(Last Updated on : 31/10/2014)
Panhalakaji Caves are situated in the Ratnagiri district
. Panhalakaji Caves comprises of 30 caves and thus makes a complex mirroring of the art and culture of that time.
The Hinayana sect in Panhalakaji Caves began carving caves in 3rd century AD, beginning with the Stupa in the current cave no 5.
Panhalakaji Caves have inscriptions of both the Brahmi Script
and Devanagari script. Brahmi Script is the modern name given to one of the oldest writing systems used in the Indian subcontinent and in Central Asia during the final centuries BC and the early centuries. Like its contemporary, Kharosthi, which was used in India at that time, what is now Afghanistan and Western Pakistan. While on the contrary, Devanagari script is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal. It is written from left to right, does not have distinct letter cases, and is recognisable by a horizontal line that runs along the top of full letters.
In the 10-11th century AD another Buddhist group, a Vajrayana sect, established cave 10 in the cave complex of Panhalakaji Caves with their deities Akshobhya and Mahachandaroshana. They strengthened their practice in the region of Western Ghats. Lord Shiva or Mahadeva
and Lord Ganesha
were worshiping started at the site during Silahara rule. Shilahara Dynasty was a feudal clan of ancient era that established itself in northern and southern Konkan Region and southern Maharashtran part during the glorious rule of Rashtrakuta.
Panhalakaji Caves consists of 30 caves that were engraved in the period of Rashtrakuta and other times of ancient history of India. But the most spectacular are the Cave 10 of Panhalakaji Caves. It proposed the image of Maha-Chandraroshana. This deity is shown on the Stupa which signifies the connection of Ratnagiri of Odisha with ancient Buddhist sites of Odisha. Buddhism was known in Odisha right from the time of its inception, though the Lord Buddha never visited Odisha during his lifetime. The Buddhist chronicles refer to Kesa Asthi brought to Odra by two rich traders of that time, Tapassu and Bhallika. In the subsequent period, the nail and tooth relics of Gautama Buddha too entered into Odra. The Cave 14 depicts the deity of Nath Pantha or Natha Order of Buddhism. The Cave 19 of Panhalakaji Caves has Shivlinga in it, which determines the collage of both Hinduism and Buddhism in the later phase of early history of India. It has Hindu scriptures on its ceiling. The cave 29 of Panhalakaji Caves was used by Nath Pantha or the followers who believed in Natha Doctrine and was renamed as Gaur Lena.