Caves in Dapoli | Panhalekaji Caves | Lotus Eco Beach Resort

Caves in Dapoli

Travel Back in History with the Panhalekaji Caves

In the Taluka Dapoli of Ratnagiri district, lies Panhalekaji, a small village located close to the banks of the river Thorli-dhakti Kotjai. This community has a rich heritage in addition to being plush in natural beauty. The town has ancient Indian artefacts on display found inside the ancient Panhalekaji Caves, along the mountain range next to the river. Inside the caves in Dapoli, you can discover dome-shaped sanctuaries, statues, and other historical artefacts dating back to the Buddhist times of Hinayana & Vajrayaan, and the Shilahar dynasties. Whether you love history or are an explorer, Panhalekaji caves are the best adventure you will ever be on.

a rock sculpture outside a cave
the entrance to ancient caves

More About the Ancient Caves

There are 29 caves in total, forming the Panhalekaji Caves. The caves in Dapoli were worked on and renovated by the Vajrayana people in the 10th century. Stupas were also erected here. You can find statues of Lord Ganapati and Devi Saraswati. The caves which conserve the illustrious history of thousands of years are a peaceful and stunning getaway. Panhalakaji Caves are situated close to the Kotjai River. The location is still rather remote and difficult to get to know; back then, residing there would have meant leading an entirely isolated life. This also made it necessary for survival, to be self-sustaining with foraging for daily needs inside the deep jungle surrounding the mountain range.

Inside the Caves

As you step inside the caves, you will be taken back thousands of years. The smell and the sound of small water fountains nearby will saturate your senses as you stare at the amazing architecture that the Panhalakaji Caves brandish. However, Panhalakaji Caves' number 10 cave is the most impressive in the area. Maha-chandraroshana's deity is depicted on the stupa, signifying the relationship between Ratnagiri in Odisha and the region's historic Buddhist temples. Despite Lord Buddha's absence during his lifetime, Buddhism was well-known in Odisha from the beginning. According to the Buddhist histories, Tapassu and Bhallika, two wealthy traders from that era, brought Kesa Asthi to Odra, an ancient kingdom in Odisha. The Gautama Buddha's tooth and nail relics also made their way into Odra during the succeeding eras.

Explore written in a cloth on a wooden poll
exterior of caves

Reaching the Caves

To reach the caves in Dapoli, you have to start from Dapoli towards Khed. Midway after Walkoli and a right turn will take you towards the caves. The signboard is visible as you turn off the main road, but it vanishes as you make the turn. There aren't many people around to ask for directions, and the route is largely vacant. The caves in Dapoli do not show up on Google maps making it a thrilling journey. Additionally, several hot springs present nearby are a fun place to dip into if you manage to discover them. And if you are looking for a place to stay in, do check out the stunning rooms here.