today we can see their most beautiful examples in the carved caves and temples at Ajanta and Ellora in neighboring Maharastra state.

Table of Caves in Goa

As far as Goa is concerned, there are in all a total of 25 man made caves discovered so far, spread over 9 talukas. They are ....

No

Name of the Cave and or its Location

Taluka

Distance from Taluka HQ

Purpose and Sect, if religious

Period

1.

Warkhand

Pednem

13 km

Secular

Later period

2.

Lamgao

Bicholim

2 km

Religious (Hindu)

Early period

3.

Arvalem

Bicholim

10 km

Religious (Hindu)

Early period

4.

Narve, near the Saptakoteshwar Temple

Bicholim

15 km

Brahminical (Hindu)

Early period

5.

Surla Tar

Bicholim

17 km

Brahminical (Hindu)

Early period

6.

Sona Dhave

Sattari

8 km

Brahminical (Hindu)

Early period

7.

Dabos

Sattari

3 km

Secular

Later period

8.

Pissurlem

Sattari

10 km

Hindu

Early period

9.

Brahmapur

Tiswadi

12 km

Not known

Later period

10.

Diwadi

Tiswadi

12 km

Not known

Later period

11.

Savoi Verem

Ponda

8 km

Not known

Early period

12.

Mangueshi

Ponda

8 km

Religious (Hindu)

Early period

13.

Kundai

Ponda

12 km

Secular (Hindu)

Early period

14.

Khandepar

Ponda

5 km

Religious (Hindu)

Medieval period

15.

Ishwarbhat

Ponda

10 km

Religious

Medieval period

16.

Codar

Ponda

6 km

Religious (Hindu)

Early period

17.

Keri

Ponda

8 km

Religious (Hindu)

Early period

18.

Sanguem

Sanguem

1km

Religious (Hindu)

Early period

19.

Rivona

Sanguem

22km

Buddhist

Early period

20.

Shigaon

Sanguem

 

Hindu

Early period

21.

Curdi

Sanguem

12km

Secular

Early period

22.

Usgao

Sanguem

9kms from Ponda

Not known

Medieval period

23.

Aquem

Salcete

2 km

Resident

Medieval period

24.

Pandava Chapel, Margao Consua

Marmugao

14 km

 Religious (Hindu)

Early period

25.

Mallanguini

Quepem

5 km form Margao

Secular

Early period

26.

Near Netravali

Sanguem

5 km from Netravali

Secular

Later period

Caves in Goa- More Details

All these caves are carved in laterite.  In the above list, only 4 to 5 caves might have been carved for residential purpose and the rest are for religious or for other purposes.

There are also some natural caves existing in Goa.  Among them, the biggest is the cave found at Verna, and is large enough to accommodate more than 1200 people at a time.  The Buddhist caves at Rivona is also a natural cave complex.  The "Pitha" carved in laterite in the cave might have been used as a seat for the teacher.

 At Narve, there are three caves.  These are simple and consist of a small "Garbagriha" and a "Verandah" with two pillars.  In this cave, a "lingam" has been found.  The top portion of this "lingam" is in the form of a sitting Lion like that seen on the Ashoka pillar.  Below the Lion,  is an inscription in "Brahmi", a script of 6th century AD.  This Lion is about 38 cm in height at its highest  position and has thick whiskers.

The Cave No. 2  also has similar features to Cave No. 1.  In the "Garbagriha" of the cave again, there is a "lingam" dating back to the early Chalukyan period.

The Cave at Lamgao was carved out of decomposed laterite, which is very brittle.  It could have been one of the reasons for leaving the cave unfinished.

The monolithic cave No. 26 was carved in laterite near Netravali.  The architect of the cave had taken care to separate the walls of the cave from the mother rock to stop the seepage of water during the rainy season.  There is a single hall with arrangements to either help sit or sleep.  Noted is a  provision to fix a wooden door to the entrance.  The walls of the cave are nicely cut with excellent finishing.  The roof is sloped for clearing the rainwater quickly. The roof was thatched i.e. either with wooden or bamboo poles.  This cave was carved out only for residential purposes like the caves at Aquem, Margao.

 

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