Achitecture of Khandepar Caves
Three of the caves are similar in pattern being carved from a single block with two cells while the fourth is single celled and is sited immediately opposite to cave one at a slight distance. All the caves are similar in appearance and are fitted with a tiered roof in the form of a temple shikhara. These caves are built up of laterite blocks laid on top of the main structure. These rock cut sanctuaries are the finest in Goa. The interior and exterior decorations of the caves are exquisitely designed. The wooden doors are provided with sockets and there are remains of schist frames on some of the inner doorways. Pegs are carved out of the rock for hanging robes and several slots of different sizes are made which might have been utilized for storing lamps and other belongings.
The outer cell of cave one also displays a lotus ceiling decoration which is an imitation of contemporary temple structures. The appearance of this cave suggests the fact that this probably formed the home of the leader of this small monastery. The single celled fourth cave is not much decorative and probably formed the temple or meditation room of the complex.
On the basis of the design of the shikhara and the use of the lantern-style roof the caves can be dated to the tenth or eleventh centuries, and therefore can be considered Kadamba monuments and were probably Buddhist in origin although they may have been taken over at a later stage like the other caves.
The rock cut appearances gives a feeling of a Buddhist origin and some of the inscriptions found also support the thought. However the design of the shikhara and the use of the lantern-style roof suggest the possibility of a Hindu temple.
Khandepar Caves are found 36 kilomters from Panaji in village called Khandepar in the Ponda Taluka. The 4 caves are situated in close vicinity, with the first and the second one being almost linked, the third is just at a distance of one meter and the fourth is opposite the first cave. The Khandepar village is located in 5km north-east of Ponda on NH4. Ponda does not have a train station, and the nearest station is Margao, at a distance of 14 kms from Ponda.
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