Rajgir, Bihar 803116, India
|Address:||Son Bhandar Caves, Swarn Bahandar Rd, Rajgir, Bihar 803116, Tel: +91-61222-25411.|
|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 BC||first cave built during Mauryan Empire.|
|3rd century||second cave built as hermitage for Jain ascetics.|
स्वर्ण भंडार (Swarn Bhandar), also known as Son Bhandar Caves are Jain temples located at Rajgir.
More caves can be found just straight uphill at सप्तपर्णी गुफा (Saptaparni Cave), which is ab escarpment at the hill directly above. It is the location of modern and historical Jain temples.
One cave is believed to be from the time of the Mauryan Empire, because it has polished surfaces, a common trait in ancient Mauryan artifacts. The Mauryan Empire ruled South Asia from the late 4th to early 2nd century BC. This makes this cave much older than the more prominent ones. The other cave, which is mostly destroyed, has some beautiful Jain sculptures which are still intact. Inscriptions in Gupta script at the trapezoidal cave entrance are the reason why this cave is dated to the 3rd or 4th century. It was probably the hermitage of Jain ascetics.
Son Bhandar means gold treasure and legend has it that there is a secret treasure beyond measure. The door to the treasury opens when the right password is uttered. The ambiguous inscriptions in the caves are thought to contain the password. But numerous cave hunts over the years were unsuccessful.