[Architecture] Buddhist Rock Caves, Stupas, Chaitya, Vihar- features, purpose explained

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Pavan Kumar
  1. Types of Buddist Buildings
  2. Buddhist Rock cut caves
    1. Karle Caves, Pune
    2. Kanheri, Mumbai
    3. Bhaja, Pune
    4. Pandavleni, Nasik
Buddhist Buildings
Rock cut cavesAjanta, Kanheri, Karle etc.in Maharashtra (more details under next topic)
ViharasResidential quarters for Monks.
Stupas
  • Satvahan renovated Amaravati Stupa.
  • Amaravati Stupa is largest in South India. Marbles used instead of bricks and stones. its Inner side has engraving of Buddha’s life.
Chaityas or ChaityagrihaThis is the word used for

  • Temple
  • Worship place
  • assembly halls with a stupa (scroll down and see the photo of Karle caves, and you’ll understand)
SangharamasBuddhist monastery and school.

Buddhist Rock cut caves

Q. Write a note on the Satvahana Rock cut caves (200 words) OR

Q. Write a short note on Buddhist caves in India (200 words)

Note: there are many Buddhist caves, I’m listed only a few good & easy to remember caves associated with Satvahan that way it can be “fit” into both type of questions.

Satvahana kings were Hindus but patronized Buddhism as well & built Buddhist rock cut caves in Western India, particularly the Pune-Nasik-Mumbai region.

Karle Caves, Pune

Karle Buddhist Rockcut caves

  • Largest Chaitya-griha among all Buddhist monuments in India
  • Has a huge lion pillars in front of Chaitya-griha. (only two caves have this design- Karla and Kanheri)
  • stupa has cylindrical drum shape
  • Octagone shaped pillars behind Stupa, without any decoration

Kanheri, Mumbai

Kanheri Buddhist Rock cut caves

  • Second largest Chaityagriha in India, after Karle caves.
  • Lion Pillars at the Entrance. (Just like Karle caves)
  • Podhis: water cisterns for rainwater harvesting
  • Images of both Standing Buddha and sitting Buddha flanked by Bodhisattvas
  • Famous Satvahan king Gautamiputra Satakarni’s name mentioned in the inscriptions here.
  • Vihara for resting monks with rock cut seats and benches.

Bhaja, Pune

Bhaja Buddhist Rock cut caves

  • Hinayana faith
  • has Wooden ceiling over Chaitya-griha.
  • Stupa has a hole on top, for inserting wooden umbrella.
  • Verandaha has wooden reliefs showing royal women driving chariots over a demon.

Pandavleni, Nasik

  • Also known as Pandava’s caves
  • Inscriptions mention King Gautamiputra Satakarni’s mother Gautami Balasri had financed the construction of third cave.
  • Contains a panel depicting Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana

Ajanta, Aurangabad

  • Carved on a Horse shoe shaped rock pillar
  • Paintings depict Jataka stories.
  • Cave no. 9 and 10 attributed to Satvahan Kings
  • Hieun Tsang did not visit them but mentioned in his journal.

~208 words.
Visit Mrunal.org/HISTORY for entire Archive of History-Culture related articles published so far.

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One Comment on “[Architecture] Buddhist Rock Caves, Stupas, Chaitya, Vihar- features, purpose explained”

  1. tell me about pasupat sect?

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