Written by

Located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the Undavalli Caves are a wonder that has remained veiled in mystery and history.. Imagine this: cut out of the rock face over 1500 years ago, these caves are full of mysteries of the past, hidden away for the brave souls who will seek them out. But here’s the catch: It is believed that these caves were made by a ‘Rakshasa’ who carved them out with his bare hands in one night! Regardless of whether it is a myth or reality, the Undavalli Caves offer a time-travel experience that is a blend of history, myth, and architectural marvel.

History Of Undavalli Caves

Padmanabhaswamy deity inside the Undavalli Caves Vijayawada.

Image Source: IM3847 for Wikimedia Commons

The Undavalli Caves are a fine example of the rock-cut architecture of the Gupta School of Art which flourished in the 4th-5th century AD. Most of the emperors of the Gupta period were Vaishnavas, which is why the images depicted in the caves are also Vaishnavas. The caves contain numerous examples of Narasimha, the Ramayana, and other Vishnu stories. These caves were initially occupied by the Vishnukundina kings who ruled between 420 and 620 AD, but later on were used by Jain and Buddhist monks.

Must Read: Valleys In Andhra Pradesh

Undavalli Caves Architecture

Row of pillars in Vijayawada.

Image Credit: Vinay kumar malyam upadyaya for Wikimedia Commons

The caves are a four-storey rock-cut temple with an east-facing facade, 29 metres long and 16 metres wide. The height of each floor differs; the ground floor is an unfinished low-pillared hall with eight pillars and seven door openings on the façade. The first story has three shrines in the rear, each with a pillared porch in front, originally intended for the Trinity (Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma). The second story shows a pillared rectangular shrine of Vishnu on a serpent with sculptures of Shiva and Vaishnava. The third story was left open, with a triple shrine on the roof. The most striking of these is a 5-metre-high statue of Vishnu lying on his right side, though some researchers believe that the statue represents the 23rd or 17th Tirthankara of Jainism, Parshvanatha, with some differences in the image of Vishnu.

Local Legends About Undavalli Caves

 Ancient carvings inside Undavalli Caves in Vijayawada.

Image Credit: Krishna Chaitanya Velaga for Wikimedia Commons

It is believed that the Undavalli Caves were sculpted by a ‘Rakshasa’ who was a nocturnal being with great sculpting abilities and who could work all through the night. According to another story, the caves were constructed by seven saints who could complete the construction in a day. These stories put a magical spin on the caves, which makes travellers interested in the stories of magic associated with the caves. Despite the lack of concrete evidence about the origin of the Undavalli Caves, such myths are still popular among the locals and contribute to the enchanting atmosphere of this historical place.

Suggested Read: Places To Visit In Visakhapatnam

Top Nearby Attractions To Undavalli Caves

Whether you are a history buff or an adventure seeker, you will find many places to visit near Undavalli Caves. Here are some of the top attractions that visitors can find while touring Undavalli Caves:

1. Kondapalli Fort

Kondapalli Fort is a must-see for history buffs.

Image Source: Facebook

Kondapalli Fort or Kondapalli Kota is one of the oldest forts located in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. This fort was built in the 14th century and is famous for architectural planning and the area’s beauty. Many buildings within the fort can be visited and some of them are Rani Mahal, a palace with wooden carvings and paintings. It also has a museum that contains different historical artefacts and architectural designs in the fort, thus making it ideal for tourists interested in history. This fort has been built on a hill and the view of the countryside from here is very beautiful, thus it is a good place for photography.

Distance: Approximately 20 kilometres
Timings: 10:30 AM to 5 PM

2. Bhavani Island

Bhavani Island on the Krishna River, near Undavalli Caves.

Image Credit: Saisumanth532 for Wikimedia Commons

Bhavani Island is a famous island located on the River Krishna, near Vijayawada. This island has a total land area of 133 acres and has a picturesque environment with greenery and water that is not very choppy. Tourists can do several enjoyable things in the area, including boat rides, water sports, and nature walks. The island also has a rich vegetation cover and wildlife and is a perfect place for nature lovers. Bhavani Island offers you whatever you want in a trip to an island. The island’s beaches are wide and clean while the water is clear, which makes it possible to swim and sunbathe, which is always good for a change from the noisy city.

Distance: A short ferry ride from Vijayawada

Timings: Daily from 12 AM to 11:59 PM.

Suggested Read: Places To Visit Near Gandikota

3. Kanaka Durga Temple

 Kanaka Durga Temple near Undavalli Caves in Vijayawada.

Image Credit: Balajirakonda for Wikimedia Commons

Kanaka Durga Temple is one of the famous Hindu temples dedicated to Goddess Kanaka Durga, and it is situated on Indrakeeladri Hill in Vijayawada. The temple is among the most visited religious places in Andhra Pradesh and is well known for its architecture and spiritual importance. The temple also has many festivals in the year, during which devotees from different parts of the country and sometimes from other countries visit the temple. The outer view of the temple is of the vast city of Vijayawada, and the view from the temple is lovely and pious. The atmosphere of the temple and its location is relatively calm and quiet, which is good for meditation and reflection, and thus, it can be considered a refuge from the modern world.

Distance: Located in Vijayawada
Timings: Daily from 4 AM to 5:45 PM and from 6:15 PM to 10:00 PM

3. Prakasam Barrage

Prakasam Barrage on Krishna River

Image Credit: iMahesh for Wikimedia Commons

Prakasam Barrage is a great piece of civil engineering across Krishna near Vijayawada. Constructed in the 19th century, the barrage provides water for household consumption and irrigation to the area. The barrage provides a vantage point to view the river and the surrounding landscape, and as such, it is a favourite spot for picnics and other recreational activities. It also offers the possibility of a boat ride on the river to have a closer look at the barrage and how it works, which is a rather interesting way to explore the area’s infrastructure. The barrage’s architectural design and the place’s historical importance make it one of the most important tourist attractions in the region.

Distance: Located across the River Krishna
Timings: Open 24 hours

Suggested Read: Waterfalls Near Vizag

4. Victoria Museum

Victoria Museum (Bapu Museum) is a must-see place in Andhra

Image Credit: Gnana Sreekar for Wikimedia Commons

Victoria Museum, also called Victoria Jubilee Museum or Bapu Museum is a museum situated in Vijayawada which displays the cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh. The museum has a rich collection of sculptures, paintings, coins, and textiles from the ancient world. People can go around the different galleries of the museum that discuss different areas of the region. The museum’s collection is quite interesting. It gives the visitors an insight into the artistic and cultural development of Andhra Pradesh. For this reason, if you want a holistic experience, the museum is a must-visit for history and art lovers. The museum has preserved many of its original pieces and has many informative displays that allow the visitor to gain a good understanding of the region’s history.

Distance: Located in Vijayawada
Timings: Daily from 5:30 AM to 6:15 PM

Undavalli Caves Location And How To Reach

Know how to reach the Caves

Image Source:Pexels

Undavalli Caves are located in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, approximately 6 kilometres from Vijayawada. These ancient rock-cut caves are nestled along the banks of the Krishna River, offering visitors a scenic and historically rich destination. Below are details on how to reach these caves.

By Air: The closest airport to Undavalli Caves is Vijayawada Airport, which is about 30 kilometres away. After arriving at the airport, one has to take a taxi or a bus to the caves. Depending on the traffic conditions, it will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to get to Undavalli Caves from the airport.

By Road: The Undavalli Caves are also accessible from Vijayawada, which has road links to other cities in Andhra Pradesh and other states. The caves are about 8 kilometres away from the city of Vijayawada in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The caves are easily accessible by a taxi or a self-driven car by the travellers. The road to Undavalli Caves passes through picturesque countryside and the view of the area is quite scenic.

By Bus: Vijayawada to Undavalli Caves can be reached by bus services, which are available regularly. Visitors can take a bus from the Vijayawada bus depot to visit the caves. Traveling by bus takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the traffic and bus route. The bus fare is also cheap, making it an ideal means of transport for those on a tight budget.

Suggested Read: Islands In Andhra Pradesh

Quick Tips For Travellers Visiting Undavalli Caves

  • Take enough water and food because there are few shops or places where you can get water and food around the caves.
  • Wear comfortable shoes as some walking is required while exploring the caves.
  • Refrain from disrespecting the religious beliefs of the people and avoid any form of indecency around sacred places.
  • Obey the guide and other authorities to avoid any mishaps and have a good time.
  • It is advisable to visit the caves on weekdays so that you can spend a lot of time observing them.

Further Read: Things To Do In Visakhapatnam

The Undavalli Caves are a special attraction to tourists since they learn more about India’s history and culture. When visiting these caves and the areas around them, one is not only going back to the past but also observing the ingenuity of the earlier generations. It is recommended not to miss the chance to visit this place and feel the unique atmosphere of the history. So plan a trip to Andhra Pradesh  and experience the historic and archaic caves.

For our editorial codes of conduct and copyright disclaimer, please click here.

Cover Image Source: Diganta Talukdar for Wikimedia Commons

Frequently Asked Questions About Undavalli Caves

Are the Undavalli Caves open for visitors at night?

No, as per Undavalli Caves' timings, caves are closed off for visitors from the evening to the following morning due to safety reasons.

Are there lights fitted inside the Undavalli Caves?

Yes, there are light fixtures fitted in multiple places inside the cave to allow you to see the insides of the cave.

Are there any water bodies inside Undavalli Caves?

No, the Undavalli Caves do not have natural water bodies inside it. There are other provisions for water for the tourists.

Are the Undavalli Caves open for tourists around the year?

Yes, the caves are kept open for visitors around the year. They just need to arrive at an optimal time and during the day to get access to the caves.

People Also Read:

Category: Andhra Pradesh, Caves, Places To Visit

Best Places To Visit In India By Month

Best Places To Visit Outside India By Month