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Junnar Caves

The Junnar caves founded between the 2nd Century BC and 3rd Century AD are located at distance of 177 km from Mumbai in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. The Junnar hill located at a small place called Junnar which is also the birthplace of the great Indian warior Chhatrapati Shivaji comprises of a group of primeval Buddhist caves. There are three chief groups of caves in the hills bounded by the Junnar plains :

1. Tulija Lena group
2. Manmodi Hill group
3. Ganesh Lena group

Out of these the most outstanding are the Ganesh Lena and Tulija Lena. These caves are an exceptional example of Buddhist sculpture of Satvaahana Period in Western India.

The Tulija Lena group of caves in this Buddhism pilgrimage site in Maharashtra comprises of the Chaitya hall which looks magnificent with the circular dome ceiling. The second cluster of caves, located close to the Manmodi hills is archaeologically important with several archaeologists paying a visit here. The third group of caves comprises of tiny viharas and cells and the most renowned ones out of these are the Ganesh Lena Vihara and the Chaitya Cave No. 6.

This inclination and development of carving out the cave temples from mountains first came to be in India and extended with Buddhism to further Asian countries. If the traveling monks had Buddhist visualization at any specific place or were enthralled by its sacred or picturesque impact on them, they started carving these masterpieces. These were used as a spot of devotion or meditation not only by the monks but the traders and pilgrims also.

This site is recognized by tourists from all over and by the Buddhist Pilgrims. These caves are significant from the archeological as well as Buddhist point of view.  These caves have numerous viharas, chaityas and monasteries and in a way they present the complete stages and range of development, progress and growth of the Buddhist architecture and structural design in western India.