|Location:||At Kolimigundla Mandal (Kolimigundla village) near Belum village. 110km from Kurnool via Banaganapalle on the state highway.|
|Guided tours:||L=1,500m, D=60min.|
|Address:||Belum Caves, Tel: +91-, Fax: +91-,|
|Last update:||$Date: 2011/12/13 08:57:30 $|
|4500 BC||remnants of vessels of that age were found in the caves.|
|????||occupied by Jains and Buddhists.|
|1884||existence of the caves recorded by Mr Robert Bruce Foote.|
|1982||explored by the German Daniel Gebauer.|
|1983||explored by the German Daniel Gebauer.|
|1988||the entire area was declared protected by the Andhra Pradesh Government.|
|1999||development of the cave by Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation started.|
|FEB-2002||cave opened to the public.|
|JUL-2002||Musical chamber discovered.|
Belum Caves are named after the old Sanskrit word for cave, Bilum. It seems the nearby village Belum was also named after the caves. In the local Telugu language it is called Belum Guhalu.
Belum caves were recently developed by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC). The state spent 10 Mio Rupia to develop the cave with a staircase and three ventilation shafts. It seems India has still numerous predjudices and disinformation concerning caves. One of the main fear is to suffocate inside caves, which is actually pretty weird. Karst caves generally have extremely good air which is even used for health treatment of respiratory diseases. Carbon dioxide accumulation or bad air are extremely rare. But it seems the management either does not know this, or they installed the ventilation simply for psychological reasins. Unfortunately if they really replace huge amounts of cave air with outside air the cave environment will be heavily damaged. Many caves install air tight doors to minimize exchange, in order to protect temerature and humidity inside the cave.
Saptasvarala Guha or Musical chamber was recently discovered. Its peculiarity are apparently the metallic sounds of the stalactites, at least thats what the cave management tells. It is actually not really special, as all stalactites on earth sound like this when hit with a wooden stick or the finger knuckles. Many show caves make this a tourist attraction and tour guides play a melody on the stalactites. Luray Caverns in the U.S.A. even has a Stalacpipe Organ, a mechanic organ for playing on stalactites. However, responsible cave managements would avoid damaging speleothems and would discourage it.
The cave is entered by a staircase down a sinkhole to a level about 20m below ground. Most of the cave system is developed at this level, and the tour path is rather level from now on, following the main passage.
As it is uncommon for foreign tourists to visit the caves on their own, the APTDC offers package tours for Ahobilam, Alampur, Mahanandi, Srisailam, Mantralayam and other places. The one day trips by coach include the coach ride, the cave visit and other sights.
The novelty of the cave and the immense advertisement resulted in a real rush to the cave. In the first six months the cave was visited by more than 60,000 people, and each Sunday 3,000 people visit the cave.
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