Rock-Cut Caves

Jammu & Kashmir

Saspol Caves – Ladakh

Ladakh contains some amazing monuments of Tibetan medieval culture, perhaps the most famous and most visited among them being the temple complex at Alchi. But with a little prior research there are some hidden gems to be discovered, far less visited or known about to the outside world, and […]

Karnataka

Badami Caves and Temples

Badami is a small town 105km south of Bijapur and just 100km north-west of Hampi in Karnataka. Set at the western end of a lake almost completely surrounded by a horseshoe of sandstone hills, for me it’s possibly one of India’s prettiest archaeological sites. There are rock-cut and free […]

Madhya Pradesh

Maharashtra

Parvati Cave – Pune

Ask any Punekar what is the oldest surviving structure in Pune city, and they are likely to respond with Pataleshwar Caves. Situated on Jangli Maharaj Road (JM Road), these caves were carved out of the bedrock most probably in the Rashtrakuta period, around the 8th century C.E. Anyone […]

Bhamchandra Caves – Bhamboli

Bhamchandra Caves are a set of rock-cut excavations located near Bhamboli, 40 km north of Pune in Maharashtra. There are six caves in total at Bhamchandra, three are natural caves and a further three that probably started as natural caves and have been extended considerably. In addition to the caves, there are at least five cisterns evenly distributed across the site.

Bhandara Caves – Induri

Bhandara Caves are a small set of modest Buddhist excavations located on Bhandara Hill near Induri, 36 km north-west of Pune in Maharashtra.

Firangai Cave Temple – Nanoli Hill

My annual visit to Pune this year continued my ongoing project to visit the many cave temples that exist in the region. Having already visited the more famous examples such as Karla, Bhaja, Bedse and Kondana caves, I was keen to explore the lesser known examples in the area, of which there must be literally hundreds.

Ghoradeshwar Caves

Also known as Ghorawadi, Ghorawdeshwar and Shelarwadi Caves, Ghoradeshwar Caves are a small group of rock-cut excavations about 32 km north-west of Pune, close to the old Mumbai-Pune highway.

Kanheri Caves – Mumbai

Located deep within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, Kanheri Caves are a group of 109 Buddhist rock-cut monuments dating from the 1st – 10th century A.D.

Elephanta Caves

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, Elephanta Caves consists of seven 6th century rock-cut caves located on Elephanta Island (or Gharapuri, “the city of caves”), just outside Mumbai Harbour.

Mahakali Caves

Mahakali Caves – Mumbai

The Mahakali Caves, also known as the Kondivite or Kondivita Caves, are a series of rock-cut shrines 5km south-east of Jogeshwari Caves in Mumbai, dating from the 1st century B.C. to the 6th century A.D.

Jogeshwari Caves – Mumbai

Jogeshwari Caves in the Andheri district of Mumbai are amongst the earliest rock-cut cave temples built by Hindus in India. Dated to 520 – 550 A.D, they were once richly ornamented, but sadly due to their damp location the caves have been slowly crumbling for centuries.

Mandapeshwar Caves – Mumbai

Located near Mount Poinsur in the Borivali suburb of Mumbai, Mandapeshwar Caves is an 6th – 8th century rock cut shrine dedicated to Shiva.

Naneghat

Naneghat is an ancient mountain pass in the Western Ghats range near Junnar in Pune district of Maharashtra. During the reign of the Satavahana (200 BCE–190 CE), the pass was extensively used as a trade route between Kalyan (Konkan coast) and the Junnar region.

Bhimashankar Caves

The Junnar region in Maharashtra has the largest number of rock-cut caves in India, numbering over 200 independent excavations and spread over the four hills. All the caves here belong to the Hinayana phase and are datable from mid 3rd century B.C. to late 3rd century A.D. The presence […]

Bhutalinga Caves

The Junnar region in Maharashtra has the largest number of rock-cut caves in India, numbering over 200 independent excavations and spread over the four hills. All the caves here belong to the Hinayana phase and are datable from mid 3rd century B.C. to late 3rd century A.D.

Kondana Caves

Excavated out of solid rock some 2,100 years ago, Kondana Caves are a group of 16 Buddhist caves situated 33 km north of Lonavala and 16 km northwest of Karla Caves.

Amba-Ambika Caves

The Junnar region in Maharashtra has the largest number of rock-cut caves in India, numbering over 200 independent excavations and spread over the four hills. All the caves here belong to the Hinayana phase and are datable from mid 3rd century B.C. to late 3rd century A.D. The presence […]

Lenyadri Caves

The Junnar region in Maharashtra has the largest number of rock-cut caves in India, numbering over 200 independent excavations and spread over the four hills. All the caves here belong to the Hinayana phase and are datable from mid 3rd century B.C. to late 3rd century A.D. The presence […]

Tulja Lena Caves

Having explored the better known rock-cut caves near Pune (Bhaja, Bedse and Karla), I decided to take a day excursion to Junnar (90 km from Pune) to see and photograph further examples. The Junnar region in Maharashtra has the largest number of rock-cut caves in India, numbering over 200 […]

Bedse Caves

The small group of Buddhist excavations at Bedse (alternatively known as Bedsa), completes the trilogy of caves along with Karla and Bhaja that can be visited on a days excursion from Pune or Mumbai. Although from an architectural standpoint the Bedse Caves have little to add over and above […]

Bhaja Caves

Bhaja Caves (or Bhaje Caves) are a group of 22 rock cut caves dating back to the 2nd century BC,  located near Lonavala, Maharashtra. The caves are 400 feet above the village of Bhaja, on an important ancient trade route running from the Arabian Sea eastward into the Deccan Plateau (the division […]

Pataleshwar Caves

It’s hard to believe a place like this could be located on the downtown Jangli Maharaj Road (JM Road) in Pune. Most cave complexes I’ve visited in India have been situated in more rural locations, this comes as a complete surprise and is well worth a visit if you […]

Karla Caves

The enormous 1st century chaitya cave at Karla is also known as Karli and Karle. It’s considered to be the best preserved rock cut Buddhist prayer hall in India, although in my mind the examples at Ellora and Ajanta come pretty close. Karla is 28km south of Matheran, on one […]

Ellora Caves

Ellora Caves are 18 miles North-West of Aurandabad, so unlike Ajanta caves you won’t have such an early start in order to get there for opening time. I would recommend getting there early to once again try to avoid the hoards of tourists and school parties. Ellora represents […]

Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta Caves are located about 100km north east of Aurangabad, it takes about two hours to drive there from the city. If possible try to arrive early (for 9am) so you stand the best chance of enjoying them with the minimum of fellow visitors. The caves are very […]

Odisha

Panchu Pandav Caves – Bhubaneswar

Located in the east of Bhubaneswar city, Panchu Pandav Caves was always going to be on my list of places to see as I have a bit of a thing for rock-cut Hindu and Buddhist caves. I really wasn’t expecting too much, which was just as well as […]

Khandagiri Caves – Bhubaneswar

Located directly opposite the Udayagiri Caves complex on the other side of the road, Khandagiri Caves comprises of 15 caves in total, and it is believed the excavations here are a little later than Udayagiri. However, the use of the complex extended far longer than at Udayagiri, the last inscription at Udayagiri is dated to the 12th century A.D, but Khandagiri Caves continued to gain importance as a Jain tirtha, which it still is today. The caves were extensively renovated during the reign of Uddyotakeshari of the Somavamshi dynasty in the 11th century A.D.

Udayagiri Caves – Bhubaneswar

Dating back as early as the 2nd century B.C, Udayagiri Caves are a fascinating set of deep cut sandstone caves 3km west of Bhubaneswar in Odisha. Built by the Jain ruler Kharavela, the caves were part of a large Jain monastic complex. Whilst many of the caves appear to have been converted into shines, originally it is believed they served as dormitories and study areas for the monks.