Daily News Analysis

Buddhist caves

4th June, 2021 Culture

GS PAPER I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Context: Almost two centuries after a British military officer documented the Trirashmi Buddhist caves — also known as Pandav Leni — in a hill in Nashik, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found three more caves in the same area.

More about news:

  • The caves could be older than the Trirashmi Buddhist caves in a hill in Nashik, dated to 2nd century BC-6th century AD.
  • The antiquity of the caves — which may have been dwellings of Buddhist monks — is yet to be established; archaeologists studying them, however, believe they could be older than the Trirashmi caves.
    • The Trirashmi or Pandav Leni caves are a group of 25 caves that were carved out of Trirashmi Hill between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD.
    • The caves complex was documented in 1823 by one Captain James Delamaine; it is now an ASI protected site and a tourist destination.
    • These caves are assumed to be where Buddhist monks stayed.
  • These caves are on the opposite side of the current complex, and 70-80 feet above the existing complex.
  • The caves have been carved out of a steep hill, and looking at the style of carving, it looks like these were monks’ dwellings, older than the current complex.
  • Two of the caves, he said, appear to have been shared dwellings; the third was perhaps occupied by just one monk.
  • All the caves have verandahs and the characteristic square stone platform for monks.
  • There are special arrangements for monks to meditate, similar to the Kanheri and Wai caves.
  • The Buddhist sculptures and caves (in Nashik) are a significant early example of Indian rock-cut architecture representing the Hinayana tradition of Buddhism.
  • The caves have images of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, and sculptures with designs of Indo-Greek architecture.
  • Looking at the layout and architecture of these caves, it is possible that they were carved before the existing caves; however, their precise age can be ascertained only after proper study and comparison with the existing caves.”