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Dev ni mori

Gujarat also known locally as Jewel of theWestern part of India , lures travellers with its rich treasure of culturalattributes, remnants of the past,diverse languages and colourful ambience. Land of temples, caves, topographicalhotspots and architectural wonders, this western state of India also maintains footprints ofBuddhism, Gujarat is a preferred destination for Buddhist monks and scholars travellingfrom all across the globe. Themost ancient archaeological evidences of Buddhism in Gujarat goes back to 269BC during the reign of Emperor Asoka. The ornate excavations and carvings on pillars,stupas, viharas and an exhaustive range of rock cut caves is evidence of the presence of Buddhism in Gujarat.

Junagadh

Some of the best known examples of Buddhistcaves found in Gujarat are located at Khapra-kodia caves near Junagadh. Thesecaves date back to the 3rd and4th centuries. Along with the caves at Khapra-kodia, the other caves at BabaPyara and Uporkot in Junagadh are also knownfor their historical and religious significance.

Junagadh district has been a prominent Buddhistcenter—right from the times of Ashoka’s reign. It is dotted with stupas, monasteriesand exquisite rock cut caves.

Some of the most prominent Buddhist places ofinterest in and around Junagdh are the Panheswer Caves, Ashokan rock edict atGirnar, Mai Gadechi, Matri, structural monastery at Intawa, Vajrapanat, SanaCaves, brick stupa at Bordevi, Mandor Caves and the caves near Prabhas Patan and Savni-Gir. Most these cavesare carved from monolithic rocks and are famous for their exotic art forms andsymbolic inscriptions.

Khambhalida Caves

Khambhalida caves are situated in Gondal nearRajkot. The site boasts of identifiable carvings of Boddhistava and is one ofthe most import centers ofworship for followers of Buddhism.

Vadnagar

Remains of a Buddhist monastery and residentialcaves were discovered in vadnagar . It is said that Hieun-Tsang, a ChineseBuddhist scholar and pilgrim hadvisited the site in 640 AD. He had chronicled that over 1000 monks and 10monasteries were flourishing in the region. The site contains remains of severalviharas, rock cut caves and other centers. Over 2000 artifacts, including anidol of Buddha, amphora, a crucible and jewellery items were found at variousplaces in this site.

Talaja Caves

Located approximately 32 km from Palitana, whichis an important place of worship for the Jains, Talaja Caves are visited bydomestic and internationaltravellers alike. Ebhala Mandapa is the most impressive structure at this siteand it’s a big hall dominated by four octagonal pillars. Talaja Caves are a collectionof over 30 caves in the center of a hillock and were primarily used by monks asplace of shelter during therains.

Devni Mori (Sabarkantha)

Dating over 1600 years back, Devnimori is knownto be an important monistic center for followers of Buddhism. Located on thefrills of River Meshwo nearShamlaji, this mammoth site boasts of several viharas, stupas, small caves andchaityas. Tourists travel from near and wide to have a look at its relics cast instone. It is believed that these remnants of Buddhism bear originalinscriptions carved by Lord Gautama Buddha.

Sana Caves

The Sana Caves offer remnants of a Buddhistestablishment and are located near Rajula in the Amreli District. These cavesare believed to be the mostancient of all Buddhist caves situated across western India. This interestinggroup of caves dates back to the 2nd century B.C. and is known for its ornately carved pillars,benches, stupas, chaityas and viharas.

Siyot Caves

The Siytot caves are situated in Lakhpat Talukaof Kutch and are one of the most prominent Buddhist caves in Gujarat. Thesecaves find a place of pride inthe writings of Huien Tsang, who mentioned them among caves found at the mouthof River Indus. Local folklores believe thatthese caves were erected at the site of a Shiva temple and were later occupiedby followers of Buddhism.

Kadia Dunger Caves

A monolithic iron pillar and seven caves dot theBuddhist presence in Kadia Dungar, which is located in the Bharuch District.These caves are situated at ahigh elevation and have engravings of monkeys, elephants and other inscriptionsin the Brahmi Language.

Buddhist Caves At Jami Massjid

Amongst all the Buddhist caves located atUperkot, the most popular are the ones to the North West of Jami Masjid. Thisgroup of caves is constructed inthree tiers. Two storeys have regular floors while the upper tier is marked bythe presence of a large tank. This tank is covered on three side by balconies andKakshasana on the north-west and western sides. The ground floor presentsseveral exquisitely carved pillars withprominent ground bases, shafts and crown in place.

Gujarat has been mentioned in several Buddhistbooks and literature like the Milinda Panha, Indriya Jataka, Petavatthu and soforth. During his visit to Indiain 64O AD, renowned Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang had noticed the presence ofover 200 monasteries which provided shelterto more than 2000 monks.

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