Chronologically 7th Chaitya Cave @ Budha Leni, Nasik

Chronologically this Chaitya cave comes to number 7th position.

This is the first travel of Lokapriya and her friends to float on Arabian sea for trading from the Deccan plateau.
With few rays of crimson red from the horizontal line they can see the dark shade is slowly coming to trade route. Within 1 hour they have to find a shelter to spend this night. 

Suddenly they can hear a sharp bark, might be its a tame. Which is the signal of human society close by. And after some steps they found the shelter: a rock-cut caves.

They came in front of ‘Chaityagriha’ and see Sanket is coming out from the horse shoe shaped door . They request her for one night stay here and Sanket asked for their identity.

After listening about their journey she welcomed them and asked to go Gautamiputra vihara. And today’s date is mid of Sept, 1st century BCE.

The first artefact about my most fascination object, i.e. the Buddhist cave.

The Budha Leni or Pandav Leni (Trirashmi Leni) is a collection of 24 different types of cave in Nasik outskirt. These caves also called as Nasik Caves. In Marathi language Leni means the cave and Trirashmi is the name of the hillock where the caves are located. 

Based on the inscriptions inside the caves its deducted that these series of caves was excavated by Nahapana during 1st or 2nd century CE. 


It is believed that the caves were curved in between the 1st century BCE to the 3nd century CE. Actually these caves were representing the rock-cut architecture of India and organised in a form of cave-complex. 


The caves were the holy Bhudhist devotional practice for Hinayana tradition. The cave complex is also know as Pandu leni and there is no connection of Pandavas from Mahabharat with the naming derivation. The origin of Pandu was from the Pali word Pundru which means yellow or ochre colour. 

Originally the caves were the residence and prayer hall of Buddhist monks who used to wore the chivara in common English it is called as the yellow robes. The name Pandu cave is the abnormal change of the word Pundru, then a misnomer turns to Pandav and now it is popular as Pandav cave of Nashik.

Cave 18: an ornate of outside of Chaitya cave

There are mainly two forms of Buddhist caves one is Vihara form and other one is Chaitya form. Chaitya means the prayer hall whereas Vihara refers to the monastery for the Buddhist monks. There is a chronology of the Chaitya cave in Western India during the period of 1st century BCE to 5th century CE and all the caves which had been built under royal sponsorship. 
Some of the caves are in Vihara form where only one cave in Chaitya form which is of 1st century BCE i.e. the Cave number 18.


Generally during the monsoon season the bhikkhus took shelter inside the vihara which is an arrangement of space for pleasure and entertainment with adjacent living quarters. 


This cave is with a beautiful stupa inside and the nave from door to the stupa. The stupa or dagoba surmounted by a small a dome with a heavy capital. The interior patterns like five octagonal pillars with high base and five without bases round the dagoba, divide off the side aisles. 
View from inside of Cave 18.

The gallery under the great arch of the window is supported by two pillars, which is the same structure of all the Chaitya caves. It is strongly believed that a wooden frame might be fastened between them, probably to hold a screen. 


The cave has images of Buddha, Bodhisattva, sculptures of kings, farmers and merchants. Some iconographies portrait a beautiful amalgamation of Indo - Greek architecture.


Inside the cave there are some solid rock beautiful water tanks present. No doubt it was a great ancient water management system in the rock which skilfully chiseled out.


The cave 3 (Gautamiputra vihara) is the largest and most significant within the cave complex as this cave holds numerous important inscriptions. The veranda has six octagonal columns without bases between highly sculptured pilasters. The capitals of these pillars are distinguished from the Cave No.10 (Nahapna) by the shorter and less elegant form of the bell-shaped portion. The corners of the frame are supporting four animals on each capital, bullocks, elephants, horses and sphinxes.


This is a vihara form cave which provided the shelter to the Buddhist monks and inside the cave 18 monk cells are laid out. It was built and dedicated to the Samgha in the 2nd century CE by Queen Gotami Balasiri, mother of Satavahana king Gautamiputra Satakarni.


The Cave 10 which is known as Nahapana is the 2nd largest and contains six inscriptions of the family of Nahapana. This cave is dated circa 120 CE. The six pillars have more elegant bell-shaped capitals than those in Cave No.3 and the style os bases are alike with Karla Cave Chaitya. It was donated by Dakhamitra, the daughter of King Kshaharata Nahapana.


The Cave No.17 (Yavana) is the 3rd largest and was built by a devotee of Greek descent, who presents his father as being a Yavana from the northern city of Demetriapolis. This cave is also dated to around 120 CE. The capital of pillars and the veranda are quite peculiar in looks. 


A image of Bodhisattva was executed inside the cave.  From the inscriptions it is believed that the Bodhisattva images has been incorporated later in the cave.


The panoramic view of Nasik city from the cave. The cave is located outskirts Nasik city around 8 km off.


The Trirashmi is the derivation  of  word Tiranhu which means the rays of sunlight because the caves are facing towards east and the morning sunlight gives an immense view to the base village of the hill. The local started to calling the cave as Trirashmi. So, try to visit in morning as a marvellous view of the caves can be caught.


How to reach: I went there from Pune through bus by Neeta travels. I prefer this bus as it has both single and double seat occupancy and for the breakfast it stops at Alephata, a small village on the way to Nasik from Pune. A mesmerising view of hills with my favourite view of NH. 


The NH 60 connects Pune and Nasik, previously it was named as NH3 and NH 50.

Just have your breakfast from the small road side restaurant and enjoy the road view. There are lots of buses of Shivshahi (Govt. operated) from Nasik Phata. Take a drop at Dwarka and hire an auto rickshaw or book Uber/Ola to visit Buddha Leni. It may charge around 150 INR.

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  1. লেখা আরও তথ্য সম্বলিত হলে আকর্ষক হবে। সবমিলিয়ে ভালো প্রচেষ্টা।

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    1. Actually I am writing a Chronology of Rock-cut Buddhist cave and it is in 7th position. Already wrote for about the 2nd cave. Please follow to get the collected details..

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