Khambhalida, Gujarat 360370.
7 km off national highway 8B near Virpur.
All year daily.
|Khambhalida Buddhist Caves, Khambhalida, Gujarat 360370.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|caves discovered by the archaeologist P. P. Pandya.
બૌદ્ધ ગુફાઓ, ખંભાલીડા (Khambhalida Buddhist Caves) are named after the village Khambhalida where they are located. They are maintained by the Archaeology Department of Gujarat State. The caves are off the beaten track, no big cities or tourist hotspots nearby, so there are not many visitors. Unlike many other caves, they were carved out of limestone, not granite or gneiss, or other crystalline rocks, which made the creation of caves and sculptures easier, but also made them less resistant to weathering. There are in total 15 caves from the 4th and 5th century located on both sides of a small rivulet. The main site has three caves, the central cave is a chaitya with a worn out stupa.
The site has Far Connection Legend which says that it was connected underground to Junagadh caves which are located 37 km southwest. The fact that the connection was underground made it so popular that many Buddha Saints used it to travel to Khambhalida for meditation. We think a subway would be the minimum, but they were less pretentious in the 4th century.
In the 4th century, Buddhism was gaining popularity in this section of the country and had a significant impact on Khambhalida. The chaitya-griha, or shrine, was created in the center of site. The sculptures and inscriptions preserve the history of the Kushana Kshatrapa period. The intricate carvings show Bodhisattvas, Avalokiteshvara, and Vajrapani. On the right side of the entrance to the chaitya cave, Padmapani is depicted with a female companion and five attendants, under an Ashoka-like tree. On the left side is a dwarf who looks like a yaksha and is clutching a basket, most likely Vajrapani.