These beautiful and strong standing 29 excavations still stand strong and are a powerful marker of history and the art and architectural wonders that the era had to offer.
After a very long and overdue family get-together, we all decided to pay these caves a visit. Being a weekday as well as a sticky monsoon one, we were quite sure that there won’t be a lot of people wandering around helping us get a much needed companionless look of the design.
Located in the Maval Taluka in district Pune, these caves echo the lives of the people that lived hundreds of years ago. With limited ways t build and rebuild, the caves are all carved out of one huge stone and belonged to the Hinayana Buddhism sect.
The so-called ‘rooms’ were quite small but had everything that a lone person would need. A bed, a place to set his lamp, a window for the view and ventilation, and, most important – silence!
In some of the rooms, the design was quite advanced. There were shelves made either in the wall or below the resting places. There was a common toilet made and used by all staying there.
Imagine waking up and retiring to this view every day. Only, that I’m sure that in them days, the lands must have been covered in thick forests with vibrant colours and life.
One of the larger caves belonged to an enormous, ornate horseshoe arched shrine, the chaitya. The Stupa in this chaityagriha is one of the unique wonders that I have seen and felt.
The moment you enter the cave and stand in nothing but stillness, you can hear your heartbeat echo and the aura simply starts filling you up in complete secrecy.
At one point, entrance to this cave was blocked but was soon opened for visitors. Quite a few pillars and the arch had carvings of human figures in them. Now a few are quite faded but if you see closely with proper light around, it makes you realise that people back then were quite artistic and true to their kind.
The Bhaja caves have a total of 14 stupas – five inside and nine outside. Ancient scripts show that these stupas are relics of resident monks, who died at Bhaja. An inscription with the names of three monks, Ampinika, Dhammagiri and Sanghdina can be interpreted.
The other group of Stupa’s were built behind the structure which was led by a narrow path.
There were quite a few of these built in between the pillars and deep inside smaller caves as well.
Being protected as a National Monument, by the Archaeological Survey of India, it was nice to see the place plastic free and clean. All the pillars and stones were washed and made free from all the writings and love gala’s of today’s idiots.
At the entrance of the caves, a bit of history has been shared for those who are interested.