Belum CavesBelum Caves are one of a kind archeological and geological attraction worldwide. It lies in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh at a mere distance of 30 Km from Nandyal and 110 km from Kurnool. These caves are 3.5 km in length and are the second longest cave in India after 21km long Krem Um Lawan cave in Meghalaya. Out of one’s imagination these underground caves are located on a flat agricultural field and have three well like cavities out of which the central one is the main entrance to the caves. After a descent of 20 meters at the entrance, the cave is horizontal and has a length of 3229 meters making it longer than Borra Caves in Vishakhapatnam district. Belum Caves have spacious chambers, siphons and fresh water galleries and long passages.
History of Belum CavesBelum Caves gets its name from the Sanskrit word ‘Bilum’ which means ‘cave’. In Telugu, it is called Belum Guhalu. These caves were initially discovered in 1884 by H.B.Foote, explored by the Department of archeology and Museums, later followed by the team of European speleologist led by Mr. Gebaner after a century in 1982 and 1983. They were used as a garbage dump till some 20 years back when they were restored to their current glory by efforts of the local people in collaboration with the government. However, Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) developed the caves as a tourist attraction in February 2002 only.
Inside the Belum CavesThe caves are formed in black limestone. To enter inside the cave one should be accompanied by a guide and freely wandering in the cave is strictly prohibited. There is a chamber inside the cave where a lot of stalactites and stalagmites can be seen. Kotilingalu is the chamber and the entrance to chamber is known as Simhadwaram. There are passages in the cave where one will have to crawl to pass by. There are some streams inside the cave. Pathalaganga is the deepest point of the cave where a stream is found. The chamber inside the cave is called Saptasvarala Guha or Musical chamber where metallic sounds are formed by limestone formations.
Only 1.5 km of the Belum Cave is opened for public. Most of the parts open for the tourists are dead (not forming stalagmites or stalactites any longer) now. Most of the stalactites were broken off by visitors over the years. There is only one place which is still live and water still drips from the ceiling. However people have turned it into a worshiping place and are thronged by people who are constantly touching the rocks.
However the path inside the caves is well maintained, even kids of 4-5 years can walk easily, fresh air is pumped in at regular intervals and cave is well illuminated. Still I would advice travelers to take water and a powerful torch light with you to enjoy more.
Accommodation around Belum CavesThere is only one hotel near the caves, which is run by Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) and offer only dormitory rooms at a price of Rs. 40 per head, so one should plan accordingly while they visit Belum Caves and make it a day trip from Kurnool. My advice to all travelers would be to carry your own food when you are visiting Belum Caves. There is only one eating place here- a canteen that serves vegetarian meals. Belum Caves are not much populated, so no other shops can be found nearby.
How to Reach Belgum CavesThe Belum caves are located about 110 km from Kurnool, and 326 km from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. From Hyderabad take the Bangalore Highway till Kurnool and you can take a train, bus or car from Kurnool to reach there.
Nearest Airport: GMR Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport (305 km)
Nearest Railway Station: Nandyal railway station (30 km)
Quick FactsLocation Details:
Belum Village, Kurnool District,
Andhra Pradesh - 518 123
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM ( Caves are open all days)
Adults: Rs. 50
Children: Rs. 25
Foreign Tourists: Rs. 300
Guide Charges: Free