Borra in the local language of Andhra Pradesh, Telugu, means “something that is dug or bored deep into the ground”. The Borra Caves have excellent architecture and interesting formations on them. In terms of size, these caves are one of the biggest in the country whereas in terms of depth, these are the deepest in India. To reach to the Borra Caves, one has to go the Araku Valley’s Ananthagiri Hills. These hills are located in the famous Vishakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. These caves stand tall at about 705 m and are visited by hundreds and thousands of local and international tourists for the interesting stalactites and stalagmites that are formed inside the caves. Stalactites are nothing but drippings of calcium carbonate chemicals that are suspended from the top of the cave, while stalagmites are deposits that initially settle at the bottom of the cave and then begin to grow in the upward direction.
The Caves came into existence in 1807, when they were discovered by William King George from the Geological Survey of India team. Scientists and archaeologists note that the formation of the stalactites and stalagmites could be because of the nature of materials that are used to form the rock. It is believed that the water from the nearby Gosthani River flows into the caves. As the caves are predominantly made of limestone, when the water from this river seeps in into the caves, the moisture content from the rocks make the limestone to melt and then drips to the top and bottom of the caves thereby forming these structures. However locals and tourists who visit this place view this structures as something religious and divine and conceive these structures to be formations of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, famous temples, churches, beard of an ancient Rishi, mushrooms, crocodiles etc. There is a Shiva Lingam inside this cave and lots of tourists perform puja here.
The Borra Caves are the breeding place of lots of interesting fauna like fruit bats and golden gecko. These are nocturnal and therefore prefer the dark ambience of the caves. The flora too is quite impressive inside the caves as one can find lots of mosses and algae that are brown and green in colour.
The tourism ministry of Andhra Pradesh offers interesting packages for tourists to explore the beauty of the Borra caves and other tourist attractions nearby. The Araku Valley nearby has a pleasant climate and is a famous hill station. The months of November and December are apt for visiting this area as the climate is quite cool. These caves are open on all days from 10AM to 5.30PM.
The East Coast Railways operate many frequent trains from Vishakhapatnam. From here, it takes 5 hours to reach the Borra Caves and the nearest railway station is the Borra Guhalu Railway station, where Guhalu means caves in Telugu.