The Pitalkhora Caves, in the Satamala range of the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, India (20°15’ N; 75°15’ E), are an early Buddhist site consisting of 14 rock-cut cave monuments which date back to the third century BCE, making them one of the earliest examples of rock-cut architecture in India. The cliff has fallen away dramatically since antiquity, and most of the carvings that existed on the face of the cliff fell with it. Because of its remoteness, Pitalkhora has few visitors.
The caves are cut in a variety of basalt rock which weathers quickly, so many of them have crumbled and are badly damaged. Out of the 14, four are chaityas (one housing votive stupas, one apsidal and single-cell) and the rest are viharas. All the caves belong to the Hinayana period, but the paintings are of the Mahayana period. The caves are in two groups, one of 10 caves and the second of four. It is believed that Pitalkhora can be identified with Ptolemy’s "Petrigala" as well as the "Pitangalya" of Mahamayuri, a Buddhist chronicle. The inscriptions date from c. 250 BCE to the 3rd and 4th centuries CE.
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- Pitalkhora at devi.org
- Pitalkhora Caves at Archaeological Survey of India
- Pitalkhora Caves at Maharashtratourism.net