July 16, 2019.
Welcome to the beta release of cavesofindia.org on the auspicious day of Asadha Purnima / Guru Purnima. On this day, teachers, mentors, and educators are venerated:
- The Buddhists pay homage to Sakyamuni
- The Jains pay homage to Tirthankara Mahavira
- The Hindus pay homage to Maharshi Veda Vyasa
This website is being created as a repository of information on the ancient rock-cut monuments of India. It offers help to advanced researchers, scholars, students, educators, and enthusiasts. The aim is to bring into the public domain many critical and fascinating details along with comprehensive and scientific documentation. This would enable greater awareness and discourses, deeper and wider researches, and multi-faceted understandings about an important chapter of India’s past. It is to help the present and future studies in the South Asian and Asian art histories.
There are as yet, numerous cave sites that are to be systematically documented. This calls for the greater engagement of the researchers, educators, and students to explore the many wonders and secrets of the Indian heritage.
Currently, this website covers select sites, including three world heritage monuments – Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta, Aurangabad, Pitalkhora, Bhaje, Karle, Kanheri, Ghatotkacha, Kondivite, Banoti, Shana Vakiya, and Prabhas Patan.
This website places emphasis on the photographic documentation of the rock-cut monuments, and pertinent descriptive information. This is therefore, an ever expanding repository of images and texts; and an ongoing project that will add newer content, year by year, as our field research, and documentation work continues.
Some caves were made for the Ajivikas in Barabar Hills of Bihar. Then the Buddhists adopted the rock-cut architecture to be followed by the Jains and Hindus.
A majority of the rock-cut monuments is located in the Deccan plateau regions of Maharashtra. The western ghats, now a declared world heritage site for wildlife, cradled more than thirteen hundred rock cut edifices.
Many dynasties directly or indirectly supported these ancient monasteries, such as the Mauryas, Satavahanas, Vakatakas, Traikutakas, early Kalachuris, Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Pallavas.
The architecture of these rock-cut monuments also contain treasures of Indian heritage including paintings, sculptures, and a myriad of decorative and aesthetic motifs and themes.
Particularly Ajanta is famous for the narrative paintings of Jatakas, Avadanas, and scenes from the life of the Buddha etc. A number of caves also have inscriptions in ancient Prakrit and Sanskrit, which are essential to the disciplines of history, epigraphy, Indology, Buddhist studies, religious studies, and archaeology.