Junagadh Caves

Useful Information

Location: Within the grounds of Uparkot Fork, Junagadh, Gujarat. 37 km from Keshod, 99 km from Rajkot.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Guided tours:  
Address: Junagadh Caves, Tel: +91-, Fax: +91-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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2nd century AD excavated.


These Buddhist caves have beeen scooped out in three tiers, and are situated just below the Jami Masjid Mosque. The central section of the lowest storey has a main hall that is open to the sky. The base, shaft and capital of the carved pillars carry unique designs.

On the ground floor the excavations are laid out along three laterally continuous sections, each of which is open to the sky in the centre. If one enters it from the south, a 3 m sq pond can be seen, surrounded by covered corridors and veranda, and with a short flight of steps running down to the base of the pond.

Many vertical drains and small cisterns feed the pond. A series of socket holes, for fixing wooden shutters, to control the flow of water to different cisterns, can also be observed. The upper level of the rock roof reveals socket holes in regular alignment, which suggests that there once existed a superstructure, possibly of perishable material.

The pillars in these caves have spiral ridges on their shafts, octagonal plinth bases, and floral ornamented capitals carrying animal figures. The first chamber has a door in the north-east corner, which leads to a second, larger room of about 12 m x 9 m, with six carved columns to support the ceiling. The ceiling of the smaller apartment, which is to the north-east of this room, is soot-blackened, indicating that it might have been a kitchen.

A rock-cut stairway near the door of these cells leads down to the hall on the lower storey. This well-furnished and decorative hall has a Buddhist rail decoration on the frieze above the recesses. 'Chaitya' windows with a couple of female figures can also be seen.

The hall has six pillars whose bases and capital mouldings are said to resemble Satvahana's pillars. The body of the capital has eight divisions; each section carries a group of women, multiple cobra-hoods, and dwarfed attendants. The bases have crouching lions at the corners and centres.

Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.

The Junagadh Buddhist Cave Group are actually three sites of man made caves of Buddhist and/or Jain origin. As they are located close together they are considered to be connected.