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Home > Explore by Theme > Buddhist Circuit > Buddhist Sites in Gujarat
 
 
 
 
  Explore by Theme >>> Buddhist Circuit
 
Buddhist Sites in Gujarat
  Buddhist Caves
 
The so-called “Buddhist Caves” around Uparkot are not actually caves, but three separate sites of rooms carved out of stone to be used as monks’ quarters, hence the name. They are all a little over 2000 years old, give or take a couple of centuries.
   
 
The oldest, the Khapara Kodia caves caves belong to 3rd-4th century AD and are plainest of all cave groups. These caves are along the edge of the ancient Sudarshan Lake (which no longer exists) and the northern side of Uparkot. The chambers are separated into an east-west longitudinal crest. The rectangle western wing and the ‘L’ shaped wing used by the Monks as a monsoon shelter, are the important parts of the caves. They were carved into living rock during the reign of Emperor Ashoka and are considered the earliest monastic settlement in the area. After many years of use, they were abandoned because cracks above them allowed water to seep into living quarters, rendering them unusable. Many accounts say that after this, the monks left for Maharashtra, where they went on to carve many similar and more elaborate structures. Khapara Kodia was damaged by later quarrying, and now only the highest story remains.
   
 
Across Uparkot from Khapara Kodia are the caves of Baba Pyara. Baba Pyara caves are lying close to the Modhimath, which has four caves in its northern group. The next set of south group caves has a unified plan with a spacious court and a chaitya hall. The art tradition of Satavahanas period has influence over these cave pillars and door jambs of the caves. It is believed that they belong to 1st–2nd century AD. These have 13 rooms in three stories, cut into the rock 45 m. (150 ft.) high and adorned with carvings of Buddhist symbology. These are much more intact than the Khapara Kodia caves. The last (and most recent, being only 1900 years old) caves are next to the Adi-Kadi Vav.
   
  How to get there
 
By road: Junagadh is 327 km from Ahmedabad, 102 km from Rajkot, and 113 km from Porbandar, and is accessible by ST bus from each of these places, as well as from other cities in Gujarat by way of Veraval and Rajkot. Bus is recommended as the best way to get to Junagadh
 
By rail: Two express trains run on the Ahmedabad-Veraval line, one at night (with a rather inconvenient schedule) and one by day. Ahmedabad is 7.5 hours away by train. Junagadh is also on the Rajkot-Veraval line, with Rajkot 2.5 hours away, and Veraval 2 hours.
   
  Junagadh Caves: Khapra Kodia Cave, Dist. Junagadh
 
On the basis of scribbles and short cursive letters on the wall, Khapra Kodia caves are datable to 3rd-4th century AD. This is the plainest of all cave groups. The chambers are cut into an east-west longitudinal ridge. The important components of the caves are the oblong western wing and the 'L' shaped wing used by Monks as a monsoon shelter.
   
  Baba Pyara Caves, Dist. Junagadh
 
The Group of caves lying close to the Modhimath is known as Baba Pyara. The northern group of it has four caves. The next set of caves lies little to the south of the eastern end of the first group and has a unified plan with a spacious court and a chaitya hall, apsidal in shape. The cave pillars and door jambs of the caves suggest a clear impact of art traditions of Satavahanas period and are datable to 1st-2nd century AD on the basis of architecture.
   
  How to get there
 
By road: Junagadh is 327 km from Ahmedabad, 102 km from Rajkot, and 113 km from Porbandar, and is accessible by ST bus from each of these places, as well as from other cities in Gujarat by way of Veraval and Rajkot. Bus is recommended as the best way to get to Junagadh.
 
By rail: Two express trains run on the Ahmedabad-Veraval line, one at night (with a rather inconvenient schedule) and one by day. Ahmedabad is 7.5 hours away by train. Junagadh is also on the Rajkot-Veraval line, with Rajkot 2.5 hours away, and Veraval 2 hours.
   
  Kadia Dungar Caves, Dist. Bharuch (Bharuch to Rajpipla road)
 
Seven rock-cut caves and monolithic lion pillars are present at Kadia Dungar, near Bharuch. The caves suggest that they were viharas. A Brick stupa was also found in the foothills. These caves were in use during 1st and 2nd century AD.
   
  How to get there
 
By road: Vadodara, 112 km from Ahmedabad and 420 km from Mumbai, is located on National Highway 8. There are various state transport (ST) buses and private luxury coaches from all over Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Rajasthan. Ahmedabad-Vadodara intercity buses take 2 hours and run every 15 minutes. There are also several private bus companies on or near Station Road. You can also rent a car with a driver to explore the city and its surroundings at the Express Hotel.
 
By rail: Vadodara, a major railway junction is located on the Western Railway, which connects Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad.
 
By air: Vadodara is connected by various domestic airlines to Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Daman, and Pune.
   
  Khambhalida Caves, Near Gondal, Dist. Rajkot
 
At Khambhalida there are three caves, the central one being a 'chaitya' with a worn out stupa. The entrance of the chaitya is flanked by two large sculptures of the Bodhisatvas-Padmapani on the right and Vajrapani on the left. These caves dates back to 4th-5th century AD and are scooped out from the local limestone rock.
   
  How to get there
 
By Road: Rajkot is well connected by road to most of the major cities of Gujarat and other neighboring states. State Transport buses are regularly available from Rajkot to other cities of Gujarat. The ST bus stand is 2 km, west of Bedi Gate on the other side of Ranmal Lake. Auto rickshaws are the best way into the town, though one might also choose to walk in. Private buses are also available for Ahmedabad, Baroda, Mumbai, Bhuj, Bhavnagar, Una, Mount Abu and Udaipur.
 
By rail: Rajkot is a junction on the Western Railway Ahmedabad-Hapa broad gauge line. Inter City Express, Saurashtra Mail and Sau Janata Express are some of the few trains that pass through the station. The railway station known commonly as the Rajkot Junction is almost 6 km away from the Teen Batti triple gateway. Rajkot is well connected with important cities in Gujarat and India by rail. Trains for Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Amritsar, Patna and Bhopal are available from Rajkot.
 
By air: Reaching Rajkot by air is quite a possible option as the city has a domestic airport linking it to Mumbai. Air India has daily flights from Mumbai, while Jet have daily flights.
   
  Siyot Caves, Taluka - Lakhpat, Dist. Kutch
 
Dated around the first century AD, Siyot Caves have an east facing sanctum and an ambulatory. Siyot must have been on of the 80 monastic sites that the 7th century Chinese travellers reported at the mouth of Indus River.
   
  How to get there
 
By road: From Bhuj, 125 km away, buses go to Narayan Sarovar twice a day (morning and evening). However, that is the only public transportation available. Koteshwar Temple is a mere 2 km from Narayan Sarovar, on the coast, but visitors to Lakhpat (28 km further) or Narayan Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary (15 km) will need a private vehicle; this can only be hired in Bhuj. Unless you only want to visit the Narayan Sarovar lake and temples, hiring a car in Bhuj is recommended. Accomodation and food are available in Narayan Sarovar, but not in any of the other three sites (except the gurudwara in Lakhpat.) Visitors to the wildlife sanctuary should bring their own food and water.
   
  Taranga Hills, Dist. Mehshana
 
Northeast of the main gate of the fort is a cave where the air is extraordinarily cool. The cave, locally known as Jogida ni Gufa, was found and used by Buddhist monks thousands of years ago. It has Buddhist sculptures carved in stone that resemble the Bodhi Vriksha or Kalpavruksha and other Buddhist motifs. You also come across some beautiful Buddhist sculptures on the mountain on the way to the cave. Taranga Hills, 20 km from Vadnagar, on the Aravali range, harbours profound connections with Buddhism. The main idols enshrined in the Taranmata and Dharanmata temples are of Buddhist goddess Tara. Broken terracotta images of Buddha, four carved images of Dhyani Buddha on a stone plate, stone and brick walls inside rock shelters, etc. have been discovered from here.
   
  How to get there
 
By road: Approx. 130 Kms from Ahmedabad, 50 Kms from Ambaji shrine and 56 Kms from Mehsana. Bus service and private vehicle rental are available from Ahmedabad, Mehsana, Patan, Siddhpur and Ambaji. Your bus will drop you off at Timba near Danta. You can get a jeep for the 8 km to Taranga.
 
By rail: The nearest major railway stations are Visnagar (38 kms), Mehsana (52 kms), Unjha (54 kms) & Vijapur (60 kms) approx. A slow local train also travels from Mehsana to Taranga (2 hrs.) The temple is 5 km from the railway station.
 
By air: The nearest Airport is Ahmedabad, approx. 125 Kms from Taranga.
   
  Buddhist Monastery, Vadnagar
 
The recent excavations have brought to light a Buddhist Monastery belonging to the 2nd-7th century AD, within the fortified area of Vadnagar. The monastery had two votive stupas and an open central count yard around which initially nine cells were constructed. The arrangement of cells around the central courtyard creates a swastika-like pattern.
   
  Buddhist Antiquities at Vadnagar
 
The recent excavations have brought to light a Buddhist Monastery belonging to the 2nd-7th century AD, within the fortified area of Vadnagar. The monastery had two votive stupas and an open central count yard around which initially nine cells were constructed. The arrangement of cells around the central courtyard creates a swastika-like pattern.
   
  How to get there
 
By road: Mehsana (47 km), Ahmedabad (111 km).
 
By rail: Siddhapur is a railway station on Ahmedabad–New Delhi railway line, 42 km from Vadnagar.
 
By air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad (111 km).
 
Local Transport: Non-metered auto rickshaws.
   
  Dev Ni Mori, Near Shamlaji, Dist. Sabarkantha
 
The remains of a Buddhist monastery belonging to 3rd-4th century AD have been unearthed from Devni Mori, about two km from Shamlaji. The presence of a stupa and monastery has reconfirmed that during the early centuries of Christian era, there had been a strong presence of Buddhists in Vadnagar. Excavating of the stupa brought to light an inscribed casket which contained relics of Budhha. The inscription clearly mentions that the casket contains bodily relics of Buddha.
   
  How to get there
  By road: Ahmedabad (125 km).
 
By rail: Himmatnagar Railway Station on Ahmedabad–New Delhi railway line, 47 km from Shamlaji.
  By air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad (125 km).
  Local Transport: Non-metered auto rickshaws.
   
  Ashok Edicts, Dist. Junagadh, City - Uparkot
 
Ashoka’s Rock Edicts belong to 250 BC where around 14 edicts of Ashoka are located on the route to the Mount Girnar Hills. This rock edict is a huge stone and the carving in Brahmi script in Pali language mention the resistance to greed and animal sacrifice and also moralize the principles of purity of thought, secularism in thinking, kindness and gratitude. The other major part of Junagadh’s Buddhist heritage are the stone edicts of Emperor Ashoka, found on the road towards Mt. Girnar. When Ashoka famously converted to Buddhism and renounced violence, on his way to being one of India’s most revered and respected rulers of all time, he had edicts carved in stone and placed in sites all across India (ranging as far as Kandahar in present-day Afghanistan in the West, modern Bangladesh in the East, Andhra Pradesh in the south) with precepts for living a virtuous life, respecting others and creating a just society. Speaking in moral and ethical terms, not religious ones (though the Buddha is mentioned), the edicts reach out across faith traditions. Tellingly, in Junagadh one edict that is visible (though you won’t understand it unless you read Pali) reads: “To foster one’s own sect, depreciating the others out of affection for one’s own, to exalt its merit, is to do the worst harm to one’s own sect.” This is wise counsel calling to us from 2300 years ago. The site of the edicts is open every day from 8am-6pm.
   
  How to get there
 
By road: Junagadh is 327 km from Ahmedabad, 102 km from Rajkot, and 113 km from Porbandar, and is accessible by ST bus from each of these places, as well as from other cities in Gujarat by way of Veraval and Rajkot. Bus is recommended as the best way to get to Junagadh
 
By rail: Two express trains run on the Ahmedabad-Veraval line, one at night (with a rather inconvenient schedule) and one by day. Ahmedabad is 7.5 hours away by train. Junagadh is also on the Rajkot-Veraval line, with Rajkot 2.5 hours away, and Veraval 2 hours.
   
  Institue of Indology
 
The Lalbhai Dalpathbhai Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad was started in 1956, to preserve a repository of rare art, manuscripts and archaelogical objects of India. In 1984, a museum was opened to cover topics ranging from Buddhism, Jainism and its darshans (expressions), grammar, tantra and poetry, Vedas and other different branches of Indian philosophy.
   
 
The museum houses about 76,000 hand written Jain manuscripts with 500 illustrated versions and 45,000 printed books, making it the largest collection of Jain scripts. It has precious old books written in languages such as Sanskrit, Pali, Old Gujarati, Apabhramsa, Hindi and Rajasthani. It also showcases Indian sculptures, terracottas, miniature paintings, cloth paintings, painted scrolls, bronzes, woodwork, Indian coins, textiles and decorative art, paintings of Rabindranath Tagore and art of Nepal and Tibet.
   
  How to get there
 
By road: Gujarat has one of the better developed road networks in India. Ahmedabad is well connected with all major cities and towns by road. Prominent bus stops are located at Gitamandir near Kalupur Railway Station and Paldi. Regular bus services are available by Gujarat state transport buses and private operators to all the major destinations of the state.
 
By rail: The main railway station is located in Kalupur area. This station falls under the prominent national railway circuit and is connected to all major cities of India. If you are on the western side of the Sabarmati river, then you can go to the Gandhigram station near Ashram road to buy your railway tickets easily.
 
By air: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel airport at Ahmedabad is an international airport with direct flights to USA, UK, Singapore, Dubai and other international hubs. Numerous domestic flights are also operational from here.
   
 
 
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