BUDDHIST CAVES

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Location: Uparkot (Junagadh), Gujarat.
Nearby Attraction: Jami Masjid.
Main Features: Ornate Pillars.


The Buddhist Caves form an important rock-cut group of the caves of Junagadh. The caves, scooped in three tiers, are situated on the descent from the Jami Masjid. The central section of the lowest storey has a main hall that is open to the sky. The base, shaft and capital of the carved pillars carry unique designs.

On the ground, the excavations are laid out along three laterally continuous portions, each of which is open to the sky in the main portion. If one enters it from the south, an 11 feet square pond can be seen. Around the pond, are covered corridors and verandah, and short steps running down to the base of the pond.

Buddhist Caves in Junagadh - GuajaratMAJOR FEATURES
Many vertical drains and small cisterns feed the pond. A series of socket holes, for fixing wooden shutters, to control the flow of water to different cisterns, can also be observed. The upper level of the rock roof reveals socket holes in regular alignment, which suggests that there once existed a superstructure, possibly of perishable material.

The pillars in these caves have spiral ridges on their shafts, octagonal plinth bases, and florally ornamented capitals carrying animal figures. The first chamber has a door in the northeast corner, which leads to a second, larger room of about 36 feet x 28 feet; with six carved columns to support the ceiling. The ceiling of the smaller apartment, which is to the northeast of this room, is soot-blackened, indicating that it might have been a kitchen.

A rock-cut stairway near the door of this cell leads to the hall on the lower storey. This well-furnished and decorative hall has Buddhist rail decoration on the frieze above the recesses. 'Chaitya' windows with a couple of female figures can also be seen.

THE CARVINGS
The hall has six pillars whose bases and capital mouldings have a marked similarity. The body of the capital has eight divisions; each section carries a group of women, multiple cobra-hoods, and dwarfed attendants. The bases have crouching lions at the corners and centres. The pillars can be dated to the 2nd century AD, as they resemble Satvahana's pillars.



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