MENHIRS...the foreground one is shaped unusually. Wonder why ?

MENHIRS...the foreground one is shaped unusually. Wonder why ?
THARPAKHNA

The word megalith has stemmed from the merger of two Greek terms of "mega" meaning large and "lithic" signifying stone.

Presently the megalithic tribes of India use various structures of stone as burials or memorials of the dead. However in the past megaliths were not only sepulchral/funerary structures but were also used both as memorials of the dead and to commemorate various events of the family and that of the community. Megaliths were found even to be used as boundary markers and also as astronomical structures.


Each passing day numerous ancient megaliths get destroyed in India and we have no record of this disaster. It is sad that no government agencies like the ASI, the State Archaeological Depts and the District Administrations demonstrate any interest in their protection perhaps for their tribal origin and also possibly because megaliths to them do not appear to be significant relics of our land.

In actuality prehistoric megaliths are a significant source of our ancient history and their preservation is imperative as these monuments are evidences that India was indeed a land of the tribals in hoary times. A few of them however suggests that astronomy and geometry was known to the megalithic tribals millennias prior to the emergence of the Brahmanical astronomer/mathematicians. Obliteration of prehistoric megaliths is bound to erase this verity.

To view a few photographs of megaliths of India visit:

http://www.megalithsindia.com/2010/11/images-of-megaliths.html

The photographs and essays from this website may be used for research purposes giving credit to it.

Come let’s celebrate megaliths…

DOLMEN of JHARKHAND

DOLMEN of JHARKHAND
LOHARDAGGA. JHARKHAND

Monday, 17 March 2014

THE AMAZING ROCK-CUT CAVES OF BARABAR AND NAGARJUNA HILLS.

We travelled to the Barabar caves through Gaya. The 10 km stretch from Bela to the rock-cut caves of Barabar Hill is perhaps the worst road I have travelled on  so far. The villagers say that the road has not been repaired for decades.

Our local contact Avinash met us midway to the Hills. He accompanied us as a guide and we decided to drive to the Nagarjuna Hill first about 1.5 kms from Barabar where there were about three caves.
The twin hills of Nagarjuna and Barabar comprise of seven rock-cut caves, the oldest of it kind in India. Nagarjuna has  three caves wheres Barabar houses four different caves.

These caves were built for the Buddhist monks during Ashoka and Dashrath (Ashoka’s grandson) during 3rd cent BC. Monks of the now extinct Ajivkas sect too were believed to have resided and practiced their religion in these caves.
The hill is named after the Buddhist ascetic Nagarjuna, the founder of the Madhyamaka School of the Mahayana Buddhism.

The Nagarjuna caves are named as under:

Gopika (Gopi-ka-Kuba)
Vadithika (Vadithi-ka-Kuba)
Vapiyaka also known as Mirza Mandi (Vapiya-ka-Kuba)

The caves believed to be the oldest rock-cut caves of the country reveal the high standard of art that prevailed during the Mauryan period. 
The caves sculpted out of the granite rocks in the hill have been polished to give an extraordinary gloss finish that is seen to be believed.  The perfect semicircles, arcs, spheres, hemispheres and linear edges too are unique.

The glass finish doorways have narrow tops and broadened bottoms and generally open up towards 220 SW of S which could be the direction of Buddha Gaya. This would mean the artisans looked hard to find the boulders whose  sides had such a  bearing in which the caves could be dug in.The inscription reveals that Ashoka's son Dashratha devoted this cave to the Ajivikas. This inscription in all the three caves in the Nagarjuna Hill.

The artisans were not only knowledgeable how to create stunning architectures but also how to produce stunning acoustics in these caves, Meaning they created the structural design of the caves in such a way that fascinating echo is generated in here.

Co-ordinates
Long: 85 deg 4'37.56' E
Lat: 25 deg 0' 51.84' N

 The Nagarjuna Hill, where there are three rock-cut caves.


 The Gopika rock cut caves in the Nagarjuna Hill


      Climbing up the ancient steps with Abhishek Mishra while Abhinash is seen standing high up there near the Gopika caves


 THE GOPIKA OR GOPI-KA-KUBBA CAVE


  The entrance to the Gopika cave



The inner sanctum of the Gopika cave. The polished semi circular wall and the hemispherical ceiling is visible.



The glass finish doorway with Brahmi script on the right wall.




The Brahmi script on the left wall of the entrance to the cave with a possible Peepul leaf below  is also visible. Note the  precise right-angled edges .

THE VADATHIKA CAVE


The amazing science fiction type entrance to the Vadathika rock-cut cave.


Another view of the Star Wars type entrance to the cave. Note the precise edges. The polished doorways narrow at the top and broaden at the bottom.


The inner sanctum of the Vadathika cave. Note the architecture and the gloss shine of the inner sanctum.


The entrance of this cave is on the back wall and not on the side . The shinning side wall of the entrance is also visible. Like all the doorways here this one too is narrowed at its top and is broadened at the bottom.

THE VAHUVIKA OR VAPYA-KA-KUBBA CAVE


There is a well next to this cave which has dried up today. The name of the cave Vapya-ka-Kubba means "The cave next to the well" which suggests that it is for the well the cave had acquired its name.


The Vapiyaka cave is also visible to the left of the Vadathika cave.


This dried well is near the Vapiyaka cave that lends it name to the cave: Vapya-ka-Kubba or the Cave of the Well.



The hemispherical back wall of the Vapiyaka cave. Note how neatly the arcs, both at the top and the floor have been crafted.



Note the gloss finish of the doorway of Vapiyaka and the Brahmi script on the left wall. The circular holes both at the floor and the ceiling perhaps points to the fact that a wooden or iron door was fixed here.

                   THE BARABAR ROCK-CUT CAVES

After the Nagarjuna caves it was the time to visit the Barabar caves some 1.5 kms away. Reaching there we began ascending the steps on the hill that would lead us to the caves. Today Hindu temples have been built both at the bottom and at the peak pf the hill.
Avinash narrated that Archaeological Survey of India has put up gates at the entrance of the caves as visitors were desecrating the ancient walls by writing on the cave walls.
The four rock-cut caves in Barabar are believed to have been made between the 3rd to 2nd cent BC during the Mauryan era all of which are dedicated to the Buddhist bhikshus.  The three caves of Karan Chaupar, Lomas and Sudama are in one submarine type monolithic granite stone of which Karan Chaupar is at the North West and the rest two on the opposite side. 

These caves are believed to be older than the ones of Nagarjuna. One learns from the inscriptions that the Hill during the Mauryan period was called Khalatika Hill.

 According to a new set of researchers the earlier scholars had missed out on the word "nishidhi" in the inscriptions which according to them means attaining moksha by fasting to death much similar to the manner of the Jainas. This find shows that the Ajivika ascetics may had also practiced the death ritual in these caves.

Co ordinates:
 Long: 85 deg 3' 46.8" E Lat : 25 deg 0' 18" N




These steps lead to the rock-cut caves

Karan Chauper cave

Built possibly around 245 BC. Has a floor area of about 10 X 4.2. m. The name seems Hindu in origin is later ordained. The Brahmi script on the doorway wall however names the cave as Supiya cave. 
The back wall to the NW has a platform perhaps for the high priest to address the congregated Buddhist bhikshus. The polished entrance to the cave opens to 20 deg NE of N. Great acoustics in this cave.
The inscription states that "The King's grace when he had been sanctified nineteen years granted the Supiya Cave in Khalatika Hill for as long as the sun and moon endure."





The Karan Chaupar Cave



The glossy surface of the inner walls of the cave like the other ones is fascinating. Notice the  flash of the camera  being reflected by the shinny back wall. The platform was perhaps meant of the Guru to sit and address the resident monks.




The opposite back wall of the Karan Chauper with the door at its side.

Lomas Rishi cave


This cave is supposedly one of the oldest in the country. 

Elephants have been carved on the arch type entrance on the facade who can be seen paying obeisance to a stupa (perhaps that of Budha) was perhaps a copy of wooden structures of contemporary times. 
The inside has two chambers which seem to have been deserted leaving the cave unfinished. 

The ceilings  and the floors of both the chambers has distinct chisel marks.  The reason that the cave was deserted is clear as a long crack can be viewed inside. the cave. Rain water still seeps in through this crack and the cave gets flooded during monsoon suggesting that habitation during ancient times was impossible for the monks for this reason hence it had to be left.

The back wall has two horses drawn on them. The doorway which also houses inscription  on it  opens up towards 220 deg SW. One 7th/8th century inscription speaks of Sardulvarman and hi son Ananatvarman of the Maukhari dynasty. The inscription also suggest that a Krishna idol was once placed inside the cave by them.

The facade of the Lomas cave. The exquisite carving here shows the elephants offering their reverence to a stupa .


The ASI caretaker opens the gate of the Lomas cave for us.


The unfinished floor of this unfinished Lomas cave.



The roof of the unfinished inner sanctum of the Lomas replicates a circular mud hut.

.

The linear crack in the unfinished ceiling of the Lomas is visible here. Rain water seeped in through this crack during the monsoon flooding the cave which perhaps compelled the artisans to desert it without its completion.


SUDAMA OR NIGOHA KUBBA OR THE BANYAN TREE CAVE: 


Located just adjacent to the Lomas cave and behind the Karan Chaupar is supposedly the oldest of them all built around 261 BC.
The cave also has two chambers similar to the Lomas cave. This cave too has been given a Hindu name but according to the inscription on the doorway the cave was originally named "Nigoha Kuba" or the "Banyan Tree cave" .

The mysterious science fiction type inner chamber actually is the copy of a circular mud hut of yesteryear. The circular chamber has acoustics that has to be heard to be believed.The creation of the stunning echo effect inside the inner chamber required for their rituals is perhaps testimony of high skill of science prevalent among these unknown skilled artisans during the Mauryan era.

Pillars in front the entrance of the cave have been found during the excavation suggesting that the entrance was once perhaps more grand. The shine of this cave wall also known as the Mauryan shine is indeed stunning and is the best of all the caves. The doorway also opens towards 220 deg SW.

The inscription reads "The banyan Tree cave was granted to the Ajivikas by the king's grace when he had been consecrated twelve years."




The Sudama Cave is believed to be the oldest of the caves. Lomas can be seen  in the right.

The inside of the Sudama. The cracked back wall has a recess carved in perhaps for a standing Buddha idol to be inserted in there.

The rock art of two horses done on the back wall.

The glossy doorway like all the rest of the doorways has a narrowed top and a wide bottom. Notice the flash of the glossy wall.

This mysterious science type structure inside the Sudama Cave in actuality is a prayer room  duplicating a circular mud hut. The architecture is stunning and  so is the gloss finish on the exterior and even on the circular inner walls. The echo  inside this hemispherical dark chamber is just incredible.

Vishwa Jhopdi cave:


The cave is the smallest of them all and can be reached by steps carved during the Mauryan period known today as Ashokan steps.
The property of the granite rocks here is such that walking on the steps over two millenia has also polished them, therefore one needs to be careful walking on them lest one may skid and fall.
The cave actually comprises of two cubical prayer rooms. the entrance is much different from the rest and also opens up to 220 deg SW. Many scholars believe the cave resemble many Egyptian architecture.


The Vishwamitra or the Vishwa Jhopdi Cave. The small cave is different from the rest as it also has a different sized entrance way as well.

The Ashoka steps. The steps were sculpted during Ashoka era for the ascetics to ascend the caves. Notice the perforation to reduce the slipperiness.

The musical stone. Avinash demonstrates the musical quality of this amazing stone near the Viswa Jhopdi cave.

12 comments:

The visit of these caves was really an unforgettable experience. But there are some questions still unanswered like is there any similar cave found in India too ?

What amazing craftsmanship did the anceint Mauryans possessed ?

Mr Anonymous please donot belittle Indian craftsmanship by calling these stunning works of ancient Indian craftsman as aliens.
Deepak Rudra

Yes, but how were these done? It is not easy to cut and polish granite. Especially with such perfection. How did they cut the inside corners?

why dont you try proving how Aliens DIDNT do it. how about you head to India and get some copper tools and start chizling, and we can see how far you get.

Much much older as are Ajanta and Ellora. Look at the technology... same as ancient Egypt.

Graham Hancock's book "Magicians of The Gods" Promotes that antediluvian civilization(s) with technology way beyond our comprehension were wiped out in the floods. That the high gloss on the stones - found throughout the world - were done using high heat technology not hand polishing. He writes "We are a species with amnesia".

Sir firstly thank u for the website documenting these megaliths and the wonderful photos. From these pictures it seems like the caves within were collectors of some form of natural / telluric energy. Very interestingly they look a lot like the doors in ancient maya and aztec buildings though these are finer still. Could these be the caves where Ashoka found the secrets which he entrusted to his 9 elite men? Just wondering.

I was lucky to visit Gachobowli Hyd and Nagarjuna sagar in 2002-2003 but sadly missed these caves . However noted that the island in the middle of the Nagarjuna dam area had a huge stupa made of small mud bricks...it had parallels in Burma where National geog covered similar stupas made by an old sect of buddhist monks.

A lot of megaliths are lying around and getting destroyed due to the building work in Hyd itself. Areas around the Durgam Cheruvu, area between the Gachibowli IIIT and Mehdipatanam have lots of these lovely megaliths....Possibly these also marked graves ..have noted a large proportion of people staying here in this region have contracted tuberculosis. Possibly the ancients marked the graves as alerts also though the idea may be far fetched.
There was till 2003 a huge megalith (almost two storeys tall) on the side road to the CMC office near Gachibowli on the other side of the road from the office. There was always an eerie peaceful feeling around it. Today it has been sadly blasted into oblivion as a glass structure occupies the area. It may be worthwhile for ASI to scan the area around this place and Begumpeta. A lot of ancient adi manav drawings and etchings are also found on these rocks which the construction work of today is sadly eroding away very rapidly. If they cannot be preserved for posterity at least blogs like urs will help carry pictures of these great works of ancient humans of this region.

Possibly Kanheri , Elephanta and Karla caves in India and old structures near Nalasopara in and around Mumbai also need a similar loving care and posting.

Thank u for preserving history for all of us.

How do we know they were made in 200 BC?

How do we know these are from 200 BC?

MEGALITHIC ACTIVITIES IN INDIA

Megaliths of Mizoram:

Blog on Brahmagiri megaliths:


THE PIONEER features "CHOKAHATU MEGALITHS"
First ever song composed on a megalith in India. Rajat Chandra sings on the fascinating megaliths of Punkri Birwadih:

Megalithic burials of the dolmen kind of Andhra Pradesh:

Rare megalithic sites discovered in Chattisgarh:

More than 200 megalithic sites found in Dhamtari and Mahasamund districts of Chattisgarh. Visit:http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/nation/north/rare-megalithic-sites-discovered-chhattisgarh-778