In news- Three new small caves have been discovered by an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) employee at the PandavLeni cave complex in Nashik. The age of the new caves may be determined after their study is completed and documentation is carried out.
About the Pandav Leni caves-
- The caves are also known as Pandu Caves/ Trirashmi Buddhist Caves.
- It is a group of 25 caves that were carved out of Trirashmi Hill between the 2nd century BC and 6th century AD.
- The name is derived from the word “Tiranhu” which is inscribed in the Caves which means “rays of sunlight”.
- The caves complex was documented in 1823 by Captain James Delamaine.
- These caves were carved and donated by various kings that ruled Nashik – the Satavahanas, the Nahapanas, the Abhirs to the Buddhist monks.
- Some caves are intricately connected by stone-cut ladders that join them to the other caves.
- These rock-cut caves served as viharas or monasteries for the disciples to meet and hear sermons.
- Chaityas were used for chanting and meditation.
- The caves have images of Buddha, Bodhisattva, sculptures representing the King, farmers, merchants and rich iconography depicting a beautiful amalgamation of Indo – Greek architecture.
- The site has an excellent ancient water management system with several attractive water tanks.
- Inscriptions in caves 3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19 and 20 are legible.
- Since the caves were inhabited by the Mahayana as well as the Hinayana sects of Buddhism, a nice confluence of structural and carvings can be seen.