One of the oldest rock-cut caves in India, Barabar Caves dates back to the Mauryan period. Located in Jehanabad district in Bihar, the caves are set on the Barabar Hills. The caves are believed to have inscriptions which date back to the Ashoka period. One can find a number of Hindu and Jain sculptures in the caves which are believed to have been carved out of huge rocks which date back to 273 BC to 232 BC. It is believed that the caves were used by the monks who belonged to the Ajivika sect.
All the caves have two chambers which have been carved out of granite. The key attraction of the caves is that they have an echo effect which comes because of their polished interiors. The first cave chamber was used for the assembling of masses during the worship of the shrine/ stupa placed inside the inner chamber. Now both the chambers are vacant.
There are four caves which form the Barabar caves, namely Vishwa Zopri, Lomas Rishi, Karan Cahupar and Sudama. Of all the caves, Lomas Rishi caves are the most beautiful and alluring caves. The caves have been cut out from a huge granite rock. They have been cut out in such a manner that they look like wooden huts in which Buddhist monks lived. Also, the entrance of the caves is spectacular, a row of elephants leads towards the stupas which are located in the Lomas Rishi cave.
The arches of the Sudama cave look just like a bow and there is a circular chamber which also has a mandap. In the Vishwa Zopri cave, there are two rooms that are accessible via rock cut stairs. The Karan Chaupar cave has one room which features beautifully polished walls and has inscriptions dating back to 245 BC. The Vishwa Zopri cave has two rooms of rectangle shape that can be reached by the rock cut stairs. Of all the caves, Lomas Rishi and Sudama are considered the oldest examples of rock-cut architecture in the country which feature architectural designs of the Mauryan period.
Similar to the Barabar Caves are caves in the Nagarjuni Hills, which are located around two km away. These caves are considered a part of the Barabar Caves.
Best time to visit Barabar Caves
The best time to visit Barabar Caves is between the month of October and March.
Opening and closing timings:
Open all days of the week- 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM