Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found three caves in Buddhist Caves Complex in Nasik, Maharashtra.
- These new caves are being discovered about two centuries after the British military officer documented Tri-Rashmi Buddhist caves, which is also called Pandav Leni.
- The antiquity of the caves is yet to be established.
- The archaeologists studying them, however, believe they could be older than the Trirashmi caves.
- These caves may have been dwellings of Buddhist monks.
About the discovered caves:
- These caves were discovered on opposite side of the current complex. They are about 70-80 feet above the existing complex and have been carved out of a steep hill.
- They look like monks’ dwellings and older than the current complex.
- All the caves have verandahs and the characteristic square stone platform for monks.
- There are special arrangements for monks to meditate, similar to the Kanheri and Wai caves.
- Two of the caves have shared dwellings while third was perhaps occupied by one monk.
- Caves also have images of Buddha & Bodhisattvas and sculptures with designs of Indo-Greek architecture.
Note: The Buddhist sculptures and caves (in Nashik) are a significant example of “Indian rock-cut architecture” which represents Hinayana tradition of Buddhism.
About Trirashmi caves:
- Trirashmi or Pandav Leni caves caves were earlier called as ‘Trirashmi caves’.
- These caves are a group of 25 caves, carved out of Tri-Rashmi Hill between 2nd century BC and 6th century AD.
- Vihara and the Chaitya are the main caves among 25 caves.
- Complex of the cave was documented in 1823 by Captain James Delamaine.
- It is an ASI protected site and a famous tourist destination.
About The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI):
- The ASI is an Indian government agency attached to the Ministry of Culture that is responsible for archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in the country.
- ASI was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham- the first Director-General of ASI.
- Alexander Cunningham is also known as the “Father of Indian Archaeology”.
- It administers more than 3650 ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains of national importance.
- Its activities include carrying out surveys of antiquarian remains, exploration and excavation of archaeological sites, conservation and maintenance of protected monuments etc.