India plans to preserve Buddhist caves

TNN, Mar 30, 2011

GANDHINAGAR, India -- The state government is busy readying a master plan to preserve the Khambhalida caves. This is part of an initiative designed to give due importance to Buddhist destinations in the tourism circuit.

The government, in reply to a question posed by Jodiya MLA Raghavji Patel, said on Tuesday that there are places of Buddhist importance in Siyot in Kutch, Ranpur in Jamnagar, Sana, Junagadh, Prabhas Patan, Savnigiri in Junagadh district, Khambhalida in Rajkot, jajpur in Bharuch district. Apart from the Khambhalida plan, the government plans to spend Rs 43.4 lakh for the caves in Rajkot.

Officials said there are three caves in Khambhalida, the central one being a 'chaitya' with a worn-out stupa. The entrance of the 'chaitya' is flanked by two large sculptures of the Bodhisatvas-Padmapani on the right and Vajrapani on the left. These caves dates back to 4th-5th century AD and are scooped out from the local limestone rock.

The Siyot caves in Lakhpat of Kutch districts date back to first century AD. They have an east-facing sanctum and an ambulatory. Siyot must have been one of the 80 monastic sites that the 7th century Chinese travellers reported at the mouth of Indus river. The government said that it has been spending over Rs 1 lakh for the maintenance of these caves.