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Panhalekaji Caves

Discovered in 1970 Panhalekaji is a complex of 28 – 29 caves filled with exquisite art value wrt architecture and quality of craftmanship. These budhist caves have a few inscriptions in Brahmi and Devanagari and also remnants of statues from 3 AD. Panhalekaji is about 35 Kms from Dapoli and the drive will take just over hour from Dapoli but well worth it! Panhalekaji is locatet at a distance of about 30 kms from Dapoli.

History

History

History The caves are not all together but spread around, only a few actually even touch each other. This adds quite a bit of beauty as well as individuality to each cave. There is absolutely no information written about the caves anywhere at the site, which is quite unfortunate. I would have loved to know more the men (or women) who dwelled in these caves and a little more about the lives they led. Also the caves are not all same, some are minimalistic while others have elaborate carvings. Some area smaller while others larger. Of course, each of these would have served a different purpose but most of it left to the guesswork of travellers.I was extremely curious about the history of the caves when I was there, and sadly found absolutely nothing on site. Coming back I did a little bit of internet research and found precious little detail about the place. All I could gather was that the caves are about a thousand years old. The collection of twenty nine caves have sculptures Hinyan Buddhist sect, Tantrik Vajrayan sect, and the Nath sect; though for a novice I like me that requires even more research.

The Caves

The Caves

The caves There are a total of twenty nine caves here. They are a combination of Hindu and Buddhist ones, though am not sure how this combination actually happened. In fact there are other sites in Maharashtra which have Jain caves as well. Panhalekaji Buddhist Hindu Jain caves konkan maharashtra travel tourism Entrance to one of the caves… The caves are not all together but spread around, only a few actually even touch each other. This adds quite a bit of beauty as well as individuality to each cave. There is absolutely no information written about the caves anywhere at the site, which is quite unfortunate. I would have loved to know more the men (or women) who dwelled in these caves and a little more about the lives they led. Also the caves are not all same, some are minimalistic while others have elaborate carvings. Some area smaller while others larger. Of course, each of these would have served a different purpose but most of it left to the guesswork of travellers. The caves at right next to a Kotjai river, and you can immediately see the practical usefulness of this. Even today the place is far far off and rather challenging to reach, back then living here would have been living a life of absolute seclusion. This also made it self sustainability critical to survival. River provided water, the forests provided food and the nature provided all the inspirations needed for meditation.

How To Reach

How To Reach

his is the journey we followed to the Panhalekaji Caves. We started from Dapoli towards Khed. Midway came Walkoli and we took a right turn towards the caves from there. It does not exist on Google map so mapping it is impossible. Unavare are hot water Springs closer by and you can map that to come closer by and then ask for directions. The drive to the caves is also the most challenging part of the journey. I believe that it must be due to financial constraints that there is almost zero promotion of this place so you won’t even know this place exists. As you take the diversion from the main road you can see the signboard but they disappear when you take the turn. The road is pretty deserted and there aren’t too many people to ask directions from.

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