Barabar Hill

The rock cut caves on Barabar Hills (originally called Khalatika Mountain) were built by Emperor Ashoka for Ajivikas.


Barabar Caves were built by Emperor Ashoka. Three of the caves in Barabar Hills bear Ashokan inscription.  
There are four rock cut caves on Barabar Hills (original name Khalatika Mountain) – Lomas Rishi cave, Sudama cave, Karan Chaupar cave and Visvakarma cave (these names have no historical antecedents). Three of the four Barabar caves (i.e., Sudama cave, Karan Chaupar cave and Visvakarma cave) have Ashoka’s dedicatory inscription. Lomas Rishi has no Ashoka inscription.  Nearby Nagarjuni Hills situated at a distance of 1.6 km from the Barabar Hill has another three caves. The Nagarjuni caves have inscriptions by Ashoka’s grandson Dasaratha Maurya.  
These are the oldest surviving rock cut caves in India famous worldwide for highly developed mirror-effect polishing technology of great regularity.  
The interior walls are perfectly flat and supremely polished granite surfaces that creates a mirror effect as well as a very pronounced echo phenomenon. This feature is common to all the caves of Barabar.  


Country   India   
State   Bihar   
District   Jehanabad
Sub-division   Jehanabad
Block   Makhdumpur
VillageBarabar, Sultanpur
Postal Code   804405
Coordinates 25.0055° N, 85.0633° E
Google map link



I. Nigoha Cave (known popularly as Sudama cave):

Author: Tim Makins A journey to India

𑀮𑀸𑀚𑀺𑀦𑀸 𑀧𑀺𑀬𑀤𑀲𑀺𑀦 𑀤𑀼𑀯𑀟 𑀯𑀲𑀪𑀺𑀲𑀺𑀢𑁂𑀦𑀸
𑀇𑀬𑀁 𑀦𑀺𑀕𑁄𑀳𑀓𑀼𑀪𑀸 𑀤𑀺𑀦 𑀆𑀚𑀺𑀯𑀺𑀓𑁂𑀳𑀺

Lājinā Piyadasinā duvāḍasa-[vasābhisitenā] / [iyaṁ Nigoha]-kubhā di[nā ājivikehi]

“By King Priyadarsin, in the 12th year of his reign, this Nigoha (Banyan tree) cave was offered to the Ajivikas.”

II. Supriyeksha Cave (known popularly as Karan Chaupar cave): This cave contains the dedicatory inscription of Ashoka dating from the 19th year of his reign, about 250 BCE. The inscription is located outside, immediately to the right of the entrance. The inscription has inverted swastika with upward arrow at the end suggestive of Buddhist character.

Attribution: Photograph:Eugen Hultzsch (29 March 1857 – 16 January 1927)Text: पाटलिपुत्र (talk) Translation by Harry Falk The diverse degrees of authenticity of Aśokan texts p.9, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

III. Visvakarma cave: This cave is dated circa 257 BCE, unfinished but was consecrated by Ashoka; has dedicatory inscription of the Emperor in Brahmi script..

The inscription reads ”By King Priyadarsin, in the 12 th year of his reign, this cave of Khalatika Mountain was offered to the Ajivikas.”

The word “Ajivikas” (𑀆𑀤𑀻𑀯𑀺𑀓𑁂𑀳𑀺, Ādīvikehi) at the end of the inscription was latter attacked before 5th century AD, but is still readable.

Author: Dirghatamas Alambayan
Author: Cunningham, 1871 extracted from another file: Mauryan inscriptions in the Barabar caves.jpg

IV. LOMAS RISHI CAVE: Built by Emperor Ashoa around 260 BCE, this cave has no Ashokan inscription perhaps because it was never completed.

The most famous of the Barabar caves due to acrched facade in the characteristic form of the “Chaitya arch”



1. Barabar Caves & The Lost Ajivikas 

2. Seven Wonders of India: Barabar Caves

3. Lost Technology of Ancient India? The Enigmatic Barabar Caves | Ancient Architects

4. Acoustics of Barabar Caves



Umesh Prasad
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