Sanjay Gandhi National Park |
...applies to the first of a long
succession of 'rock-cut cathedrals', now more prosaically known as
'cave temples', which date from the last century BC onwards. They
are found principally in western India, inland from Bombay, where
sudden folds and gashes at the edge of the Deccan plateau expose
long, snaking strata of sheer rock. No doubt here were natural caves
which, affording secluded shelter and yielding readily to the
sculptor's chisel, inspired the idea of more elaborate excavations.
These followed entire monastic establishments with prayer chambers,
deep pillared halls, lofty stupas, finely fretted facades,
and airy meditation cells, all connected by galleries and staircases
and all cut and carved into the solid rock."
The main one which has colossal figures of standing Lord Buddha, 7m in height, on each side of the entrance porch, a colonnade of 34 pillars surrounding the interior halls and a over topped stupa (shrine) at the far end, all carved in to the existing basaltic rock. These caves are dated from 1st century BC to 9th century AD indicating an well-organized Buddhist establishment of monks which existed on an ancient trade route connecting a number of trade centers & Indian ports.
Image Gallery of Kanheri caves:
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