Rock-Cut Temples of Western India

Rock-Cut Temples of Western India

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Book Specification

Item Code: UAO207
Author: Dulari Qureshi
Publisher: Bharatiya Kala Prakashan
Language: English
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9788180902024
Pages: 561 (Throughout Color and B/w Illustrations)
Other Details 11.00 X 9.00 inch
Weight 2.22 kg

Book Description

About The Book

The present book entitled "Rock Cut Temples of Western India" is an exhaustive book that covers all the caves of Western India. The book is the need of the times as a more researched book, a more detailed book on Western Caves has not been published after James Burgess and James Fergusson. Modern view points and deeper under standing of the caves was essential. The study required huge travel around the caves it was difficult to access some caves. Since there are no facilities around, photography was extremely perplexing. However the book was completed within a span of three and a half years.

Focus of the book is on the evolution of the chaitya and the vihara caves as well as an comprehensive documentation of all the caves. Each cave was carefully studied and their architectural, cultural details were documented. A comparative study too has been included as similarities and dissimilarities establish a more authentic dating in case of absence of inscriptions. The book also throws light on many unidentified sculptures. The special contribution of the book is the inclusion of practically all caves even some caves that were not included by James Burgess and Fergusson like the unknown caves of Kol, Yerphal, Pohale, Nadsur and Nenavali. Some of these caves are simply in accessible.

Besides all the documentation the book has also taken special pains to assess and evaluate the present conditions of all these monuments as after a gap of many years many cave groups are in an extremely bad condition. Those caves under ASI are in fairly good condition, though of course caves like Ajanta where the painting despite commendable development and conservation work being done are in a bad condition due to climatic and other geographical and man made reasons.

In the study major scholars work has been referred to as their contribution is significant.

About The Author

Prof. Dulari Qureshi, who originates from the world renowned historical city of Aurangabad is a highly knowledgeable and eloquent academician and has made a special mark in the scholarly circles. She holds a doctorate in History, the topic of her thesis being "Art and Vision of Aurangabad Caves" published later by Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, Delhi. She is also armed with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and a Post Graduate Diploma in Tourism Administration. She has five books to her credit, one which is under publication and two more manuscripts have been accepted for publication. Prof. Dulari has conducted research and submitted three UGC Minor Research Projects and also published 20 Research Articles at national level in books and research journals. She has written 455 write ups and her articles, features interviews with renowned persona lities, news stories have been published in national level newspapers like Times of India, Indian Express, Dainik Sakal, Maharashtra Times, Art and Glamour and several other magazines and journals and have received wide acclaim not only in her own city but also outside. Through her articles she has created huge awareness about the less known monuments of Aurangabad compelling the related agencies to conserve the gates and many more monuments of Aurangabad. She has not only participated in several national and international seminars but also I organized one International Seminar and two National Seminars on Tourism. To promote Tourism in Aurangabad Prof. Dulari has taken initia tive to organize the Ellora-Ajanta Festival on a large scale in Aurangabad and presently is the Chairman of the Cultural Committee of the festival. The outcome of all this effort is the establishment of the Heritage Committee in Aurangabad. She is also a member of INTACH, member of tourism Promotion Guild of Aurangabad, member of Expert Committee for Antiquities, Archaeological Survey of India, Mumbai. In the academic area she was the editor of the Research Journal of the University in Social Sciences and presently is the Co-Ordinator of AVISHKAR a Inter University Research Festival which is a state level festival. She has designed several courses in Tourism, Travel, Hotel and Aviation Management at Post Graduate, Graduate, PG Diploma and Certificate level. Presently she has started innovative courses in Aviation Management with a tie-up with the topmost aviation academy called Avalon Aviation Academy.

She is presently the Professor and Director in the Department of Tourism Administration, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad.


My father De Ramesh Shankar Gupte was in the last stages of completing the book titled "Caves in and around Bombay when he met with an accident and since than the manuscript was gathering dust. My husband Mr. Rafat Qureshi, when he came across the script was very keen on getting it published but my publisher C. P. Gautam suggested including the entire Western Caves as there was a market demand for this book. Since this kind of work would require a lot of traveling around Maharashtra, many times to remote areas we kept on postponing due to the more urgent demands of bringing up children, working in an office, writing other books, research articles and other social commitments.

I must give due credit to my husband who has constantly persisted in my completion of the book as well as my publisher who from Delhi made ceaseless calls, persuading me to complete the book without loosing patience. The book could have become more comprehensive and all inclusive as 1 intended including minutiae details but the task was so massive that I would have ended taking another decade in completing the book. Hence I refrained from taking the cultural aspect, inscriptions, textiles, Jewellery and even the more microscopic architectural details as all this work would mean man days spent in every cave groups.

The book hoping to be read by a wide scholarly world and also the student community more so the research students needs to be as clear as possible and the treatment of names and technical terms should be easy to understand. However many times the names of caves have been different locally and spelt differently by Britishers. Whenever such discrepancies have been identified there is an explana fory note of the origin of the name, the distortions and the present name.

In this kind of compendious work, errors, in accuracies especially in dating is a definite possibility such lapses are not out of oversight but difference of opinions. Art and architecture dating has always been a controversy and hence I do not claim to be hundred person accurate or reliable.

However, it was pure pleasure working on these caves, many times while studying the details feeling nonplussed with the kind of intricate work that we came across in the course of studying. It will need a life time to work on these caves and big manpower with sound research background. It also requires patience and careful assessing of each site.


As a writer of Marathi literature since last two decades I rambled around the countryside, several times in villages in close proximity to cave temples and not only learned to admire these rock cut temples but also attempted to collect information about these caves. This effort assisted me in appreci ating the creative genius of our great ancestors, hence when Dr. Dulari Qureshi approached me to write her foreward initially I was apprehensive but I decided to go through her manuscript. Since 1 know her father, Dr. Ramesh Shankar Gupte, a prolific Art Historian and a known figure in historical circles I was happy that Dr. Dulari chose to tread on his heels and accepted to pen the foreward.

The present manuscript is an exhaustive work and required lot of mental as well as physical effort on the part of the writer. While reading I also went through some names of caves that I had never heard or read about them earlier. She seems to have included the most insignificant as well as inaccessible cave temples. Though names like Karle, Kanheri, Ajanta are common but cave groups like Nadsur, Nenavali in Raigad district as well as Dharasiva and Karusa in Osmanabad. Yerphal. Pohale and Kol in and around Satara and Kolhapur are very uncommon, too are included. Since the Deccan trap rock was conducive for rock carving the major group of cave temples are available in Maharashtra State. Though a lot of scholarly work has been done on different group of caves by both Indian and foreign scholars, not many have ventured to work on comprehensive scale that Dr. Dulari has done by taking up the challenge of working on all the Western Indian Caves.

I must congratulate her efforts and wish her all the best for writing more such scholarly work and create a niche amongst top historians.


The rock-cut temples and monasteries of Western India represent a very significant architectural movement in the evolution of the Indian Cave temples. Like the motivation of all early art, their motivation was also religious. These were the product of an urge to create a form of temple that would defy the decaying effects of time, and would carry the message of Buddha through time and space.

Lomas Rishi and Sudama

The beginning of rock-cut architecture was made in the Barabar and Nagarjuni hills of Bihar, in the middle of the third century BC. The Barabar group was situated in an isolated range of granite hills on the left bank of the Phalgu river about 16 miles due north from the modern town of Gaya. The need of the Buddhist worship determined the form of the excavated Buddhist temples of the Sudama and Lomas Rishi The plan was simple, and consisted of the rectangular hall for congregation and a smallish circular chamber beyond, to house the stupa. The shape of the inner sanctuary was decided by the circular form of the object of worship the stupa. During this early phase of Buddhism, the Buddha was not worshipped in his anthropomorphic form, worship was offered to the stupa, which represented his maha parinibhana. The form of the stupa had already been determined. At the base was a circular tier, on which rest the drum, surmounted by a circular shaped member called the anda. This was topped by a squarish member called the harmika. The Chatra or umbrella rested on this, and in turn was topped by a mast.

The Stupa was originally supposed to house the relics of the Master As in the course of time stupas multiplied, relics of Buddhist saints were housed in them. At Bhaja the names of the Theras as for whom the stupas were excavated are inscribed. At Sudama and Lomas Rishi, however, these have only a symbolic meaning, since no relics are enshrined in them, these being carved of solid rock.

These early Asokan Chaitya caves were excavated parallel to the rock face, unlike those in Western India, which were excavated perpendicular to the rock face, entrance to the Sudama and Lomas Rishi caves is through side doors to the rectangular chambers. The entrance to Lomas Rishi is very ornamental. It has a decorative arch, which is pointed towards the center, and has a finial. Below is a vedika-bana and below it a beautiful elephant panel. The door jambs slope outwards in imitation of wooden architecture Here their slanting form serves no purpose. The form is not functional. It is purely imitative of early wooden construction. A number of stone beam ends can be seen projecting out side, to support the ceiling. There is no evidence of the use of timber.


The architectural arrangement was apparently unsatisfactory. The rectangular hall as well as the circular chamber which housed the stupa, remained without light and ventilation. From the point of worship it was a satisfying arrangement. This arrangement in Sudama and Lomas Rishi was copied at Kondvite, Salsette 16 miles away from the Goregaon station on the western railway, Mumbai.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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