Khandepar, Panaji, Goa.
East of Ponda, Highway 3, turn left before the bridge, turn right, signposted. Khandepar River.
|Cave Church Monolithic Church
Mrinmayee Thakur (2017):
Rock-cut Architecture: A case of Caves in Goa,
Goa College of Architecture, Bachelor Thesis.
|Caves of Khandepar.
|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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The Caves of Khandepar are four ancient rock-cut caves located at Khandepar River near Khandepar Village, hence the name. The were dug in the 12th century, some say during the 10th and 11th century. They were discovered in 1970.
The rock churches or temples are officially called caves, but actually they are freestanding and sculpted from the massive rock. This is called a monolithic temple, because it was sculpted of a "single rock".
On one side of a small square is a group of a single temple and two connected temples, on the other side of the square is a fourth single temple. The group of three temples is similar in pattern and all three are carved from a single block. They follow a Shikhara temple style with an interior of Buddhist origin. The fourth temple bears a pedestal which is believed to be used to hold a Shivalinga and, therefore, is considered as a meditation room. This supports the Buddhist origin theory, which would mean that the caves are older, probably even from the 9th century. Each of the four temple consists of two simple cells. The tiered roofs were added in the 10th or 11th centuries by the Kadamba dynasty. At this time the temples were appropriated and turned into Hindu temples.
Three km to the north is another monolithic temple named Ishwarbhat Cave which is of comparable age and style. This site is even better kept than the first group, the site is cleaned and the temple protected by a roof. However, there might be regular open hours and a fee for this reason.