About Pandav Leni Caves
The Nasik Caves, or sometimes Pandavleni Caves (or Pandu Lena, Pandu Caves or Trirashmi Leni, Trirashmi being the name of the hills in which the caves are located, Leni being a Marathi word for caves), are a group of 24 caves carved between the 1st century BCE and the 3rd century CE, though additional sculptures were added up to about the 6th century, reflecting changes in Buddhist devotional practices mainly. Buddhist sculptures are a significant group of early examples of Indian rock-cut architecture initially representing the Hinayana tradition. Most of the caves are viharas except for Cave 18 which is a chaitya of the 1st century BCE. The style of some of the elaborate pillars or columns, for example in caves 3 and 10, is an important example of the development of the form . The location of the caves is a holy Buddhist site and is located about 8 km south of the center of Nashik (or Nasik), Maharashtra, India,
The "Pandavleni" name sometimes given to the Nasik Caves has nothing to do with the characters Pandavas, characters in the Mahabharata epic. Other caves in the area are Karla Caves, Bhaja Caves, Patan Cave and Bedse Caves.
Layout and content
The group of 24 caves was cut in a long line on the north face of a hill called Trirasmi. The main interest of this group lies not only in its bearing on its walls a number of inscriptions of great historical significance belonging to the reign of Satavahana & Kshaharatas or Kshatrapas. But also in its representing a brilliant phase in the Rock-Cut architecture of the second century CE. There are altogether 24 excavations though many of these are small & less important. Beginning at the east end they may conveniently be numbered westward. They are almost entirely of an early date and were excavated by the Hinayana sect. Mostly, the interior of the caves are starkly plain, in contrast to the heavily ornamented exterior.
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