Belum cave, Andhra Pradesh | Places and Beyond Part 1

Belum Caves is the largest tourist cave in Indian subcontinent and the longest caves in plains of Indian Subcontinent, known for its stalactite and stalagmite formations. Belum Caves have long passages, spacious chambers, fresh water galleries and siphons. It is a natural underground cave formed by the constant flow of underground water. The caves reach its deepest point (150 feet from entrance level) at the point known as Pataalaganga. Belum Caves has a length of 3229 metres, making it the second largest natural caves in Indian Subcontinent after Krem Liat Prah caves in Meghalaya.
It was brought to scientific attention in 1884 by a British surveyor Robert Bruce Foote, later in 1982-84, a team of German speleologists headed by H Daniel Gebauer conducted a detailed exploration of the caves. Thereafter in 1988, the state government declared them protected, and Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) developed the caves as a tourist attraction in February 2002. Today, 3.5 km of the cave has been successfully explored, though only 1.5 km is open to tourists.[1] There are 16 different pathways, including the main entrance and there are deposits of Quartz in the caves. The caves are formed in Black Limestone.

The site
Belum Caves are located at Belum Village in Kolimigundla Mandal of Kurnool District in State of Andhra Pradesh. Kolimigundla is situated 3 km from Belum Caves.[2]Belum Caves is 8 km drive from Petnikota village.
It is part of a larger complex of caves carved out of the limestone deposits in the Erramalai region. Other caves include Billasurgam caves, Sanyasula caves, Yaganti caves, Yerrajari caves, and Muchchatla Chintamanu caves (caves are called gavi in the local language).
Even though the Belum Caves were known to the locals, the first records of Caves were mentioned in expedition report of the British geologist and archaeologist Robert Bruce Foote, in 1884. Thereafter, Belum Caves remained unnoticed for almost a century till a German team headed by Herbert Daniel Gebauer conducted detailed exploration of the caves in 1982 and 1983. The German expedition was assisted by the locals Mr Bacham. Chalapathi Reddy (retd. Deputy superintendent of police ), Mr Pothireddy Rama subba Reddy(retd.Headmaster), Mr Ramaswami Reddy, Mr Boyu Madduleti, Mr K. Padmanabhaiah, Mr K. Chinnaiah and Mr A. Sunkanna.[3]
• 4500 BC Remnants of vessels of that age were found in the caves.
• 1884 existence of the caves recorded by the British geologist and archaeologist Mr Robert Bruce Foote.
• 1982 explored by the German Herbert Daniel Gebauer.
• 1983 explored by the German Herbert Daniel Gebauer.
• 1988 declared protected by the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
• 1999 development of the cave by Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation started.
• FEB-2002 cave opened to the public.
• JUL-2002 Musical chamber discovered.
• JAN 2013 A new cavernicolous Isopod species named Andhracoides gebaueri

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