Most Indians trace the history of Goa to the Portuguese rule, but the fact is that Goa was once a region of many Hindu dynasties who have left their identity throughout the state.
From Panaji, the capital of Goa, one hour by road is a village in the North Bicholim town of Bicholim called Arvalam. This place is very popular among tourists due to its beautiful waterfalls. But just a short distance near the springs is an archaeological site which is a group of caves that are one and a half thousand years old. The Arvalam caves are a specimen of early Hindu architecture in Goa. This cave is also known as Pandava Cave. This cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Locals call it Pandava Cave. According to legend, the Pandavas stayed in these caves for some time with their wife Draupadi during their twelve years of exile.
The architecture of the caves is simple and yet attractive. There are no paintings on the walls. The rock structure is carved into laterite stones. While in Western India, caves were built with rock-cut (red-colored igneous sandstone) rock, while the Arvallam caves are man-made caves made by cutting of Makharala (laterite) rocks. There are a total of six rooms out of which the first five rooms were used as temples. The sixth room would probably be used as a kitchen or store as there is a platform at the side of the room.
The first room of the Arvalam caves has an altar. The altar hole has a Shiva lingam made of brown basalt stone. This suggests that these caves may have been Shivpant in their nature. The other four rooms have Shivling in the middle of their altars. Outside the rooms is a verandah with pillars. Interestingly, there are no decorations of any kind on the pillars, altars, walls, doors or windows of the Arvallam caves. These are all simple. This may have happened due to the nature of the velvety rocks, on which harvesting Nephice is not easy.
Some historians attribute the Arvalam caves to the fifth century and some to the sixth century. This was the time when Goa was ruled by the Kadamba dynasty (345–525). Kadamba was the ancient royal family of Karnataka who ruled over North Karnataka and Konkan from its capital Banavasi (present-day Uttara Kannada district). In the Deccan he came after the Satavahana dynasty and was a contemporary of the Western Ganga dynasty. The Kadamba dynasty was a worshiper of Lord Shiva. The Brahmi script has a one-line inscription on the linga, placed in the third room of the Arvalam cave temples, which is something like this – Sambaluru-wali Ravih. It means “Ravi” resident of Samba city. The Sun is also called Ravi and hence perhaps the third room will be dedicated to the Sun God.
Archaeologist M.S. According to Nagaraja Rao, “Ravi, one of the many names of the Sun God, is mentioned many times in the Samba Purana as a resident of the city founded by Samba. Samba was the son of Lord Krishna. He was suffering from leprosy. This disease was cured by the Sun God. In thanks to the Sun God, Samba probably built the Sun God temple in Sambapura city. The presence of Shivalingas in four of the caves convinced many scholars that these are Shaiva caves. The language has inscriptions in Sanskrit which are similar to the style found in the Bhoja period. Which is written in this period and especially to King Kapalivarman. Interestingly, in a survey conducted in 1964, six km from south-west Arvallam. In the distant city of Kudanam, an old temple structure was found which contained a small statue of the Sun God. It may be that in ancient times Kudanam and Arvalam were called Sambapura.
Art historians believe that if one gender is dedicated to Shiva and the second gender to Surya, then the third of the five lingas will probably be dedicated to Skanda or Karthikeya and it complements the relationship between Shiva-Kartikeya-Surya. In this way, this temple cave can be considered a unique cave of its kind in India till now.
Many people like to see the water falling from a very high hill. The height of this waterfall is about 70 meters. This waterfall is about 9 km from Bicholim city. It looks very spectacular in sight. This waterfall is 8 km from the city of Sinquelim in North Goa. This waterfall is a beautiful picnic spot. This waterfall can also be seen from the steps of Rudreshwar temple. The government has also built a park near this waterfall so that people can enjoy its beauty. The water of this waterfall falling from high altitude is really breathtaking.