India Through the Eyes of Ellen Churchill Semple



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The Karla Caves or Karle Caves or Karla Cells are a complex of ancient Indian Buddhist rock-cut cave shrines located in Karli near Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in the western Indian region of Maharashtra. The shrines were developed between the 2nd century BC and the 5th century AD. The oldest of the cave shrines is believed to date back to 160 BC and were historically associated with the Mahāsāṃghika sect of Buddhism and later with Hinduism. The caves house a Buddhist monastery dating back to the 2nd century BC featuring a large, intricately carved chaitya (prayer hall–pictured here) in the main cave, dating back to the 1st century BC. This is among the largest rock-cut chaityas in India, measuring 148 feet long and approximately 46 feet high. The hall features sculptures of both males and females, as well as animals such lions and elephants.

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