Some of the most impressive rock-cut caves in the vicinities of Pune city are the ancient Thanale Caves and also Karsamble Caves.
Map of the site
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Karsamble Caves are a group of 37 rock-cut structures located next to the trade route from the ancient port of Chaul. Caves are located at a complicated part of this route – next to the mountain pass. There are rather many impressive Buddhist rock-cut caves in similar locations.
Caves were built approximately in the 2nd century BC and were abandoned approximately at the late 5th century AD when the port of Chaul declined.
The abandoned caves were noticed by H.Cousens in 1881, around this time caves were used as a shelter of Indian revolutionary Vasudev Balwant Phadke as well.
Once upon a time, Karsamble Caves were luxurious monasteries rich with contemporary artwork – sculptures and paintings.
The main cave is large vihara with chaitya. A hollow portion on the ceiling indicated that it contained stupa. Around the hall, there were made several cells for monks.
Sometime later, after the removal of the stupa, the cave was enlarged. In the southern part of the cave, there was made large vihara with seventeen cells. There was made also vaulted chaitya-griha at the rear part – the northern part of the cave.
Another cave in this group contains two stupas. Still another cave contains remnants of painted plaster with bands of red, black, and white color.
There is another group of rock-cut caves some 250 m from the main group. Locals call this group – Chamar Lena. One more rock-cut cave is located to the south-east from the main group, on the escarpment of Ganasurat hill.
- Indian Archaeology, 1981 – 82 – a review, New Delhi, 1982.
Karsamble Caves are included in the following article:
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