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Panhale Kaji

The Panhale Kaji cave is a group of 29 caves located in the Ratnagiri district. These caves are on the bank of the Kotjal river.

Districts/ Region

Ratnagiri District, Maharashtra, India.

History

The Shilahara inscription from the 12th century AD mentions Panhale Kaji caves from the Southern Konkan as Parnlaka. The 'kaji' word was added after the possession of this area by the Bijapur Sultanate in the seventeenth century. Sultan of Bijapur captured the port of Dabhol and appointed a Kaji (a magistrate or judge of a sharia court). Panhale kaji caves throw light on the device development of rock-cut architecture in the Konkan area from the 3rd century AD.
The small group of early Buddhist caves was modified and used by esoteric Buddhists in later periods. One of the rare sculptures of Mahachandaroshana is at the site. There are numerous structural remains along with the rock-cut monolithic shrines and stupas.
The same cave complex gives evidence of Hindu religious practices apart from Buddhism. These caves include the images of Ganesha and other deities. Some narrative scenes can also be seen carved in the caves.
The site is also known for its affiliation with Natha Sampradaya, a popular medieval Shaiva Sect. There are sculptural panels of Natha ascetics and loose sculptures of Gorakhanatha, one of the leading preachers in the tradition.
Not far from this main complex is another isolated cave near the area called Math Wadi. This cave has sculptures of Saraswati, Ganesha and few other Hindu deities. A panel of 84 Natha Ascetics, renowned preachers in the tradition, is carved in this cave. Near this isolated cave in the Kotjai riverbed, there are small monolithic scrines. The site of Panhale Kaji was occupied by various religious groups from the 3rd to 14th century CE. These caves provide evidence of religious transition over the period.

Geography

Panhale kaji caves are in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra state. They are around 160km south of Mumbai.

Weather/Climate

The prominent weather in the Konkan region is rainfall, the Konkan belt experiences High Rainfall (ranges around 2500 mm to 4500 mm), and the climate remains Humid and warm. The temperature reaches up to 30 degrees Celsius during this season.
Summers are hot and humid, and the temperature touches 40 degrees Celsius.
Winters in Konkan is the comparatively milder climate (around 28 degrees Celsius), and the weather remains Cool and Dry

things to do

1. Visit the main Cave Complex.
2. Visit the main Cave at Mathwadi.
3. Visit to the monolithic shrines in Kotjai river near Mathwadi
4. Visit to Panhale Kaji fort.

Nearest tourist place -

  • Maratha Darbar Park (12.9 KM)
  • Dabhol Jetty spring and medieval monuments (16.4 KM)
  • Keshavraj Temple (25.5KM)
  • Unhavare - Hot water spring (16.7 KM)
  • Chandika devi Devasthan (16.8 KM)
  • Caves at Khed and Chiplun?

Special food specialty and hotel

Ratnagiri Alphonso mango and Cashew nuts are famous. Being part of coastal Maharashtra, it is known for the Konkani seafood.

Accommodation facilities nearby & Hotel/Hospital/Post Office/Police station

The place has very good tourist facilities like hotels to stay, restaurants, primary health centre, public toilets etc.

Visiting Rule and Time, Best month to visit

The best month to visit Ratnagiri is from October to March. 
These caves are open to everyone.
One can enjoy the serene beauty of nature near the cave.

Language spoken in area 

English, Hindi, Marathi