Panhale Kaji monastery, (near) Dabhol, Maharashtra, IN

Raw data

"PANHALE KAJI CAVES, DISTRICT RATNAGIRI.—A study of the Panhale Kaji caves under taken by M. N. Deshpande of Nehru Centre, Bombay, revealed that the cave-excavation activity at this place started in the Hinayana phase (circa third century AD) when a stupa in alto-relievo was carved in Cave 5. This has been partially chiselled out some time later, which is enough to show its relationship with a similar stupa in the Chaul cave group. Later, the site became a stronghold of the Vajrayana sect in circa tenth-eleventh century AD when the earlier caves were appropriated for the worship of deities like Akshobhya and Mahachandaroshana (Cave 10). Immediately following this change the caves were used for Ganapatya and Saiva worship during the Silahara period. In Cave 19 which contains a monolithic linga-shrine in the interior of the hall, there are ceiling-panels containing the Ramayana and the Mahabharata scenes. In Caves 14 and 29 (the latter known as Gaura-Lena) there is a very clear evidence of the earlier caves being used for the worship of the deities of the Natha-pantha. Cave 29, besides containing a composite panel with images of Matsyendranatha, Adinatha and Uma has sculptured representations of Goraknatha and Maha-Tripurasundari, the latter answering to the description in the Lalitasahasranama. Inside the cave, on the walls are depicted 84 siddas in small panels. Among these can be identified one of Chauranginatha because of the additional depiction of his severed hands and feet. He is also represented in the Cave 14. This cave (Gaura-Lena) also contains, on the outside, opposite the cave entrance, sculptures of Ganesa flanked by Lakshmi and Sarasvati. Outside the cave are carved, in two large niches, sculptures of Hanuman and Bhairava." (Mitra 1984:97)

"Panhale Kaji (Panhale Kazi) - rock cut Buddhist temples
17.6379 N 73.2579 E (mistake up to 1000 m)
Address: Asia, India, Maharashtra, Ratnagiri district, left bank of Kotjai river, at Dapilo-Dabhol road
Alternate names: Panhale Kazi, Panhāle-Kāji, Panhale-Kaji, Pranalaka
Age:3dr - 14th c. AD Religion: Buddhism, Hindu
[…] in 1970 […] Panhale Kaji (often called Panhale Kazi) cave temples were discovered. […]
History in short
Creation of these caves started approximately at 3rd century AD, in time when influential merchants were spreading the teaching of Buddha in India. Many large temples appeared near ancient trade routes. Panhale Kaji was one of such temple complexes, located at busy route from inland to Dabhol - one of the most important port cities at Arabian Sea in these times. Dabhol has been marked even in maps of Ptolemy.
Later, circa 10th - 11th c AD caves became a stronghold of small group of followers to Vajrayana sect (Tantric Buddhism). Some of the earlier caves, for example Cave 10, were adjusted for the worship of deities like Akshobhya and Mahachandaroshana. Interesting monument of art is five Budha sculptures, possibly representing Vajrasana Buddha - showing relatedness to iconography of late Ellora Buddhist Caves.
In 13th century caves were taken over by Naths, Hindu cult, adding artwork characteristing for their religion. Then, during the late Silahara period these caves were used for Ganapatya and Shiva worship.

Input by: tmciolek, Apr 15, 2012

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 06 Feb 2014

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Panhale Kaji monastery, IN.

General location of the Panhale Kaji monastery, IN.
lat=17.6379 long=73.2579
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2012.

Google Map link:,%20IN)&ll=17.6379,73.2579&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Panhale Kaji monastery - Mitra (1984:97)

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • India:State of Maharashtra

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Initially Theravada (circa third century AD), subsequently Vajrayana - Mitra (1984:97)

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • Est. 3rd century AD - Mitra (1984:97)

MBM chrono-tag 0200-32p 0233-66p 0267-99p - tmciolek 6 Feb 2014
0200-32p 0233-66p 0267-99p 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32p 0933-66p 0967-99p 1000-32p 1033-66p 1067-99p dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • Was in operation circa 10th-11th century AD - Mitra (1984:97)

MBM chrono-tag 0900-32p 0933-66p 0967-99p 1000-32p 1033-66p 1067-99p - tmciolek 6 Feb 2014

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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