Ancient Buddhist and Jain Rock-Cut Talaja Caves in Gujarat
Talaja Caves are a group of rock cut caves at Talaja in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat state. Out of the total of 30 caves, around 15-20 are for storing water. These caves are cut out of isolated conical rocks. The lone Buddhist cave with some ornamentation is known as Ebhal Mandapa.
Out of the total of 30 caves, 13 are Buddhist caves dating back to 2nd century BC. On the facade of these caves, there are chaitya (prayer hall) windows. Unlike other Buddhist caves, the halls at the caves here are plain with no carvings. The lone cave with some ornamentation is known as Ebhal Mandapa. It has got a large hall with four octagonal pillars.
These Buddhist caves belong to the era around 200 B.C., when Buddhist monks first came to the area here. Fine carving of Bodhisattva (person who is on the path towards Buddhahood) can be found in these caves.
Some of the other caves are Jain caves or temples. They has got cells and halls with Jain symbols, which are believed to be build during the regime of Kshatrapas, in between second and third century AD.
Khodiad Mata Hindu temple is also there on the same hill.
Entry to the caves is free to any visitor.
How Do I Go to Talaja Caves?
Gujrat State Highway 31 passes through Talaja town. You need to walk around 15 to 20 minutes to reach the top of the conical rocks, on which the caves are situated.
Palitana town is at around 32 kilometers away. Bhavnagar town is at around 52 kilometers from the caves. There are state goverment and private buses from both these towns to the cave area.
Rajkot city is at around 195 kilometers away. Ahmedabad, the capital city of the state of Gujarat , is at around 215 kilometers away from the caves.
Jamngar, the petroleum refinery town, is at around 285 kilometers from the caves. Surat Town is at around 444 kilometers away from the caves.