Dharashiv Caves

Dharashiv caves are the nexus of 7 caves located 8 km away from Osmanabad city in Balaghat mountains in Maharashtra state of India. The caves were taken note by Archaeological Department of India and mentioned in the book Archaeological survey of India by James Burges. Dharashiv Caves have been declared as Protected area by Government of Maharashtra.

Dharashiv caves are believed to be built around 5th-7th century. First cave has been discovered in 10th century during the age of Rashtrakutas, while there have been debates over caves whether they are Buddhist or Jain creations. It is believed that these caves were originally Buddhist, but were later converted into monuments of the Jain religion.

The trade route going through the cities of Pathan, Ter (Tagar) was going through the ancient city of Dharashiv (meaning today’s Osmanabad). On this trade route, the caves were erected in the 6th century Balaghat mountain range of Dharashiv city. The caves are famous as the Saraswati caves. A total of 11 caves, including Buddhist, Hindu and Jain, are in this area. There is also a Samadhi temple here. From its construction style it must have been built in the 17th century. The second lane is a magnificent gateway covered with a stone. Vandalas are carved on both sides of the entrance. When you enter, you can see the remnants of the stupa that are carved in the stone on the right. There were early Buddhist caves at this place. In various places of Maharashtra, the original idol of Lane is seen today, in the name of a different goddess.

There are seven caves which are found in the first cave. The second caves are mostly of Waqatak style and Ajanta caves are of genre. The main hall is 80 sq ft and there are 14 shelters for the Buddhist monk. Also in the house there is a Buddha statue of Padmasan Awastha. The third cave is like the first cave. The remaining caves are like Jain.

There are 7 caves, 1st cave is harnessed by 20 pillars of scaffolding. Cave No. 2 is among major caves and modeled on the plan of the Vakataka caves at Ajantha. It has a central hall measuring 80 feet by 80 feet, with 14 cells for the residence of the Bhiksus and garbhagraha with a statue of the Gautam Buddha in Padmasana. 3rd cave resembles with 1st, while later caves are Jain caves.

In the caves of Peshwa , a good man named Hariri Narayan was penance. This monastery of this sect is also in Dharashiva.

Current status
Dharashiv caves are claimed by both Buddhist and Jain traditions. However research done by James Burges on 1200 caves in Maharashtra state showed that Dharashiv caves were originally a Buddhists caves in 5th century AD, while in 12th century some caves were converted to Jain caves.

Source From Wikipedia