Bandhavgarh Ancient Caves

The Bandhavgarh Ancient Caves are built on the sand-stone hillocks of the Bandhavgarh Hills. There are around 39 caves in this region, which cover a length of about 5 km.
Badi gufa is the biggest cave.
Mr Chakravarti regards these caves of puranik saiva origin rather than Budhist or Jaina association on the ground that whereas there exists no evidence of their having budhist or Jaina association, there are some indications in their inscriptions and reliefs of their Pauranic Saiva association, such as the surviving work Siva-Bhakta in an almost effaced record, We may notice several caves here which carry brahmi inscriptions. Some of these caves also have embossed figures of tiger, pig, elephant and horsemen.
Bandhavgarh fort is an ancient fort believed to be as old as 2000 years. Some historians say that the fort was built by Lord Rama. He got it built during a short stay in Bandhavgarh (Bandhav meaning brother, and garh meaning fort) while he was returning from Lanka after defeating demon Ravana.
After a detailed discussion on the era used in the records of this and other Magha rulers in their Bandhogarh records. in an almost effaced record. numbered XII by him. in Cave Number 6 and Jarasandha in another
cave reminding us of the notorious Mahabharata character. Similarly Bhutachara, probably for Skt Bhutacharin, an epitnet of Siva, is the only word legible in Cave No. 2, west of Gopalpur.

Inscription number 116
Bandhogarh Cave Inscription of Vasishthputra Bhimasena
( saka) Year 51.
Provenance: Between the Ganesh mountain and Ramgiri hills, in
the neighbour-hood of the ancient hill fort af Bandhogarh, Ramnagar tehsil, Rewa district. Madhya Pradesh.
Script Brahmi
Language Prakrit
References N. P Chakravarti. Ep.Ind XXXI, pp.177, No. I.
From the facsimile in Ep.Ind.. XxXI, Plate I facing
2. From the facsimile in Ep-Ind XXXI, plate I, facing p.178.
English Translation of the inscription

Success In the year fifty one, 51 of Maharaja Vasishthputra Shri Bhimsen,, on the eighth, 8th, day of the ,fifth, 5th, fortnight of the rainy season.
On this aforesaid day, was exavated a cave-dwelling by the Committee members, (namely) Vajrabharata the merchant, Phalgusramaka, the merchant. Madannaka, the Goldsmith. Bilvamata, the merchant, Upasaka, the carpenter. the blacksmith Sakra,
– the merchant, Chitra, the trader. Sivadhara the trader. Tira, the merchant.

1. Lata is apparently used for lana = skt. layana Infact, the letter may actually be lana, as there is very little
difference between t and n symbols.
2. The word Nigam is also used in the sense of a municipality or a corporation of a city, and negamo of a city father or corporator.
—- stands for a committee

Text of the inscription
1. सिधं महाराजस द सिठिपुतस सिरि भिमसेनस सवछरे
2. एक पने 50+1, दस परवे पचमे 5 दिवसे अठमे 8 एताय
3. ल (T) त = लान घर खनित गोठिक ( =के ) हि
4. सुवर्नकरो (बिल्व) मतो नेगमो उवासको काठाकारि कमार सको
5. नेगमा चितो वनिजको सिवधरो वनिजको तीरा
6.व [ णिजको ]

संस्कृत छाया

सिद्धम् । महाराजस्य वासिष्ठीपुत्रस्य श्री भीमसेनस्य संवत्सरे एकपञ्चाशे , ५१, वर्षा -पक्ष पञ्चमै 5 दिवसे अष्टमे, ८ । एतस्यां पूर्वायां लयन-गृहं खानितं मौष्ठिकै: वज्रभरत: नैगम: फल्गुश्रमक: नैगम:, उपासक: काष्ठकारी कमोर: शक्र नगम:
मदन्नक: सुखणेकर: बिल्वमतः नैगम: नैगमः, चित्र: वणिजक: शिवधर: वणिजक: तीर: वणिजक :

Inscription number 117.
Bandhogarh Cave Inscription of Kochhiputa Pothasiri – (saka) year 86.
Provenance: Back wall of cave No. 3, 1+1/2 Km. west of Gopalpur at the foot of the Bandhogarh hill fort, Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh.
Script: Brahmi of the western class of about the second century A.D.
The characters resemble those of the cave inscriptions of the western Kshatrapas and of western Deccan belonging to the second century A.D.

Language: Prakrit .
References: P. Chakravarti. Ep-Ind- XXXI ,pp-181, No. VIII.

1. From the facsimile in Ep.Ind.. XXXI. Plate facing p. 181, Inscription Number VIII.
2. Bhattaraka Hamavilala or lord Hamavilala, appears to have been a local deity. Vilala means “A cat” Sircar suggests that it represents a local cat
God like the tiger-god of the Sundabans.
3. Mirashi assigns Bhimasena of the ginja record to the Magha dynasty and identifies Vaisravana and Bhadrabala
of the Bandogarh records respectively with Vaisravana of the year 107 and Bhadremagha of the Kausambi line
of Magha rulers (see A. B.O.R I XXVII pp 15 ff.. and Ep-Ind. XXVI. pp. 297 ff ). Chakervarti. rejecting his
view. thinks that MahaSenapati Bhadrabala may have been the originator of the Bandhogarh line. Whose successor Vaisravana, took the title of Rajan, on extension of power.
He was succeeded by bhimasena. Who started with the same title, as his seal from Bhita shows but some yime
before 129 D assumed the title Maharaja, which was continued by his successors. Bhimasena’s son was
Pathasiri (years 86, 87 & 88) He was succeeded by Maharaja Bhattadeva, (Year 90) while discussing the religion of these rulers, chakervarti calls them
Maghas. He believes that there are two lines of Magha.
One ruling fron Kausambi and the other from Bandogarh.

English Translation of the inscription

success, On the 10th day of the seventh fortnight of summer in the year eighty six. 86, of Maharaja
Kautsiputra Proshtnasri. who is the son of Maharaja Bhimasena
and is favoured by Lord HamaVilala.
on this aforesaid day,
were caused to be excavated two. 2. stepwells, two, cave-dwellings and (caused to be laid) shrubbery (lit. a garden of shrubs) for religious purpose by the minister Megha, who is assigned to ministry of peace and war of maharaja Proshtasri and is the son of the minister Chakora. May merit increase.

Inscription serial number. IX, of Ep.Ind XXXI, p181 of Pothasiri, year 66. has the reading.
Text of the inscription
1. सिधं भट्टारक हमाविलाल परिंम हीत स महाराज भीम सेन
कोछी पुतस पोठ सिरिस
2. संव छरे असीते 80+6 गिम्ह पक्षे सतमे 7, दिवसे 10(1) एतायं पुरूवायं महाराज पोठसिरिस
3. संधी विगहि वावतेन अमच चकोर पुतेन अमच मघेन dhm निमित वा पि यो यानितावो द्वी 2,
4. लाता घरा बे झ (टि) मयो आरामो च 1 पु ( न्यं) वधतु

संस्कृत छाया
सिद्धम् । भट्टारक-हमाचिलात -परीगृही तस्य महाराज – भीमसेनपुत्रस्य महाराजस्य कौत्सीपुत्रस्य प्रोष्ठश्रिय: संवत्सरे षडशी तितमे ८६ ग्रीष्म पक्षे सप्तमे ७ मे. दिवसे १० मे । एतस्यां पूर्वायां महाराजप्रोष्ठश्रिय: संधि-विग्रहे व्यापतेन अमात्य-मघेन धर्म निमित्तं वाप्यौ खानिते द्वि अमात्य लातागृहे (यद्धा गुहा-तयने ) झा टीमय :
आरामः च पुण्यं वर्धताम् ।।

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