Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 72667
Evolution of Rock-Cut Caves of Dhamnar at Dhamnar, MP

Authors: Abhishek Ranka


Rock-cut Architecture is a manifestation of human endurance in constructing magnificent structures by sculpting and cutting entire hills. Cave Architecture in India form an important part of rock-cut development and is among the most prolific examples of rock-cut architecture in the world. There are more than 1500 rock-cut caves in various regions of India. Among them mostly are located in western India, more particularly in the state of Maharashtra. Some of the rock-cut caves are located in the central region of India, which is presently known as Malawa (Madhya Pradesh). The region is dominated by the vidhyachal hill ranges toward the west, dotted with the coarse laterite rock. Dhamnar Caves have been excavated in the central region of Mandsaur Dist. With a combination of shared sacred faiths. The earliest rock-cut activity began in the north, in Bihar, where caves were excavated in the Barabar and the Nagarjuni hills during the Mauryan period (3rd century BCE). The rock-cut activity then shifts to the central part of India in Madhya Pradesh, where the caves at Dhamnar, Bagh, Udayagiri, Poldungar, etc. excavated between 3rdto 9ᵗʰ CE. The rock-cut excavation continued to flourish in Madhya Pradesh till 10ᵗʰ century CE, simultaneously with monolithic Hindu temples. Dhamnar caves fall into four architectural typologies: the Lena caves, Chaitya caves, Viharas & Lena-Chaityagriha caves. The Buddhist rock-cutting activity in central India is divisible into two phases. In the first phase (2ndBCE-3rd CE), the Buddha image is conspicuously absent. After a lapse of about three centuries, activity begins again, and the Buddha images this time are carved. The former group belongs to the Hinayana (Lesser Vehicle) phase and the latter to the Mahayana (Greater Vehicle). Dhamnar caves has an elaborate facades, pillar capitals, and many more creative sculptures in various postures. These caves were excavated against the background of invigorating trade activities and varied socio-religious or Socio Cultural contexts. These caves also highlights the wealthy and varied patronage provided by the dynasties of the past. This paper speaks about the appraisal of the rock cut mechanisms, design strategies, and approaches while promoting a scope for further research in conservation practices. Rock-cut sites, with their physical setting and various functional spaces as a sustainable habitat for centuries, has a heritage footprint with a researchquotient.

Keywords: rock-cut architecture, buddhism, hinduism, Iconography, and architectural typologies, Jainism

Procedia PDF Downloads 23