Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bhaja caves, one of the oldest Buddhist religious centres in the Deccan area, India

Bhaja caves, Maharashtra
Just another 8 kms away from the Karla caves near Lonavla, Maharashtra, India, are another set of Buddhist rock-cut caves of Bhaja. The Buddhist rock-cut caves at Bhaja date back to the 2nd Century BC and are of the Hinayana sect of Buddhism.

It is not a difficult climb, though during the monsoons you may need to watch your step, but it is worth the trek. I would recommend that you definitely visit this cave complex, especially if you are visiting Lonavla.

The prayer is quite similar to that of Karla. The exterior side of the prayer hall had a timber attachment but it is no longer there. This place is quite captivating.

I keep visualizing how this place must have looked in the 2nd century BC. This place is quite remote  since it is at a certain height and away from the main city, back then it must have been so completely cut off. But, the architecture is certainly not back dated, it was quite advanced actually. There are structures that help in harvesting water.These structures look like water tanks so that rain water could be stored. Very interesting.

Buddhist 2nd century BC
rock-cut caves, Bhaja
Prayer hall

Monks living quarters
at Bhaja
One of the quarters
at Bhaja

You will find clusters of stupas in this complex, and there are quite a few interesting sculptures in the cave complex.

Stupas at Bhaja
Buddhist Stupa

Sculptures on the
walls of the cave complex
Sculptures on the
walls of the cave complex

A symbol carved in the
prayer hall
Bhaja caves
View from Bhaja caves

No comments: