Pale Caves

Pale Caves
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For students of ancient history and architecture, the rock cut caves of Western India are a source of immense interest and enlightenment. Constructed during periods from 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD and from 5th century AD to 10th century AD, some of these caves (both Hindu and Buddhist) display a high degree of architectural splendor of what the artisans from centuries ago were capable of creating. We just stand in front of them and wonder how they could make them.


Other Details

A couple of days anytime of the year should be sufficient for the Pale caves.

How to Reach

Bus
Regular bus services from Mumbai and Pune to Mahad
Train
Air
Car

For students of ancient history and architecture, the rock cut caves of Western India are a source of immense interest and enlightenment. Constructed during periods from 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD and from 5th century AD to 10th century AD, some of these caves (both Hindu and Buddhist) display a high degree of architectural splendor of what the artisans from centuries ago were capable of creating. We just stand in front of them and wonder how they could make them.

 

Gandharpale or Pale caves situated on a hillock near Mahad-Konkan, across the Mumbai-Goa highway is a classic example of this. These caves speak volumes about the ancient Indian architectural glory.

 

These 31 Hinayana Buddhist caves are cut through the nearly perpendicular scrap of a hill, facing eastward. Because of this, their interiors are fully visible during the morning hours. While the first 20 of these caves are situated in the upper scrap, the rest are found thirty feet below them. You can however access them easily through rough cut stone steps that go right up to the top of the hillock. You will get a fantastic view from the top. That is an additional incentive for visiting the Pale caves.

 

The Pale caves are mostly adorned with figures of Gautama Buddha. There are also stupas located in prayer halls. They are called Chaitygrihas. Some of the caves contain the carvings of Bodhisatva along with their attendants. There is one precious “shilalekh” or stone inscription in Brahmi script that is carved on one of the cave walls. Buddhist monks known as Bhikkhus used to stay in these caves.

 

How to reach: Buses plying through the Mumbai-Goa highway have stoppages nearby. There are regular buses that ply through this route. There are buses from Nanded city as well. You can take the train as well and get down at the Sape Wamane railway station. Take an auto rickshaw from there.

 

You cannot stay inside the caves. There are no hotels near Pale caves, cottages near Pale caves or home stays near Pale caves. You should stay overnight at Mahad.

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