Gopi (Gopi-ka-Kubha, milkmaid) is a cave available by stepping up a flight of megalithic steps. It has got the largest chamber in the group. The cave contains several important inscriptions, some of these testify that son of Ashoka – Dasaratha (reigned in 232 – 224 BC) – has devoted these caves to Ajivika – thus these structures might be some 50 years younger than caves at Barabar. It is possible that the cave was used also in the middle of the 19th century by some Islamic eremites. The cave is 12.3 m long and 5.8 m wide, both ends of the chamber are semi-circular. The roof is vaulted, up to 3.2 m high. This cave has polished walls and floor – the famous “Mauryan polish”.
North from Nagarjuna Cave there is the second cave – Mirza Mandi (house of Mirza). Next to it, there is a dry well – this can explain the other name of it – Vahiyaka, Vapuiyaka Kubha, Vapya-ka-Kubha – “cave of the well”. Nearby there are remnants of several buildings – possibly viharas – Buddhist shrines. The cave contains inscription: “The Vahiyaka Cave was assigned by Dasaratha, His Sacred Majesty, immediately after his consecration, to the venerable Ajivikas, for as long as sun and moon endure.” (4) Other caves have similar inscriptions, just the name of the cave is different.
Through an enormous crevice one can reach the third cave – Vedathika Kubha (Vadithi ka Kubha, Vadathi ka Kubha).
Although caves might have been created for Ajivika, it is possible that for some period of time some caves contained Buddhist stupas too.
- The Barabar Caves. A Passage to India by David Lean – last accessed in 21.03.2010.
- Nagarjuni Caves. Indian Travel Portal – last accessed in 22.03.2010.
- Adwaita P. Ganguly. India, Mystic, Complex, and Real: A Detailed Study of E.M. Forster’s a Passage to India : His Treatment of India’s Landscape, History, Social Anthropology…. 1990.
- Vincent Arthur Smith: Ashoka: The Buddhist Emperor of India. Clarendon, Oxford 1920.
Nagarjuni Caves on the map
|Location, GPS coordinates:||25.0089 N 85.0785 E|
|Categories:||Ancient shrines, Rock cut temples and monasteries|
|Values:||Architecture, History, Archaeology|
|Rating:||(1.5 / 5)|
|Where is located?||Asia, India, Bihar, Jehanabad district, 24 km north of Gaya, 1.6 km east-north-east from Barabar Caves|
|Age:||Around 230 BC|
|Alternate names:||Nagarjuna Caves, Nāgārjunī|
India is seventh largest country of world by area, and, naturally such a large area contains huge amount of exciting attractions…
Wondermondo considers that India is the second richest centre of architectural heritage in the world after Europe and may be no single country of the world can match it in this respect.
Rock cut architecture is a very ancient form of architecture and some of the oldest rock cut structures were tombs and dwellings.
The stories in this collection are in general set in India, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia, places to which the author traveled while living and teaching in Japan, a country which is situated in such a way so that it provides a gateway to other countries in the Far East.
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