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Bhaja Caves, Maharashtra
The Bhaja caves, a group of 18 caves, is located 12 kilometers from Lonavla in Maharashtra. Built during the reign of the Mauryan rulers in the 2nd century BCE, these caves are fine illustrations from the early Theravadin phase of Buddhism.
The Bhaja caves are the perfect examples of the phase of early Buddhist architecture, belonging to the early Theravadin period. Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism has been represented through numerous symbols in these caves. However, the caves which were carved after the 4th century CE, also presents the Buddha in His physical forms.
The pillars of these caves can be seen sloping downwards, some of them carved with figures of flowers and other images. The cave number 12th, a Chaitya hall, which is the largest of all has a fine stilted vault. The last cave towards the south illustrates the fine architecture and sculpture in ancient India. This cave includes the pictures of a dancing couple, a prince seated on an elephant and other images. Cave number 1, a dwelling house, and other 10 caves, which were viharas are master pieces of the architecture with a religious background. The remaining 7 caves contain inscriptions about the donors.
By Air : The nearest airport are at Mumbai(120 kilometers) and Pune(55 kilometers). The Mumbai airports are connected to different parts of India and world by major Indian and International airlines.
By Rail : The nearest rail heads are at Pune and Mumbai, at a distance of 40 and 110 kilometers respectively. However, a local train can also be taken to Malavali, 2 kilometers from the Bhaja caves.
By Road : The Bhaja caves can also be reached by bus, coach and taxi from other places such as Lonavla(12 km), Pune(40 km) and Khandala(14 km).
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