Buddhist Rock-Cut Monasteries of the Western Ghats
This guidebook focusses on the rock-cut Buddhist monasteries near Nashik and Junnar, and at Karla, Bhaja, Bedsa, Kondane and Kanheri, all in Western Maharashtra. These magnificent shrines and dwellings, known as chaityas and viharas, were cut into the basalt cliffs of the Western Ghats more than 2,000 years ago. They are located near trade routes that wound their way through mountain passes, linking ports on the Arabian Sea with cities in the Deccan hinterland. Merchants traveling along these routes, together with local kings and queens, and guilds of craftspersons, financed these excavations and supported the everyday life of the monks and nuns who resided there in ancient times.
Co-authored by George Michell and Gethin Rees, and illustrated with splendid, newly commissioned photographs by Surendra Kumar, this is the first guidebook to describe the sites listed above. The monuments are arranged according to itineraries to encourage visitors from Mumbai, Pune and Nashik to discover these splendid vestiges of the Deccan’s ancient Buddhist period.
George Michell obtained his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, for his dissertation on early-Chalukya temple architecture. Since then, his research has ranged from surveys of town planning and Islamic buildings to studies of Hindu temple architecture and sculpture. During the 1980s and 1990s, he and Dr. John M. Fritz co-directed an extensive survey of Hampi-Vijayanagara.
Among his many publications are: The Royal Palaces of India, Hindu Art and Architecture, The Great Temple at Thanjavur, Mughal Architecture and Gardens, Late Temple Architecture of India, 15th to 19th Centuries and, together with Helen Philon, Islamic Architecture of Deccan India.
Gethin Rees completed his PhD in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge with a dissertation on the rock-cut monasteries of the Western Ghats, submitted in 2009. He has published articles on the relationship between Buddhist monasteries and the economy of ancient India. He is currently GIS Research Curator at the British Library, London.