Buddhist caves face threat

United News of India, July 29, 2010

Dhar, Madhya Pradesh (India) -- Situated on a hill on the banks of Baghani river at Bagh village, about-2,200-year-old Buddhist-era caves are facing threat to their existence due to seepage and erosion.

Of the seven caves under the Archaeological Survey of India, cave number 1 has completely weathered out due to seepage and erosion, while cave no 2 and no 3 are on the verge of extinction.

Other four caves are in better condition but nonetheless seepage is taking place in them. Seepage increases during rainy season when water in the river is more.

According to departmental sources, these caves were excavated by Buddhist monks (bhikshus) by cutting stones for their practices.

Buddha statues had also been carved on the stones.
However, seepage and erosion started from roof and walls with passage of time causing decay of caves.

ASI Assistant Conservator Devendra Richharia told UNI here that 41 paintings had been removed from these caves a few years ago and shifted to a museum in the Bagh cave premises to prevent further damage.

He said a statue of Buddha, rapt in meditation, carved outside a cave, is centre of attraction for tourists. However, there was chances of loss to such historical heritage due to excess rainwater in river.

Richharia said a letter had been written to senior officials for protection of these caves requesting construction of cement or concrete wall on the side of river.

He said if adequate attention was not paid, the heritage caves will become extant over period of time.