‘Caves of Bandhavgarh not Buddhist’

Source: The post is based on the article “‘Caves of Bandhavgarh not Buddhist’” published in The Hindu on 6th October 2022.

What is the News?

The Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) has discovered remarkable archaeological remains in Madhya Pradesh’s Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve. The ASI said it documented second-century Buddhist caves and eighth and ninth-century Hindu temples in the region.

However, a professor explained that the caves are not Buddhist. In Buddhist caves, there should be memorial stupas and carvings that have an overtly Buddhist character. These are absent in these caves.

What has been discovered by ASI at Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve?
Must read: Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) unravels remarkable Archaeological remains in Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve

Caves created by command man: There are caves near the Chakradhara meadow, on the hill ridges and near the plateau. These were caves created mainly by men of commerce and craftspeople, and very occasionally by kings.

One epigraph describes the cave as a sarthika lata or cave for caravan people. The creators also made tanks near the caves and one cave was described as a vayamasala or gymnasium.

Hindu religious Temples: Temples in large numbers, dedicated to Shiva, were built atop the plateau, on the hill slopes below and in the flatlands. Sculptures depicting the 10 avatars of Vishnu were also described.

A couple of centuries later, a minister in the court of King Yuvarajadeva got a Vishnu image (the Seshshayi) and several avatars of Vishnu — Varaha, Matsya and Kasyapa — with inscriptions in their vicinity.

What is the significance of the findings at the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve?

They are the first dwellings systematically created in the forest in the 2nd century BCE. The findings will explain the significance of ancient and medieval relics.

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