Did you know that the carving of the 11-headed Avalokiteshvara, a Buddhist god, on Kanheri caves gave rise to a whole new cult in China after it was discovered by explorer Huen Tsang? Or that there are carvings of composite animals (a Persian art) on Pandav Lena caves in Nashik that suggest the state’s trade with Persia in the second century AD?
This and much more will be discussed at a two-day workshop on Buddhist rock-cut architecture in Western India next weekend at Sathaye College, Vile Parle (East).
Organised by the Department of Ancient Indian Culture Archaeology and Buddhist Studies, the workshop will be conducted by archaeologist AP Jamkhedkar, a member of the managing committee of the Asiatic Society and former director of archaeology and museums, Maharashtra.
“There are around 600 such rock-cut Buddhist caves in Maharashtra. People visit them, but know little about their history,” said Jamkhedkar.
Interestingly, locals associate the caves with ancient Hindu mythology, he said. For instance, the Pandav Lena -- a Buddhist cave -- was named after a character from Mahabharata.
Dr Suraj Pandit, head of the department at the college, said: “We will study several caves in the state such as Mahakali in Andheri, Magathane near Borivli and Jogeshwari and Elephanta caves,” he said.
From November 22
What: Workshop on Buddhist rock-cut architecture in Western India
When: November 22 and 23
Registrations for the workshop have begun and will remain open till a day before the event