Borra caves are located in the Araku Valley of the Ananthagiri hill range and is drained by the Gosthani River. At the entry, the cave measures up to 100 m (328.1 ft) horizontally and 75 m (246.1 ft) vertically. Stalagmite and Stalactite formations are found in the caves. The average annual temperature of Araku hills, where the caves are situated, is about 25 °C (77.0 °F). The average annual rainfall reported is 950 mm (3.1 ft) mostly occurring during the northeast monsoon. The Gosthani river provides water supply to the Visakhapatnam city.
Borra Caves is also called as Borra Guhalu located on the East Coast of India, in the Ananthagiri hills of the Araku valley with hill ranges elevation varying from 800 m (2,624.7 ft) to 1,300 m (4,265.1 ft) of the Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh. The Caves, one of the largest in the country, at an elevation of about 705 m (2,313.0 ft), distinctly exhibit a variety of impressive pictured ranging from very small to big and irregularly shaped, stalactites and stalagmites. The Caves are basically Karstic limestone structures extending to a depth of 80 m (262.5 ft) which is considered as the deepest cave in India.
History and Legend of Borra Caves
In 1807, William King George of the Geological Survey of India discovered the caves. On the discovery of the caves, there are several legends, which the tribals who inhabit the villages around the caves narrate. The popular legend is that a cow, grazing on the top of the caves, dropped 60 m (196.9 ft), through a hole in the roof. The cowherd while searching for the cow came across the caves. He found a stone inside the cave that resembled a Lingam, which he interpreted as the Lord Shiva who protected the cow. The village folk who heard the story believed it and since then they have built a small temple for Lord Shiva outside the cave. People flock to the temple for worship and the cave to get a glimpse of the Lingam.
Another lyrical legend is that the Shiva Lingam representing the Hindu God Lord Shiva, is found deep in the caves and above which is a stone formation of a cow. It is surmised that the udder of this cow is the source of the Gosthani River which originates from here, flows through Orissa before debouching into the Bay of Bengal.
Map of Borra Caves near visakhapatnam