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GoaCentral > Sightseeing > Monuments of Goa > Early Buddhist & Jain influence

Early Buddhist & Jain influence

Recent archaeological excavations have unearthed evidence of early Buddhist and Jain influence in the form of temples, caves and images. Click on for more....

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Evidence of early Buddhist influence

The discovery of the first image of Buddha.

The late Fr. Henry Heras, then the principal of St. Xavier’s College, Bombay conducted a small excavation at Mushira Waddo in Colvale in the 1930.  During the excavation, he discovered  an image of Buddha. This image is now exhibited in the Fr. Heras Institute, located in St. Xavier’s college, Bombay. 

The image of Buddha in Dhyanamudra is dated  4th century AD. It is postulated that the Buddhist monastery at Mushira Waddo might have been established by the feudatory rules of Goa, i.e. the Bhojas of Chandrapur. However, no traces of the monastery are found at Mushira Waddo today. 

The discovery of the second image of Buddha 

The second image is  the head of Buddha in bronze was found in the house of Mhamai Kamat of Panaji and  presently exhibited in the State Museum of Goa. It is a beautiful piece of bronze of a very small size (about 3cm.x2cm,). This head of Buddha is dated to 7th century AD. 

The  discovery of the third image of Buddha

This image was discovered in Rivona, Sanguem taluka, which is about 70 Kms from Panaji. This image is in  "Bhumi Sparsha Mudra" and is headless. The height of the image up to shoulders is 90cms and the breadth of Vajrasana is 115cms. The huge rectangular pedestal of which this above image was placed in the monastery was also found. The two other small pedestals on which perhaps Bodhisattva images were placed were also found. However, Bodhisattva images were not found. The image of Buddha from Rivona belongs to 7th century AD. 

This image of Buddha  was found lying in a topsy-turvy fashion in the midst of a field belonging to Shri Sarvottam Desai. To the north of the site at a distance of about 2kms and at height of about 2 mts are two rock-cut caves. At the site where Buddha image was found lying also contains some ruins. Further excavation of the site resulted in the discovery of the foundation of laterite monastery measuring 10.5X 5.60 meters. 

Discovery of Buddhist rock cut caves

There are two rock cuts caves in Lamgao near Bicholim. One of the caves has an impressive pavilion like structure in the sanctum and a well cut entablature with beams and ceiling, all of which have imparted dignity to its cave. Attempted formation of a niche series at the surface of the beams and the enormity of the of the size of pillars besides the massive platform have given this cave an appearance similar to that found in Buddhist caves of the Deccan. The name of the village is suggestive of being  of Buddhist origin and it essentially means "abode of the Lamas", the Buddhist monks of Tibet. It also seems probable that the cave complex at Arvalem now known as the "Pandava Caves" was also of Buddhist origin, later modified into a Hindu shrine. The recently discovered inscription on the lingam which was fashioned out of pillar of Shiva temple from the same locality clearly testifies this statement. The incomplete inscription refer to another Shiva temple perhaps from the same locality. These caves were excavated by Buddhists initially and were later occupied by Hindu Shaivites during the decadence of Buddhism as a religion in India. 

Evidence of early Jainism Influence

Jainism is another ancient religion of India, similar to but older than Buddhism. Founded and popularized by Shree Mahavir Jain. Unlike Buddhism which has almost no followers in India today, Jainism has a very strong presence in India. Many of its present day followers can be identified by their last name 'Jain".

There are ruins of three Jain temples belonging to Vijayanagar period. The first Jain Basti of Neminath is from Bandivade of Ponda taluka. The other two Jain temples are located in Cudnem and Jainkot area of Narve and both these temples belong to the Vijayanagar period.

Ruins of the Neminath Jain Basti at Bandivade 

A stone inscription from Nagueshi exhibited in the Museum of Archaeological Survey of India refers to the reconstruction of  this Jain Basti during Vijayanagar period in 14th century. The Neminath Basti of Bandivade is square shaped and built of laterite blocks with grilled windows. An arch is provided at the entrance. It is possible that a dome existed over the structure. Lime mortar has been found to have been used extensively as the binding material.

Ruins of the Cudnem Jain Temple.

The "Garbagriha" as well as the  "Mukha Mandapa" are constructed of laterite with Lime mortar being used as the the binding material. The entrance of garbagriha has an arch. The laterite blocks discovered in the excavation clearly indicate that there were arches in the "Mukha  Mandapa". These arches were embellished with a laterite floral pendant at the center of the arch. One such floral pendant has been discovered in a recently conducted excavation. The presence of these arches strongly suggest that there was a overlying dome covering the temple. This "Mukha Mandapa" is  8 x 8.30 meters. There are four pillars in the center and four others on each side wall. The "Garbagriha" as well as the "Mukha Mandapa" stand on a 2meter high platform. The octagonal "Shikara" of the "Garbagriha" has five tiers. The lower most is half spherical with a rectangular small entrance for the "Garbagriha". This is the only medieval temple of Goa which has a "Nagara" (Indo-Aryan) architectural features. The high platform and the tall Shikara give a sense of soaring height to the temple. The "Mukha Mandapa" has a gabled roof with tiles. A "Prakara"  wall with a base of pillars has also been unearthed. This Jain temple is similar to the Saptakoteshwar temple of Narve and the Chandranath temple of Paroda. It is possible that this temple was the forerunner of these architecturally similar temples. The use of Lime mortar and the architectural features indicate that the temple belonged to Vijayanagar period. A broken stone head of a "Teerathankara" or a Jain saint, with beautifully sculpted curls was also found near the "Garbagriha". A stone torso of another Jain "Teerathankara"  with a "Srivasta" symbol was also unearthed. Another find occurred while desilting a nearby well in the vicinity of the temple. At a depth of 5 meters, the right leg of a Statue was discovered. It appears that the broken head and the leg belonged to the same image. This image of a "Teerathankara" belongs to the Kadamba period. It however appears  that Jains during the Kadamba period were not prosperous to begin with but in the subsequent Vijayanagar Period, they might have gained prosperity due to their active participation in mercantile activity. 

Ruins of the Narve Jain Temple. 

The ruins today are called "Jainkot"  and are located in the Village of Narve in Bicholim taluka. They lie very near the present temple of Saptakoteshwar . In front of the Saptakoteshwar temple, there is ancient pathway constructed  of locally available laterite slabs which lead to the ruins of Jain temple. These consist  of mainly door jams, ceiling canopy and lintels chlorite schist. The Jain temple was built of  laterite. Lime mortar has also been noted to have been  used extensively here also. In an inscription there is only a mention of the name "Sparsvanath" and along with the name of the month and day, corresponding to the English calendar  date of March 13th,  1151 AD. During this period the Kadambas were in power and its ruler at that time was King Vijayaditya.

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