These caves are some of the most ancient rock-cut temples not only in Maharashtra but in whole India and were located at complex site of the trade route, where the path goes through complicated mountain pass. Here have been found punch-marked silver coins from the times of Emperor Ashoka (268 – 227 BC). Thus it is possible that they were created in the 3rd century BC, although it is possible also that they were built somewhat later. At their heyday these temples were luxurious and most likely quite influential. It is possible that these caves are "Siristan" mentioned in inscriptions at Pandav Leni Caves, Nashik.
At the end of the 5th century AD the port of Chaul declined and trade routes changed. Around this time caves were abandoned. Once lively and beautiful complex of temples was forgotten.
In January 1890 caves were rediscovered to the science by missionary J.A.Abnot, although earlier these caves served as a hideout to revolutionary Vasudev Balwant Phadke.
Nowadays the beautiful location and exciting aura of these caves has turned them into popular destination for trekkers. Unfortunately this has turned into humiliation of Indian heritage – beautiful stone-cut ornaments and sculptures of gods and goddesses are covered with worthless graffiti left by "lovers".
Ancient rock-cut chambers are located in beautiful mountainous site. Most frequently used path starts in Thanale village and goes through dense forest, along waterfalls and mountain scenery.
Caves are located at the foot of overhanging enormous cliff. All caves are cut in a row. Unfortunately time has taken its toll – facades of caves have been lost due to natural circumstances – fall of rocks. Southernmost 8 – 10 caves are blocked by collapse of cave roof.
In total there were made 28 caves. Several caves have exquisite adornment – stone carvings on portals of the doors and ceilings including an impressive relief above the cell-door showing serpent deity – naga.
Cave 3 (counting from the northern side) contains 13 stupas.
Cave 13 contains remnants of plaster with paintings, discovered by M.N.Deshpande. Most likely these paintings were created in late period in the history of these caves – sometimes around the 5th century AD. Ancient artists used just a few colors – red and two shades of yellow, dark blue and white.
Nearby are located Karsamble Caves which also contain paintings, there are many smaller rock-cut cells in between both groups of caves.
Thanale Caves are included in the following list:
|Coordinates:||18.5690 N 73.3191 E|
|Categories:||Buddhist shrines, Rock cut temples and monasteries|
|Values:||Art, Architecture, History, Archaeology|
|Address:||Asia, India, Maharashtra, Raigad district, some 55 – 60 km west from Pune, 11 km east from Pali, 1.6 km south-east from Thanale village|
|Alternate names:||Thanala Caves|
|Age:||the 3rd – 1st century BC|
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.
Buddhism is one of the world religions and at the same time is a spiritual philosophy with diverse traditions, beliefs and practices. There exists rich tradition of architecture expressed in Buddhist temples and monasteries.
This is the one book you need to understand the spirit of India. Internationally acclaimed as the best book of its type on India, this sixth expanded, revised edition of the multi-award winning book India Unveiled: Spirit, Tradition, People by Robert Arnett truly reveals the diversity and sacredness of the oldest continuously living civilization on earth.
A spiritual history of the world’s most religiously complex and diverse society, from one of Harvard’s most respected scholars.