Meditation Caves That Are Truly Mystical•
Posted on September 17 2021
India truly is the ancient land of yoga, meditation and spirituality. But the wellness and spiritual tourism industries have taken complete advantage of the mystical aura that surrounds our country by offering countless luxurious meditation, yoga and wellness retreats. While these may appeal to some, the only thing a serious spiritual seeker looks for is inner peace. There are plenty of sacred spots in the country where one does not have to check into a fancy property to undertake a journey to the Self.
Since ancient times, caves have been the favoured spots for sages and seers to channel their inner energy and attain the light. Caves provide adequate protection from scorching heat and intimidating cold weather. They are far away from the busy atmosphere of modern civilization and make it easier to experience rich spiritual currents.
We explore some of the amazing cave locations that you must visit and experience solitude, peace and tranquillity for yourself in a bid to connect with a higher consciousness.
Vashishta Cave, Rishikesh
Around 25 km from Rishikesh, on the banks of the holy river Ganga, is the Vashishta Cave, a popular and serene place for meditation. Sage Vashishta is believed to be the son of Lord Brahma and one of the seven great sages (Saptarishis). He was the teacher of Lord Rama.
Legend has it that after the death of all of his children, Sage Vashishta was very depressed and wanted to commit suicide in the Ganges. However, Mother Ganga did not allow him to do so. To overcome his sorrow, Sage Vashishta and his wife Arundhati, sat in deep meditation for hundreds of years in this cave.
This 60-foot naturally formed cave is pitch dark inside and houses a Shivlingam at the far end. The cool air in the cave coupled with tranquil and divine vibrations make the atmosphere very conducive to deep meditation.
A small ashram has developed in this area which is managed by the Swami Puroshotamananda Trust. This ashram maintains the cave and provides some rooms for sadhus who reside there permanently.
Mahavatar Babaji Cave, Dunagiri, Uttarakhand
The Mahavatar Babaji Cave is located on the Pandukholi Mountain at about an hour’s walk from the small hamlet of Kukuchina in Uttarakhand. This cave is the place where the divine persona of Mahavatar Babaji revealed Kriya Yoga, the lost scientific technique of meditation, to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya in 1861. The existence of the great Siddha Mahavatar Babaji, who is believed to be living in the Himalayas for hundreds of years, was made common knowledge by Parahamsa Yogananda’s famous book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’.
Sitting here in this serene cave in such a spiritually evolved ambiance in the foothills of the Himalayas is an elevating experience in itself. For those who seek a peaceful place to connect with their inner selves or for those who practice Kriya yoga, this cave is a must-visit. The cave can seat around 8 people at a time for meditation, is managed by the Yogoda Satsanga Society founded by Parahamsa Yogananda and is open from 11 am to 2 pm every day.
Tabo, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
The caves at Tabo in the Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh are a wonderful location for those who want to meditate in a remote and peaceful place. There are several caves with interconnected rooms, all manually dug out in the rocky hillside. The caves have narrow openings and some are very rudimentary.
At the base of the mountain are the remains of the 1000-year-old Tabo Monastery – a historic treasure of India - that was partially destroyed in the Kinnaur earthquake of 1975. A new monastery is located at the same place. It is believed that the caves were used as meditation rooms by the Buddhist monks hundreds of years ago.
In the midst of a barren landscape, overlooking the gurgling Spiti river, this oasis of tranquillity is the perfect place to spend time in quiet contemplation and discover inner peace.
Dungeshwari Cave Temples, Bihar
The Dungeshwari cave temples or the Mahakala caves situated near Bodhgaya in Bihar are a holy place where Buddha spent 6-7 years in meditation before going on to Bodhgaya and attaining enlightenment. A large golden Buddha adorns one of the caves and depicts his emaciated body due to prolonged fasting. An idol of the goddess Dungeshwari can also be seen in one of the caves.
One can meditate in these peaceful caves for a while especially during the early hours before tourists throng the area. This serene spot is a wonderful place to drink in serenity and rejuvenate oneself with the energy that is born out of silence.
For spiritual seekers, sitting in solitude, while contemplating a higher power can be the most rewarding sadhana one can undertake. Meditation takes on a completely new dimension when one finds the perfect place that is calm and quiet and steeped in divine vibrations. Set out on the journey to discover inner peace today!
Written by Sonia Sumitra Thakar