Friday, 26 February 2010

February 26, 2010

Pandav Leni

Pandav Leni, (also Pandavleni Caves, Trirashmi Caves and other variations) (Leni is Marathi word for caves), are a group of 24 - 30, 1200-year-old Hinayana Buddhist caves.  These were built by various Buddhist kings as homes for the saints. Most of the caves are Viharas except for the 18th cave which is a Chaitya. The location of the caves is a holy Buddhist site and is located about 8 km south of Nashik, Maharashtra, India. The caves were carved out from the 4th century BC till 12th century CE as abodes for the idols of the local kings. The caves lodge idols of Buddha and Bodhisatva and the icons of Jain Tirthankar Rishabh, Veer Manibhadraji and Ambikadevi. The name of the caves originates from the legend about Pandavas. Some caves are intricately connected by stone-cut ladders that join them to the other caves. Steps lead to the caves from the bottom of the hill. The peak of the Pandavleni is also accessible by trekking of about 20 mins but the path is well built with steps.

Some of the caves are large and contain numerous chambers - these rock-cut caves served as a viharas or monasteries for the disciples to meet and hear sermons. They contain interesting sculptures. One of the vihara caves is older and finer in sculptural detail and is thought to be nearly as old as the Karla Cave near Lonavala. Another cave (cave No. 18) is a Chaitya and is similar in age to the Karla Cave and has a particularly elaborate facade.

The site has an excellent ancient water management system and skillfully chiseled out of solid rock are several attractive water tanks.

The caves can be traced back up to 1st century B.C. There are two main caves. The main cave which is the Chaitya (prayer hall) has a beautiful Stupa. Both the caves have some carvings also. The caves are facing eastwards. So it is recommended to visit the caves early morning as in sunlight the beauty of carvings is enhanced.

A very famous incident is told about the caves. Till around 1861, the carvings on the walls and the Stupas were in proper condition. A British Officer after hearing about this arranged his visit there. When the local officer came to know about this, he urgently employed labour to clean and paint the walls of the caves.

Inscriptions in caves 3,11,12,13,14,15,19 & 20 are legible. Cave 15 - 'Sri Yajna Vihar' inscription mentions Sri Yajna Satkarni, the last Satvahan King who ruled over the western Maharashtra. Similar inscription in cave 3 at Kanheri. This means probably the cave was carved during the beginning of 3rd century A.D. Other inscriptions note the names Bhattapalika, Gautamiputra Satkarni, Vashishthiputra Pulumavi of the Satvahanas and two of the Kshatrapas, Dakshamitra and Ushavadant. Cave 10 - 'Nahapan Vihar' is spacious with 16 rooms. During the llth century, Jain influence, idols of Tirthankar Vrushabhadev, Veer Manibhadra and Devi Ambika were installed. Idols of Buddha and Bodhisatva are locally identified as those of Yudhishthir, Bhim, Arjun, Nakul, Sahadev, Shrikrishna, Karna and hence the local name PandavLeni.

The caves were carved out in the 1st and 2nd century as abodes for the idols of the Jain kings. The caves lodge idols of Buddha and Bodhisatva and the icons of Jain Teerthankara Vrishabhdeo, Veer Manibhadraji and Ambikadevi.

How to Reach :
The caves are located high in the mountains of Pandavleni. Some caves are intricately connected by stone-cut ladders that join them to the other caves. Steps lead to the caves from the bottom of the hill. The peak of the Pandavleni is also accessible by trekking of about 20 mins but the path is treacherous and dangerous.

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Thursday, 25 February 2010

February 25, 2010

Lenyadri Caves

Lenyadri represents a series of about 30 rock-cut Buddhist caves, located near Junnar in Pune district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Cave 7 is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to the god Ganesha. It is one of the Ashtavinayak shrines, a set of the eight prominent Ganesha shrines in Maharashtra.

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. They generally have one or two sides with two long benches for occupants' use.

The caves date from between the 1st and 3rd century AD; the Ganesha shrine situated in Cave 7 is dated to the 1st century AD, though the date of conversion to a Hindu shrine is unknown. All of the caves arise from Hinayana Buddhism.

The current name "Lenyadri" literally means "mountain cave". It is derived from 'Lena' in Marathi meaning "cave" and 'adri' in Sanskrit meaning "mountain" or "stone". The name "Lenyadri" appears in the Hindu scripture Ganesha Purana as well as in a Sthala Purana, in association to the Ganesha legend. It is also called Jeernapur and Lekhan parvat ("Lekhan mountain").

The hill is also known as Suleman Pahar ("Suleman hill") or Ganesh Pahar ("Ganesha hill"). An ancient inscription calls the place Kapichita (Kapichitta). The caves are also known as Ganesh Lena or Ganesh Caves.

Lenyadri is located at 19°14′34″N 73°53′8″E, in the Indian state of Maharashtra in Pune district. Lenyadri is a deserted location, with no human settlement nearby. It is located at about 3 miles (4.8 km) from Junnar, the headquarters of Junnar taluka. It is situated on the north-west banks of river Kukadi, which flows between Golegaon and Junnar. It is also approached through Nanaghat, which was originally on the trade route between Aparantaka or the northern Konkan and the Deccan and descending to the plains of the Junnar town, dated to about 100 years before Christ was born. The circular hill, where Lenyadri caves have been emboweled, raises about 100 ft above the plains in the Hatkeshwar and Suleiman ranges.
Lenyadri is the only Ashtavinayaka temple on a mountain and within the precincts of Buddhist caves.

How to Reach :
One can reach Lenyadri from Mumbai or Pune in the following ways:
State transport buses are available for Junnar from the Shivajinagar bus stand of Pune, Kalyan ST bus stand in Thane district and from the Mumbai Central bus stand of Mumbai. Lenyadri is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Junnar. Rickshaws, jeeps and buses are available from the Junnar bus stand for travel to Lenyadri.
On the Pune-Nasik Highway, Lenyadri is 94 kilometres (58 mi) from Pune

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February 25, 2010

Bhaje Caves

Bhaja Caves are a group of 22 rock-cut caves dating back to 200 BC located at Karli, near Lonavala, Maharashtra. The location of Bhaja caves is not far from location of Karla Caves and these are stylistically similar to the Karla Caves. These caves are on a major trade route of the past that ran from the Arabian Sea eastward into the Deccan region, the division between North India and South India.

The Bhaja caves share the same set of architectural designs as Karla caves. Visually most impressive monument is large shrine - chaityagriha - with open, horseshoe-arched entrance part. The chaitrya has unique reliefs of Indian mythology. Other caves have a nave and aisle, with an apse containing a solid stupa and the aisle circling round the apse, providing the circumambulation path.

Notable part of monument is a group of 14 stupas, five inside and nine outside an irregular excavation. One of the caves has some fine sculptures. Near the last cave is a waterfall which, during the monsoon season, has water that falls into a small pool at the bottom

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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

February 23, 2010

Kharosa Caves

Kharosa is a village situated at about 45 km from Latur City in Latur district, Maharashtra, India.

The place is renowned for its caves, which were built around the 6th century. Other attractions include the beautiful sculptures of Narasimha, Shiv Parvati, Kartikeya and Ravana. There are about 12 caves, of which one has an image of seated Jins (Jain Tirthankar).There are about a couple of dozen carved panels depicting mythological stories.

Nearby villages are: Ramegaon, Kharosa, Shivani. The upper side of the hill you will find Renuka devi Temple and a Mosque side by side which shows the unity of Hindus and Muslims in the area. Everyone who come to visit the temple also visit the mosque. On the top side of the hill you will find source of water which is called as Seeta Nhani(Seeta's Bathroom) as they believe that Rama,Lakshmana and Seeta had once lived there. Villagers nearby are very co-operative and helpful.

How to Reach :
The nearest major railway station is the Latur Railway Station, on the Latur-Miraj rail route. It is about 45 km from Latur on Latur-Nilanga Road via Ausa-Lamjana. Car can go up to the caves on the left flank and up to Devi Temple on right flank of a small hillock. Regular buses which connect Kharosa with Latur and Nilanga/Udgir.

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Friday, 12 February 2010

February 12, 2010

Mangi Tungi

Mangi Tungi is a famous holy place for pilgrimage. This is a Siddha Kshetra where Ram, Hanuman, Sugriva, Nal, Neel, Mahaneel, Gava, Gavaksha and so many others, Total 99 Carores of ascetics attained salvation full & final freedom from world and went to Siddha Shila or Moksha, from where no one returns to the world and enjoys the internal spiritual bliss for infinite time. This Holy place is also related to Lord Ram & Sita, Lord Krishna & his elder brother Balram. 

This place is very old consists of two hills Mangi & Tungi. Inscriptions on so many idols are not clear. Many idol installed in V.S. 651 are here. Many inscriptions on rock are here in Sansakrit Language in Adinath & Shantinath Caves, but not clear. An inscription of V. S. 1400 is still there in Adinath Cave. Mulher’s Rathor King. Viramdeo’s name is written in many inscriptions, he ruled 400 years ago. King Viramdeo whenever went for war, he used to salute Devi Chakreshvari. He constructed many temples on both the hill Mangi & Tungi. Mulher may be a center of Jains some time in past. 

Atishaya (Miracle): So many groups of pilgrims have heard the musical sounds of various musical instruments in late night from these two hills. Some persons feel the path to hills invisible and see clear path to return, trying many time they are unable to see the path to hills and thus they have return without reaching the hills. It is said that only the pilgrims with pure sacred hearts are capable to reach there.

How to Reach :
Buses are available for Mangi Tungi from -
Nasik at 4:30 PM
Malegaon at 8:00 AM & at 6:00 PM
Manmad at 10:00 AM

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