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Kondana Caves

By Gaurav Manandhar at
Kondana Caves

Kondana Caves

Kondana Caves are Buddhist caves located near the small village, Kondana. All total, there are 16 Buddhist caves which were first excavated in the first century B. C. Among the caves the construction on the wooden pattern is notable ones.

The Kondana group of caves were first noticed in the 19th century by Vishnu Sastri. Soon after knowing the site, the collector of Thana, Mr. Law visited there. They found out that the vihara at Kondane looks more modern while the Chaitya is so much ruined. The chaitya is also very similar in plan and dimensions to that at Bhaja Caves. Therefore, it is impossible to decide which may have been first completed.

Major Kondana Caves

There are all total 16 caves at Kondana Caves but some of the major caves are as follows:

Cave No1: Chaitya

The first cave to the south-west is a Chaitya cave of very considerable dimensions. The dimensions measure 66.5 ft. deep to 26 ft. 8 inches wide and 28 ft. 5 inches high. The nave in front of the chaitya is 49 ft. in length by 14 ft. 8 inches with diameter, 9.5 ft. The neck of the chaitya represents the relic casket being which is of double the ordinary height. The fillets that covered this are decayed and also the whole of the lower part of the chaitya.

The bases with the lower parts of all the thirty columns along with the two irregular columns have now been decayed. Between these two latter pillars, the doorways of a height of about 10 or 12 feet have been placed which leads to the interior. The Chaitya Cave at Bhaja and that at Kondane had similar fronts constructed in wood.

However, there remains of the seven pillars on the left side of the cave and six pillars on the southern direction. The six pillars near the front on the right side have disappeared entirely. The arched roof has had wooden rafters but they are gone. The only remains of the woodwork is a portion of the latticed screen in the front arch. On the left side, there is a fragment of sculpture in high-relief part of the head of a single figure about twice life-size. The features are destroyed, but the details of the headdress show the most careful attention to finish of detail. Over the left shoulder is an inscription in one line in Brahmi characters which reads: Kanvasa antevasina Balakena katam which translates Made by Balakena, the pupil of Kanha or Krishna.

Cave No.2: Vihara

Vihara cave is northeast to cave no 2. The front of the veranda is totally destroyed except the left end. Upon completion, this verandah was 5 ft 8 inches wide and 18 feet long along with the unique number of five octagon pillars and two antae. At the end of this veranda, there is a raised recess, and under a Chaitya arch, there is a small dagoba in half relief. This one was the only object of worship when these caves were excavated.

The hall of vihara is 23 feet wide by 29 deep, and 8 feet 3 inches high. This hall consists of 15 pillars which were arranged about 3 feet apart. The upper portions of these pillars are in square shapes, but about 1.5 feet from the top they are octagonal whose bases of are gone, but it can be assumed that they were probably square.

The roof of the hall has the support from beams of 19 inches deep by 8 thick, 3.5 feet apart running across through the heads of the pillars. For entrance to the hall, there are three wide doors though most of the front wall is broken away. On the side of the wall, there are six cells partitions consisting of monk's bed.

Present condition of Kondana Caves

At present this Buddhist site is well known for not only pilgrims but also others who loves nature. This Buddhist site has been developed as the hiking destination during the monsoon season. Many people believed that the true natural beauty can be experienced during this season.

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