We travelled to the Barabar caves through Gaya. The 10 km stretch from Bela to the rock-cut caves of Barabar Hill is perhaps the worst road I have travelled on  so far. The villagers say that the road has not been repaired for decades.

Our local contact Avinash met us midway to the Hills. He accompanied us as a guide and we decided to drive to the Nagarjuna Hill first about 1.5 kms from Barabar where there were about three caves.

The twin hills of Nagarjuna and Barabar comprise of seven rock-cut caves, the oldest of it kind in India. Nagarjuna has  three caves wheres Barabar houses four different caves.

These caves were built for the Buddhist monks during Ashoka and Dashrath (Ashoka’s grandson) during 3rd cent BC. Monks of the now extinct Ajivkas sect too were believed to have resided and practiced their religion in these caves.

The hill is named after the Buddhist ascetic Nagarjuna, the founder of the Madhyamaka School of the Mahayana Buddhism.

The Nagarjuna caves are named as under:

Gopika (Gopi-ka-Kuba)
Vadithika (Vadithi-ka-Kuba)
Vapiyaka also known as Mirza Mandi (Vapiya-ka-Kuba)

The caves believed to be the oldest rock-cut caves of the country reveal the high standard of art that prevailed during the Mauryan period. 
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