Saturday Jun 22, 2024

Lenyadri Buddhist Cave Temple, Maharashtra

Address

Lenyadri Buddhist Cave Temple, Lenyadri Tal, Lenyadri Ganapati Rd, Junnar, Maharashtra 410502

Diety

Buddha

Introduction

Lenyadri Caves, are a group of about 30 rock-cut Buddhist caves, located about 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi) north of Junnar in Pune district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The Lenyadri caves date between the 1st and 3rd century AD and belong to the Hinayana Buddhism tradition. Twenty-six of the caves are individually numbered. The caves face to the south and are numbered serially from east to west. Caves 6 and 14 are chaitya-grihas (chapels), while the rest are viharas (dwellings for monks). The latter are in the form of dwellings and cells. There are also several rock-cut water cisterns; two of them have inscriptions. The layout of the caves, in general, are similar in pattern and shape. Cave 7 – originally a Buddhist vihara – were at an unknown later date appropriated for the worship of the Hindu god Ganesha. The rest of the cells and the hall of Cave 7 remain in their original form.

Puranic Significance

Cave 1: Cave 1 is divided into four parts: a veranda, a middle room, a cell, and a half cell. The veranda has a bench along the right wall. Its front possibly had two quadrangular pillars; traces of one are seen around the ceiling. Cave 2: Cave 2 is similar to cave 1 in design. The veranda has two pillars and two pilasters, a bench between each pillar and pilaster with curtains in the back, which have a rail pattern. Over the pillars rests the rail-patterned rock beam, above which is the ceiling. Parts of the pillars and pilasters are broken. Cave 3: Cave 3 has an open veranda and a cell. The veranda has a bench along the back wall. A door leads to a cell, which has a seat in a left recess. In front of the recess, below the seat, are vertical bands. Cave 4: Cave 4 has an open veranda and a cell. The veranda has a bench, along the back wall. A grooved door leads to a cell, which has a bench along the right wall. A broken window is to the left of door and to its right, a small hole, which could have been used to wash feet before entering the cell. Cave 5-7: Cave 5 is located 12 feet (3.7 m) lower to left of cave 4. It is divided into 3 parts: veranda, a middle hall and seven cells of varying size, three in the back wall and two in each side wall. Thus it is known as a saptagarbha layana (seven cell dwelling). The veranda had two pillars and two pilasters with pot capitals of the Satakarni period (B.C. 90-A.D. 300), of which only the right broken pilaster and a trace of the base of the right pillar remain. Cave 8: Cave 8 is a difficult-to-reach dwelling. It consists of a veranda with a cell and a half cell in its back wall, both entered through the veranda. The cell has a broken door, a small window, benched recess and a peg hole. The half cell has an open front and a bench at the back. Cave 9: Cave 9 located to the right of Cave 8, can be entered via the latter’s veranda. Cave 9 has its own veranda and a hall. The veranda has four Satakarni-period, broken pillars. Cave 10: Cave 10 is located at a higher level than cave 9 and is difficult to reach as its front is broken. An open veranda with a broken ceiling and floor leads to a middle room through a grooved broken door, which has windows on either side. Cave 11: Cave 11 is difficult to reach with a broken front and a hall. To the left of a hall is a cell, lower in height than the hall. The hall has a grooved doorway and a recess with a seat at the back. Cave 12: Cave 12 is a small dwelling entered by a door from the veranda of cave 11. It has its own open veranda, which has a partly broken floor and ceiling and recessed benches on the left and right of the door to the middle room. Cave 13: Cave 13 on a slightly higher level than cave 12, is a small dwelling with an open court and from 2 steps lead to a veranda. To the right of the court is a cistern. The veranda has a bench along its right wall. The front of the veranda has 2 benches, flanked by a plain eight-sided pillar and pilaster; some remnants of these survive. On the right pilaster is a double crescent ornament. Cave 15: Cave 15 is a small dwelling consisting of a cell with an unproved doorway and a veranda. Though the side walls of the cave are still preserved, the ceiling is half broken. Cave 16: Cave 16 is a small dwelling, on a slightly higher level above cave 15. It has a cell with a bench along its right wall and a veranda, which leads to the cell through a door. The side walls as well as a part of the ceiling are broken. Cave 17: Cave 17 comprises a series of three small dwellings located along a row with a shared veranda. Cave 18: Cave 18 is a dining hall with a front wall and a grooved doorway, on either side of which are windows. A bench runs along the back and side walls. Cave 19: Cave 19 is a Stupa cell without a front wall and a bench runs along the left wall. The ceiling shows signs of a dressed stone or wooden screen from the right wall to the end of the bench. Cave 20: Cave 20 is a small dwelling, hard to reach as the front is broken. Cave 21: Cave 21 is approached through a small crevice from cave 20, in the absence of any direct approach. Its living space has a veranda of fairly large size. Cave 22-25: Cave 22 adjoins cave 21 on the left and it was also a dwelling unit with a bench for the entire length of the back wall. A window from this hall overlooks another smaller room.Cave 23, has two dwelling units with a long passage with shallow niches with seating provisions on the left wall. Cave 24 is a long cave with difficult access that leads into a cistern with seating arrangements in the niches. Cave 25 is longer than cave 24 with several small and big rooms. Cave 26: This is plain cave located below cave 6, which is a chaitya (chapel) cave.

Century/Period/Age

1st and 3rd century AD

Managed By

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

Nearest Bus Station

Lenyadri

Nearest Railway Station

Talegaon

Nearest Airport

Pune

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