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Books > Art and Architecture > History > The Caves of Panhale-Kaji - Ancient Pranalaka (An Old and Rare Book)
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The Caves of Panhale-Kaji - Ancient Pranalaka (An Old and Rare Book)
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Foreword
The present work "Panhale Kaji" ancient Pranalake, is one of the two monographs, produced by Shri M.N. Deshpande, former Director General, Archaeological Survey of India when he was the Director of the Research Project entitled "Technological and Archaeological Studies of Western Indian Caves", sponsored and financed by the Nehru Centre, Bombay. The other monograph prepared by Shri Deshpande is "Early Hinyana Caves of Kondivte (Bombay sub district), Thanala and Khadsamla (Raigadh district)". We would like to record our gratitude to the authorities of the Nehru Centre, in particular to Dr. Raja Ramanna, General Secretary of the Centre, for having acceded to our request to publish both the monographs by the Archaeological Survey of India. Archaeological Survey of India itself has financed the excavations and scientific clearance operations of the caves to facilitate the research work of Shri Deshpande. It is, therefore, our privilege to place this monograph before the scholarly world. We do hope to publish the second volume on the Hinyana Caves ere long.

The value of the present work to the study and understanding of the religious and cultural history of Maharashtra, -particularly on the Buddhist rock-cut activity during the ascendancy of Vajrayana at Ellora and Kanheri has been set out by the author in his preface to this work. We are very grateful to Shri Deshpande for agreeing to the publication of this monograph by the Archaeological Survey of India. We hope this volume will be well received by the academic world.

I would like to record my appreciation to Shri K.N. Dikshit, Director (Publications) and his colleagues as well as M/s Vap Enterprises for this neat production.

Preface
This monograph contains the results of my study of the group of caves situated at Panhale (Kaji) in district Sindhu-durg, Maharashtra State. These caves were brought to light by Shri Annasaheb Shirgaonkar of Dabhol in 1970, and were explored and later cleared of the debris by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums; Government of Maharashtra. In my capacity as the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, I visited these caves, in the year 1974, and found them to be of great importance in the larger perspective of Indian rock-cut art and architecture and, at the same time, in reconstructing the cultural and religious history of Maharashtra. On my recommendation, the caves were brought under central protection by the Archaeological Survey of India as a National Monument.

After I joined the Nehru Centre,Bombay, as Advisor and also assumed charge as Director of its Archaeological Project: 'Technological and Architectural Survey of Western Indian Caves', I decided to study the Panhale caves, as they posed a number of questions about their age, affiliation and identification of the icons discovered in them . I visited these caves a number of times and found that they threw a flood of light on the religious and cultural history of Maharashtra, especially on the Buddhist rock-cut activity during the ascendency of Vajrayana at cave centres like Ellora and Kanheri. But, the Panhale caves are of singular importance for they specialize in the worship of Akshobhya, one of the five dhyani Buddhas of Vajrayana pantheon and other gods of his family (kula). The history of cave architecture of Panhale, anciently called Pranayama, begins in the 3rd century A.D. when monks of the Hinyana order of Buddhism started their activities in the Konkan region. Their early excavations are unpretentious viharas meant for quiet residence and meditation. Later, the centre developed into a prolific centre of tantric Vajrayana ritual and worship with Aksobhya as the chief patron god. In one of the caves was found an image of Mahacandarosana, a very fierce deity of the Aksobhya family. The find of these icons suggests a highly secret and esoteric tradition of tantric ritual worship This tradition came to an end with the rising tide of Brahmanism and the monastic centre saw the transformation of old Buddhist caves into temples for the worship of brahmanical gods and goddesses.

Surprisingly, the place gained importance as a centre of Natha sampradaya, with two caves, entirely devoted to the worship of Natha teachers like Matsyendranath, Gorakhanatha and other deities. One of the caves contains sculptural representations of the eighty-four Natha siddhas, a feature not to be met with elsewhere in India.

I am very happy to be able to complete this study and place it in the hands of the readers. This would not have been possible but for the facilities provided to me by the Nehru Centre, Bombay. Shri Rajnibhai Patel, who deserves my grateful thanks, is unfortunately not amongst us. I take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to him. He was one of the founder members and first General Secretary, Nehru Centre, Bombay and was instrumental in asking me take up this Project on Western Indian Caves. It was Dr. B.V. Subbarayappa, Director, and Discovery of India Project of Nehru Centre who persuaded me to join the Nehru Centre. I am thankful to him for his help.

Shri S.E.Sukhtankar, former Chief Executive of Nehru Centre was always willing to pro-vide facilities and placed a vehicle at my disposal to enable me to make study-trips to the caves. Unfortunately he has since passed away but I consider it my duty to place on record my grateful thanks to him.

I was able to secure for my Project the services of Dr. Y.A. Raikar, as Senior Field Archaeologist, and of Shri P.A. Rane, as Draftsman-Artist. Both of them endeavoured their best to be of assistance to me in the study of the caves. I am thankful to both of them. I take this opportunity to thank Shri Sadashiv Gorakshakar, Director, Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay, for allowing me to use the museum's library and more particularly for drawing my attention to the critical edition of Mahacandarosana tantra by Dr. Christopher S. George of the Harvard University, U.S.A. and which Shri Gorakshakar had just then acquired for the Museum's library. He also invited me to deliver the Coomaraswamy Memorial lectures on the subject of my research on Western Indian Caves in the year 1980 when I had just completed the first phase of my work. This gave me an opportunity of interacting with scholars and thus helped me in undertaking further work in greater depth.

Shri P.D. Chandwadkar, Exhibition Officer, Nehru Centre, visited Panhale in one of my trips and took some excellent photographs at a time, when I needed the services of a photographer. I thank him profusely for this help.

Dr. A.P. Jamkhedkar, Director of Archaeology and Museums of Maharashtra Government helped me in various ways. He allowed me access to the photographic record of the work carried out by his Department prior to the protection of the Panhale caves by the Archaeological Survey of India. He also accompanied me to Panhale during one of my field trips when I had the benefit of discussing some problems with him. I thank him for his valuable and friendly help. He also permitted me to reproduce some photographs of which the copyright rests in his Department.

Dr. Mrs. D. Mitra, my colleague and former Director General, Department of Archaeological Survey of India needs particular mention. At her instance Shri R.G. Pandeya, Superintending Archaeologist, S.W. Circle, Aurangabad and his staff helped me, at the site, by making camp arrangements for our stay near the caves and rendered invaluable help in photographing and studying the caves. I also record my appreciation for the help rendered by Sarvashri G.V. Vidavans, Senior Conservation Assistant, S.R. Gosavi, Conservation Assistant and L.K. Rao, Technical Assistant of the South Western Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India. They were of great help to me at the site and extended unstinted co-operation to me. Sarvashri Ramachandra Mangalore, Krishna Marle and Vishnu Bhalekar of the Survey made our stay at Panhale, very comfortable. Shri Sadashiv Jadhav, Chowkidar of the State Department of Archaeology was of great help to us and we depended on his resourcefulness for arrangements when the Archaeological Survey's team was not present at the site. Shri Karve Guruji and Shri Mahadev Jadhav of Panhale accompanied us to various nearby places of interest and we are obliged to them for their help and hospitality.

Shri P.G. Salvi, who succeeded Shri S.E. Sukhtankar as the Chief Executive of the Nehru Centre, also took interest in the progress of my work. At the conclusion of my project in November 1982, I was able to hand over to him, for publication, two manuscripts; one on Panhale Kaji caves and the other on early Hinyana caves of Thanala, Khadsamla, and Kon-divte. Although he was keen to publish them as Nehru Centre publications and had contacted publishers for the purpose, he found it difficult to proceed with the publications due to financial constraints. At my suggestion, he contacted Dr. M.S. Nagaraja Rao, Director General Archaeological Survey of India, who readily agreed to publish both the manuscripts in the Monograph series of the Archaeological Survey of India, as the contents thereof related to National monuments protected by the Survey and its officers had actively co-operated with me in my field-work. I am extremely grateful to Dr. M.S. Nagaraja Rao for taking up this publication.

Introduction
Panhale Kaji (Long. 730- 17'E; Lat. 17° 39 N) is a small village consisting of twelve separate localities (wades)' dispersed in a small area measuring about 3 sq. kms. It is situated in the Dapoli taluka of Sindhudung district, on the banks of a mountain stream called Kotjai, and near its confluence with another stream called Bhakti. The place is 19 kms. By road, to the west of village Wakavali, on the Khed Dapoli road. It can be approached by the State Transport bus going to Pangari from Dapoli or Bombay, and the visitor should alight at Panhale Kaji, 7 kms. short of Pangari. From the Panhale Kaji bus-stop, the cave site is about 11/2 kms. to the south-west. The total distance from Bombay to the caves is about 280 kms. Not far from Panhale Kaji to the east are situated, at Unaware, hot water springs2 but the bus going to that place does not touch Panhale Kaji.

The caves are 29 in number and of these 28 are situated on the right bank of Kotjai, in a hill-slope, on the top of which lies a commanding hill-fort, called Panhale Durga (vide fig. 2).While caves 1 .to 16 are about 50 to 100 meters -away from the riverbed, caves 18 to 28 lie close to the river bank. Cave 29 which lies near Bagwadi is about 11/2 kms. away from the main group to its south overlooking, in the distance, the stream called Dhakti. The close proximity of the main group of caves to the river, near its tidal point, had led to the total filling up of the caves with sand and dehris, after the caves had been abandoned and the protective ancient embankment on the river side had given way. It may be noted that the river Kotjai, traversing a distance of about 6 kms. in the southerly direction meets the Dabhol creek formed by Vashisthi at Pangari, where the creek forms an estuary meeting the Arabian sea at Dabhol, with the port of Dabhol to its north and Anjanwel Fort to its South. Like the caves in main group, the cave 29 called Gaur lena, was also buried under debris and forgotten and the area had subsequently been brought under cultivation.

The Panhale Kaji village and its neighbourhood lie in one of the most silvan and picturesque surroundings amidst mountain ridges of the Sahyadri and is drained by hill streams that have cut deep ravines having luxuriant green cover formed by forests ranging from thick to sparse.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages








The Caves of Panhale-Kaji - Ancient Pranalaka (An Old and Rare Book)

Item Code:
NAX416
Cover:
HARDCOVER
Edition:
1986
Language:
English
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11.00 X 9.00 inch
Pages:
182 (Throughout B/w Illustrations)
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Weight of the Book: 0.8 Kg
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$35.00
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Foreword
The present work "Panhale Kaji" ancient Pranalake, is one of the two monographs, produced by Shri M.N. Deshpande, former Director General, Archaeological Survey of India when he was the Director of the Research Project entitled "Technological and Archaeological Studies of Western Indian Caves", sponsored and financed by the Nehru Centre, Bombay. The other monograph prepared by Shri Deshpande is "Early Hinyana Caves of Kondivte (Bombay sub district), Thanala and Khadsamla (Raigadh district)". We would like to record our gratitude to the authorities of the Nehru Centre, in particular to Dr. Raja Ramanna, General Secretary of the Centre, for having acceded to our request to publish both the monographs by the Archaeological Survey of India. Archaeological Survey of India itself has financed the excavations and scientific clearance operations of the caves to facilitate the research work of Shri Deshpande. It is, therefore, our privilege to place this monograph before the scholarly world. We do hope to publish the second volume on the Hinyana Caves ere long.

The value of the present work to the study and understanding of the religious and cultural history of Maharashtra, -particularly on the Buddhist rock-cut activity during the ascendancy of Vajrayana at Ellora and Kanheri has been set out by the author in his preface to this work. We are very grateful to Shri Deshpande for agreeing to the publication of this monograph by the Archaeological Survey of India. We hope this volume will be well received by the academic world.

I would like to record my appreciation to Shri K.N. Dikshit, Director (Publications) and his colleagues as well as M/s Vap Enterprises for this neat production.

Preface
This monograph contains the results of my study of the group of caves situated at Panhale (Kaji) in district Sindhu-durg, Maharashtra State. These caves were brought to light by Shri Annasaheb Shirgaonkar of Dabhol in 1970, and were explored and later cleared of the debris by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums; Government of Maharashtra. In my capacity as the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, I visited these caves, in the year 1974, and found them to be of great importance in the larger perspective of Indian rock-cut art and architecture and, at the same time, in reconstructing the cultural and religious history of Maharashtra. On my recommendation, the caves were brought under central protection by the Archaeological Survey of India as a National Monument.

After I joined the Nehru Centre,Bombay, as Advisor and also assumed charge as Director of its Archaeological Project: 'Technological and Architectural Survey of Western Indian Caves', I decided to study the Panhale caves, as they posed a number of questions about their age, affiliation and identification of the icons discovered in them . I visited these caves a number of times and found that they threw a flood of light on the religious and cultural history of Maharashtra, especially on the Buddhist rock-cut activity during the ascendency of Vajrayana at cave centres like Ellora and Kanheri. But, the Panhale caves are of singular importance for they specialize in the worship of Akshobhya, one of the five dhyani Buddhas of Vajrayana pantheon and other gods of his family (kula). The history of cave architecture of Panhale, anciently called Pranayama, begins in the 3rd century A.D. when monks of the Hinyana order of Buddhism started their activities in the Konkan region. Their early excavations are unpretentious viharas meant for quiet residence and meditation. Later, the centre developed into a prolific centre of tantric Vajrayana ritual and worship with Aksobhya as the chief patron god. In one of the caves was found an image of Mahacandarosana, a very fierce deity of the Aksobhya family. The find of these icons suggests a highly secret and esoteric tradition of tantric ritual worship This tradition came to an end with the rising tide of Brahmanism and the monastic centre saw the transformation of old Buddhist caves into temples for the worship of brahmanical gods and goddesses.

Surprisingly, the place gained importance as a centre of Natha sampradaya, with two caves, entirely devoted to the worship of Natha teachers like Matsyendranath, Gorakhanatha and other deities. One of the caves contains sculptural representations of the eighty-four Natha siddhas, a feature not to be met with elsewhere in India.

I am very happy to be able to complete this study and place it in the hands of the readers. This would not have been possible but for the facilities provided to me by the Nehru Centre, Bombay. Shri Rajnibhai Patel, who deserves my grateful thanks, is unfortunately not amongst us. I take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to him. He was one of the founder members and first General Secretary, Nehru Centre, Bombay and was instrumental in asking me take up this Project on Western Indian Caves. It was Dr. B.V. Subbarayappa, Director, and Discovery of India Project of Nehru Centre who persuaded me to join the Nehru Centre. I am thankful to him for his help.

Shri S.E.Sukhtankar, former Chief Executive of Nehru Centre was always willing to pro-vide facilities and placed a vehicle at my disposal to enable me to make study-trips to the caves. Unfortunately he has since passed away but I consider it my duty to place on record my grateful thanks to him.

I was able to secure for my Project the services of Dr. Y.A. Raikar, as Senior Field Archaeologist, and of Shri P.A. Rane, as Draftsman-Artist. Both of them endeavoured their best to be of assistance to me in the study of the caves. I am thankful to both of them. I take this opportunity to thank Shri Sadashiv Gorakshakar, Director, Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay, for allowing me to use the museum's library and more particularly for drawing my attention to the critical edition of Mahacandarosana tantra by Dr. Christopher S. George of the Harvard University, U.S.A. and which Shri Gorakshakar had just then acquired for the Museum's library. He also invited me to deliver the Coomaraswamy Memorial lectures on the subject of my research on Western Indian Caves in the year 1980 when I had just completed the first phase of my work. This gave me an opportunity of interacting with scholars and thus helped me in undertaking further work in greater depth.

Shri P.D. Chandwadkar, Exhibition Officer, Nehru Centre, visited Panhale in one of my trips and took some excellent photographs at a time, when I needed the services of a photographer. I thank him profusely for this help.

Dr. A.P. Jamkhedkar, Director of Archaeology and Museums of Maharashtra Government helped me in various ways. He allowed me access to the photographic record of the work carried out by his Department prior to the protection of the Panhale caves by the Archaeological Survey of India. He also accompanied me to Panhale during one of my field trips when I had the benefit of discussing some problems with him. I thank him for his valuable and friendly help. He also permitted me to reproduce some photographs of which the copyright rests in his Department.

Dr. Mrs. D. Mitra, my colleague and former Director General, Department of Archaeological Survey of India needs particular mention. At her instance Shri R.G. Pandeya, Superintending Archaeologist, S.W. Circle, Aurangabad and his staff helped me, at the site, by making camp arrangements for our stay near the caves and rendered invaluable help in photographing and studying the caves. I also record my appreciation for the help rendered by Sarvashri G.V. Vidavans, Senior Conservation Assistant, S.R. Gosavi, Conservation Assistant and L.K. Rao, Technical Assistant of the South Western Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India. They were of great help to me at the site and extended unstinted co-operation to me. Sarvashri Ramachandra Mangalore, Krishna Marle and Vishnu Bhalekar of the Survey made our stay at Panhale, very comfortable. Shri Sadashiv Jadhav, Chowkidar of the State Department of Archaeology was of great help to us and we depended on his resourcefulness for arrangements when the Archaeological Survey's team was not present at the site. Shri Karve Guruji and Shri Mahadev Jadhav of Panhale accompanied us to various nearby places of interest and we are obliged to them for their help and hospitality.

Shri P.G. Salvi, who succeeded Shri S.E. Sukhtankar as the Chief Executive of the Nehru Centre, also took interest in the progress of my work. At the conclusion of my project in November 1982, I was able to hand over to him, for publication, two manuscripts; one on Panhale Kaji caves and the other on early Hinyana caves of Thanala, Khadsamla, and Kon-divte. Although he was keen to publish them as Nehru Centre publications and had contacted publishers for the purpose, he found it difficult to proceed with the publications due to financial constraints. At my suggestion, he contacted Dr. M.S. Nagaraja Rao, Director General Archaeological Survey of India, who readily agreed to publish both the manuscripts in the Monograph series of the Archaeological Survey of India, as the contents thereof related to National monuments protected by the Survey and its officers had actively co-operated with me in my field-work. I am extremely grateful to Dr. M.S. Nagaraja Rao for taking up this publication.

Introduction
Panhale Kaji (Long. 730- 17'E; Lat. 17° 39 N) is a small village consisting of twelve separate localities (wades)' dispersed in a small area measuring about 3 sq. kms. It is situated in the Dapoli taluka of Sindhudung district, on the banks of a mountain stream called Kotjai, and near its confluence with another stream called Bhakti. The place is 19 kms. By road, to the west of village Wakavali, on the Khed Dapoli road. It can be approached by the State Transport bus going to Pangari from Dapoli or Bombay, and the visitor should alight at Panhale Kaji, 7 kms. short of Pangari. From the Panhale Kaji bus-stop, the cave site is about 11/2 kms. to the south-west. The total distance from Bombay to the caves is about 280 kms. Not far from Panhale Kaji to the east are situated, at Unaware, hot water springs2 but the bus going to that place does not touch Panhale Kaji.

The caves are 29 in number and of these 28 are situated on the right bank of Kotjai, in a hill-slope, on the top of which lies a commanding hill-fort, called Panhale Durga (vide fig. 2).While caves 1 .to 16 are about 50 to 100 meters -away from the riverbed, caves 18 to 28 lie close to the river bank. Cave 29 which lies near Bagwadi is about 11/2 kms. away from the main group to its south overlooking, in the distance, the stream called Dhakti. The close proximity of the main group of caves to the river, near its tidal point, had led to the total filling up of the caves with sand and dehris, after the caves had been abandoned and the protective ancient embankment on the river side had given way. It may be noted that the river Kotjai, traversing a distance of about 6 kms. in the southerly direction meets the Dabhol creek formed by Vashisthi at Pangari, where the creek forms an estuary meeting the Arabian sea at Dabhol, with the port of Dabhol to its north and Anjanwel Fort to its South. Like the caves in main group, the cave 29 called Gaur lena, was also buried under debris and forgotten and the area had subsequently been brought under cultivation.

The Panhale Kaji village and its neighbourhood lie in one of the most silvan and picturesque surroundings amidst mountain ridges of the Sahyadri and is drained by hill streams that have cut deep ravines having luxuriant green cover formed by forests ranging from thick to sparse.

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