The Arvalem Waterfalls & Pandawa Caves

There are many well-known water falls and beautiful springs but the water fall of Arvalem in Goa is another place you must visit after Dudh Sagar Water Fall. The Arvalem (Called as Harvalem by locals) waterfall, which cascades down from the mountains from a height of 50 meters, is one of the most awe-amazing spots. It is situated at about 2km from the small town of Sanquelim and 8kms from Bicholim, in North Goa. The waterfall is very scenic and is a beautiful picnic spot. This charming waterfall is a mind-blowing experience, with Rudreshwar temple in its vicinity. The temple holds importance for the Hindus who believe in releasing the soul on the 12th day after death. Early in the morning, devotees flock to the temple to pay their obeisance to the deity. While leaving the temple of Rudreshwar, one can descend the staircase to look at a majestic waterfall shedding its exuberant silvery showers all year long and mesmerizing the crowds.

You will be awestruck with the thunderous gush of water cascading down the rocky cliffs. The beautiful Arvalem fall, with a head of about 24 feet high, forms a sizeable lake at the bottom where the visitors and the admirers of temple take an immersion in water. The best time to visit this site is just after the copious monsoon when it presents a rapturous, ravishing and riotous aspect. It has a lot of greenery all around with fruit laden trees with various fruits like bananas , bread fruit and coconut palms to name a few.




The Government of Goa has also developed a park from where the view of the waterfall can be peacefully relished. The Rock cut caves called the “Arvalem Caves” is just situated nearby. The ancient caves in the vicinity add a touch of antiquity to this picturesque place. This secluded region with the astounding vista of the leaping waters in the laps of nature is an ideal destination for private picnics and bird watching. The famous site is also a favorite hunt of the filmmaker, film directors and photographers who love capturing the beauty of this idyllic place.

These caves of the 6th century are quite small, with with no articulate sculptures or paintings. These caves have 5 compartments among which the middlemost compartment holds the ‘Lingam’, which is till today regarded with great respect. An inscription written in Sanskrit and Brahmi characters of the 7th century is noticed on the Shivalinga with a circular top in cave no. 2. It reads as “Sambalura-vasi Ravih”

The origin of these caves is uncertain, some believing them to be of Buddhist origin, although the presence of lingas does not justify this statement claiming them to be of Brahmin origin. They are also claimed to be known as the Pandava caves, signifying the reign of Pandavas here during their 12 year exile as described in the Mahabharata.

The Arvalem caves are very much patterned in the Buddhist cave style, rock cut into laterite stone, with the sanctuary at the northern end and the vihara at the southern end. The claim of the caves being of Buddhist origin is a justified statement, mainly due to the discovery of a huge Buddha statue nearby and a 4th century Buddha head found in the Mhamai Kamat house now installed in the Goa museum. During the monsoons the natives have fun under the open rain. The caves provide safe from rain but to the sight of the rain falling. The monsoon rain roils the water of this waterfall into a muddy brown color and makes it look more interesting.

The water fall of Arvalem is certainly a visit of need while in Goa. There are a number of buses that run from Mapusa and Panaji to Arvalem. The nearest interstate bus station is at Mapusa, the KTC bus station. You can reach the Sanquelim village by taking a two hour bus ride from Mapusa. But to reach the Arvalem waterfalls, you will have to walk for about half an hour or take a motorbike taxi.

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