Borra Caves

Borra Guhalu

Useful Information

Location: Borra village, Ananthagiri hills, southeast corner of Srungavarapukota Taluk. 43 km from Srungavarapukota, 95 km from Vishakhapatnam.
Open: All year daily 10-17.
Fee: Adults INR 40, Children INR 30.
Photo Permit INR 25, Video Permit INR 100, Digital Camera Permit INR 100.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave Speleologyriver cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension: A=705 m asl, VR=80 m.
Guided tours:
Address: Borra Caves.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1807 discovered by William King George from the Geological Survey of India.


The official description of this cave tells us a rather impressive story: deep in the caves there is a Shiva lingam above which is an idol of a cow (Kamadhenu) and the river Gosthani springs from the udder of this cow. This seems to be a rather poetic description of a rounded stalagmite, which is considered a copy of Shivas penis, and a corresponding stalactite which looks like a cow udder. The Gosthani river, which formed the cave, heads towards Orissa, after emerging from the caves.

Even stranger is the story about sixty-three lamps of mercury, sodium vapour and halogen, which make the interior of the caves colourful and spectacular. It seems we have to be grateful to the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation which laudably installed them. And a last story, a local legend of the discovery.

A local cowherd lost his cow while it was grazing. He realized that the cow had fallen into a 60 m deep hole and thought the cow was dead. But when he looked down into the hole, he found the cow alive and feeding on the grass deep below. He went into the cave to rescue his cow and found the stalagmite in the shape of a Shiva lingam. So he thought the survival of the cow was a miracle of God Shiva. He told his story and soon people started worshiping the lingam. Even a small temple was built later outside the caves, where pujas are performed regularly.

The landscape around the cave is wild and mountainous. The geology is complicated, and the limestone where the cave is located is surrounded by mica. Several mines in this mica are prospected for precious stones like rubies.

An impressive way to reach the cave is by train. The train from Vishakhapatnam, the nearest airport is at Vishakhapatnam, needs 5-6 hours for less than 100 km. It traverses the Eastern Ghats through 30 tunnels and thick vegetation. By car on the Ghat road it takes three hours. But the best way to visit the cave is probably a guided day trip which typically includes Tyada Railway Tunnel, Damuku View Point, Borra Caves, Ananthagiri Coffee Plantation, Padmapuram Gardens and the Araku Valley.