My break into Osmanabad,on my return from Parli Vaidhyanath,was mainly to see the amazing Jain/Budhist Caves!I checked with many including the reception desk and some autos about this 1500 year old Jain Caves but was disappointed, none had a clue.I was guided to an old Jain Temple,in Osmanabad:
Next day I casually asked Kamal, another auto driver. He knew where it is and drove me to this remote age old wonder, in seclusion n solitude! Though it is called Jain Caves,the seated Budha and the other points clearly show it is a Budhist Cave.Budists are the ones who started excavating caves for the first time by the Jains in India.
Having seen a few caves including the famous Ajantha and Ellora,I was Wonderstruck by the shear genius of their workmanship to chisel out a master piece like this in a remote mountain,1500 years ago.
Dharashiv Caves – Historical Background :
The dharashiv caves are situated 8 Kms away from Osmanabad city in Balaghat Mountains. The caves were taken note of by Archaeological Department and mentioned in the book “Archaeological survey of India” by James Verges. There are total 7 caves in the Balaghat Mountain lane. The first cave is without any statue with small open space .The second cave consists of a statue with Artistic work on right side of statue. The art work is of gandharva era. The fourth cave is with open space without any statue inside. The statue in the sixth cave is damaged while the seventh cave has no statue. That this is an ancient place is shown by the caves excavated in the hill at a distance of about eight miles,from Osmanabad.
These caves were originally Buddhist, but were later converted into monuments of the Jain religion and fresh caves were also excavated nearby. Of this we shall speak later. There are some more Buddhist caves excavated in the hills, about 8 miles from Dharashiva. The earlier of them are referred by Burgess to the middle of the 7th century A. D. Cave No. II is modeled on the plan of the Vakataka caves at Ajanta. It has a central hall measuring 80 feet by 80 feet, with 14 cells for the residence of the Bhiksus and garbhagraha with a colossal image of the Buddha in Pamasana. From the hoods of a serpent spread over its head, it is supposed by some to be the image of the Jaina Tirthankara Paravanatha, but the figures of deer with a dharmacakra between them on the pedestal indicate that it is that of Gautama Buddha. Another cave (No. III) has a hall of 59’ by 59’, closely resembling Cave No. I. Later some Jain caves (No. V and VI) were excavated on the same hill. They are described in the Prakrt work Karakandacariu as excavated by the king Karakanda, who came to know about the earlier caves from the prince Siva of Terapura (Tagara).