Just passing the town of Sanquelim, there is a detour road leading towards Arvalem Caves. These caves from the 6th century, are quite small, with no articulate sculptures or paintings.
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 shafts of the four carved lingas inside the cave resemble to those found at the famous Elephanta and Ellora caves.
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 State Museum.