Mullawada, Junagadh, Gujarat 362001.
Within the grounds of Uparkot Fort, Junagadh, Gujarat. 37 km from Keshod, 99 km from Rajkot.
All year daily 8-18.
Adults INR 300, Children (0-15) free.
|Address:||Uperkot Caves, Mullawada, Junagadh, Gujarat 362001, Tel: +91-79-2397-7200.|
|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||caves excavated by Buddhist monks.|
The caves are called ઉપરકોટની ગુફાઓ (uparakōṭanī guphā'ō) in the local language Gujarati. The Uparkot Caves are simply named after the former castle which was built on this hill, the Uparkot Castle. Today the castle is gone, and the Jama Mosque is located in the middle of the huge park. The caves are located about 100 m to the north of the Jama Mosque.
These Buddhist caves have been 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 chamber, 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.