Tuesday Jun 18, 2024

Bhandara Buddhist Caves – Maharashtra

Address

Bhandara Buddhist Caves Induri, Bhandara Hill, Maharashtra 410507

Diety

Buddha

Introduction

Bhandara Caves are a small set of modest Buddhist excavations located on Bhandara Hill near Induri, 36 km north-west of Pune in Maharashtra. This archaeological site completely escaped the surveys performed by Alexander Cunningham and his associates back in the 19th century.

Puranic Significance

The original report on this site stated there were four caves, but it appears there could be as many as six although a few of them are now in a ruinous state due to collapsing of the hillside. The first cave is the largest and most complete, and now houses a shrine of deities Vitthal Rakhumai. The main other excavation still visible at Bhandara Caves is perhaps the most impressive; an open cell in an elevated position containing a 3m wide stupa with a band of rail pattern. There must have been some wooden stairs installed here to take the devotees up to the stupa and you can still scramble up to the stupa platform with some care taken. Sockets in the floor and in the three sides of this chaitya suggest that there was once a wooden/stone verandah sheltering the stupa. This configuration of chaitya is in fact very rare for the region. Having been exposed to the elements for many centuries now, the dome of the stupa is now partially damaged on the top. There is a complete absence of inscriptions at Bhandara Caves, but based on architectural elements it is believed these excavations started in the 2nd century AD. These most likely also connected this site to other nearby Buddhist cave complexes such as Bhamchandra, Nanoli and Ghoradeshwar (Shelarwadi).

Century/Period/Age

2nd century AD

Managed By

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)- Maharsthra

Nearest Bus Station

Bhandara

Nearest Railway Station

Ranala Station

Nearest Airport

Nagpur

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