Nasik Caves, Pandavleni Caves, Trirashmi Caves - Buddhist Cave Architecture

Nasik caves are ancient rock-cut caves built on the Trirashmi hill about 3004 feet above the sea, hence are called Trirashmi Caves. They are also known as Pandavleni Caves. 

Nasik caves hold relevance for the current affairs section of both the IAS exam as well as various other competitive exams since it has been in news recently.

Nasik Caves or Pandavleni Caves – Why in News?

The Archaeological Survey of India – ASI has found three more caves in the Trirashmi Buddhist cave complex, also known as Pandav Leni, near Nashik, Maharashtra.

  1. A detailed survey of the hill will be done to check if there are more hidden caves. An extensive study of these caves may redefine the chronology of Buddhist caves in Maharashtra
  2. A preliminary examination has led archeologists to believe that these could be older than the Trirashmi caves. 
  3. The Trirashmi Buddhist caves complex was first documented in 1823 by Captain James Delamaine and is now an ASI- protected site.

The article will discuss in detail the Pandavleni Caves or Nashik Caves and their architecture which forms an important part of UPSC Syllabus.

Additionally, candidates can also read about the following Buddhist caves for relevant details-

  1. Ajanta Caves & Ellora Caves
  2. Kanheri Caves
  3. Elephanta Caves
  4. Barabar Caves – Lomas Rishi Caves, Sudama Caves, Karan Chaupar Caves and Vishwakarma Caves
  5. Karla Caves and Bedse Caves
  6. Bhaja Caves

Details regarding other monasteries and Cave architecture in Ancient India are available on the linked page.

Looking for study material to prepare for the upcoming Civil Services Exam 

Refer to the links below and complement your UPSC exam preparation:

Nasik Caves or Trirashmi Caves – Prelims Facts

Nasik Caves Prelims Facts
Name of the Cave Nasik caves, Pandavleni caves, Trirashmi Caves
Location Trirashmi Hills, Nasik Maharashtra
Type Ancient Rock-Cut caves
Carved 3rd century BC and the 2nd century AD (Source –
Form of Buddhism  Caves reflect the Hinayana sect of Buddhism
Number of Caves in Pandav Leni Complex 24 caves
Patronage  Can be associated with Satavahana and Kshatarapa rulers

Aspirants can check out the related links given below to do comprehensive preparation of upcoming exams – 

Buddhism – Definition, Origins, Teachings Teachings of Buddha
List of Buddhist Councils and Buddhist Texts Difference between Hinayana and Mahayana
Sanchi Stupa and Lion Capital NCERT Notes: Jainism In India
Differences between Buddhism and Hinduism Difference between Buddhism and Jainism

Nasik Caves Or Trirashmi Caves Or Pandavleni Caves Complex

  1. Nasik caves are a group of old Buddhist caves.
  2. Their northern frontage saves the Pandavleni caves from the sun and the south-west protects from rains hence much of the carved work of these caves and many long and most valuable inscriptions have passed fresh and unharmed through 1500-2000 years.
  3. These caves depict tales of the three Kings who once ruled Nashik – the Kshatrapas, the Satavahanas and the Abhirs.
  4. The Pandavleni caves are a group of 24 caves which are Hinayana Faith Buddhist Caves.
  5. Out of the twenty-four caves, there are two caves which are the major centre of attraction – the main cave called the Chaitya, meaning a prayer hall, has a beautiful Stupa inside. The second one is the tenth cave which is complete in terms of structure as well as in inscriptions.
  6. Trirashmi caves are great examples of intricate carving and craftsmanship with outstanding sculptures.
  7. The caves have the magnificent idols of Buddha and the popular Jain Tirthankaras such as Vrishabhdeo, the icons of Bodhisatva, Veer Manibhadraji and Ambikadevi are also there. Candidates can go through the list of 24 Jain Tirthankaras on the linked page. 
  8. The Inscriptions in the Nasik Caves talk about the King of Western Maharashtra, Kshatrapa dynasty, Satavahana dynasty, excavation of Vihars, Shrines, Chaityas and Cisterns of the caves and gift of a village to Nasik inhabitants.
  9. The Pandavleni caves have beautiful sculptures, chambers, unique water structures and stone ladders built inside the cave.
  10. The caves had an excellent arrangement for water, with skillfully chiseled water tanks, exquisitely carved into the rocks.
  11. The Dada Saheb Phalke Smarak lies at the foot of the Pandavleni caves and showcases the work of Dadasaheb Phalke.

Candidates can check the links provided below to assist their exam preparation – 

NCERT Notes: Art Of Indus Valley Civilisation NCERT Notes: Temple Architecture
Art and Culture During the Delhi Sultanate Period NCERT Notes: Indo-Islamic Architecture
Dravidian Architecture In India Art & Culture of Gupta Empire
NCERT Notes: Post-Mauryan Trends in Indian Art  NCERT Notes: Pallava Dynasty – Art And Architecture
NCERT Notes: Mauryan Empire: Art & Architecture Mahabalipuram: An Architectural Extravaganza

The facts about Pandavleni caves or Trirashmi Caves or Nasik Caves given in the article will help candidates prepare for the UPSC Prelims and Mains exams. 

UPSC Preparation related links-

IAS Salary UPSC Books
History Questions of UPSC Mains Government Exams
UPSC Current Affairs Quiz Topic-Wise GS 2 Questions for UPSC Mains
UPSC Monthly Magazine for Current Affairs Topic-Wise General Studies Paper-1 Questions in UPSC Mains

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