Monuments

Kanheri Inscriptions

India is a very rich country in terms of its rock-cur architecture. To study this aspect, Cave Commission was set up in the middle of the nineteenth century CE under John Wilson. Dr Brett was made responsible to collect facsimiles of the inscriptions of the caves in the western India. These facsimiles were used by then scholars to translate and interpret the inscriptions.

In 1851, Stevenson translated two Pali inscriptions, out of five Pali and one Sanskrit plaster-casts received from Dr Brett, and published these in the Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. These two Pali inscriptions are:
The charitable gift of a Svastika temple by Sulasadata, son of Rohinimita, the goldsmith, whose eye is directed to prosperity.”
A tank, the charitable gift of him who, devoted to intellect, has crossed over the water of affliction.

Dr Bird in his Caves of Western India provides copies of 27 inscriptions. In 1852, Stevenson published translations of 20 inscriptions and one copper-plate charter in the fifth volume of the Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. He talks about some important names found in these inscriptions. He mentions that the most ancient name found here is of Chanakya who is referred with his gentile name, Damila (Dramila in Sanskrit). He is said to be an inhabitant of Kalyana in the inscriptions. The inscriptions (No 15 of his list) merely talks about the dedication of the caves to him but the name of the donor is not given.

The other two important names are of Gautami-putra and Yadnya Sri-Sat-Karni, two famous sovereigns of the Andhra dynasty. Stevenson further tells that another name mentioned in the inscriptions is of Buddhaghosha who is claimed to be an apostle from the eastern peninsula. He mentions that this Buddhaghosha might be the same who is found in the Sri Lankan chronicles, who left India to Burma and on the way stayed in Sri Lanka where he translated many Buddhist treatise. He thinks that as there is no certainty whether he returned to India, hence this inscription would have been of the time before he left India.

In 1860, E W West read a paper in which he mentioned 60 inscriptions found in the Kanheri caves. His article was published in the sixth volume of the Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. In the same volume, Bhau Daji reports the discovery of two more inscriptions. He mentions that one inscription has ‘swasti’ and date ‘799 Saka’ in figures and words. The name of ‘Maharajadhiraja Kokalla’ was also read. The inscription on the opposite Darbar cave is larger but contains the name of the same king and same date. Bhau Daji tells that this king Kokalla belongs to the Kalachuri race.

This article lists down all inscriptions noted by various scholars in the past. These inscriptions were mentioned in the following accounts:

  • 1847, Bird, Historical Researches
  • 1853, Stevenson, Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society vol V
  • 1861, West, Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society vol VI
  • 1883, Buhler, Archaeological Survey of Western India vol V
  • 1911, Luders, A List of Brahmi Inscriptions, Epigraphia Indica vol X
  • 1975, Gokhale, Shobhana, Kanheri Inscriptions. Deccan College, Poona

Copper Plate Charter – These plates were found by Dr. James Bird in 1839 during excavations. The original copper plates were never recovered from Dr Bird after his death. Scholars tried out the translations based upon a lithograph published by him in Historical Researches. Later he wrote an article in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal which was accompanied with an eye-copy of the record.
Characters -Western variety of the Southern Alphabets
Language -Sanskrit
Date – Year 245 of an unknown era, mostly accepted as that of Kalchuri Era which corresponds to 493-94 CE
Stevenson – “Adoration to the Ever Blessed. During the reign of the fortunate Kripa Karna, on the completion of the year two hundred and forty-five, there was in the great monastery at the Kanha hill (a son), favored by Buddha, and named Pushyavarman, of a daughter of a kinsman of the exalted Srami Karna, of the victorious Andhrabhrita family. He in a heap of spicery, in a manner due to a noble layman of the religion of the all-blessed powerful hero, the professor of the ten-fold might, the lord, the Sakya sage, the true and perfect Buddha, and also in the midst of a multitude of attendants, while forming at the same time a receptacle for the prospering delightsome tooth of Buddha, established a sacred monument for the sage’s chief lay disciple, the son of the lady Saradvati, in the midst of polished stones, a very crystal sea of light and radiance, at a time indicating love, stability, and conciliation.
While Deva, Yaksha, Siddha, Gandharva, Ahi, Bhadra Purna, Bhadra Padmi, Kavya, Vajrapani, Vach, Kanina and other venerated by this kinsman, enjoy themselves in paradise, during the thousand revolutions in heaven of the Celestial Dolphins, so long shall this sea of milk, this cow that yields whatever is desired, Buddha, the joyous, the wonderful, the chief of sages, the pole (round which the world revolves), endure. And as long as the liquid streams give birth to the pure water cascades, so long may fame carry down the renown of the benevolent, holy benefactor, born for the benefit of others, and rightly named Pushva (the protector).”
Bhagvanlal Indraji – “Salutation to the omniscient (Buddha)! In the year two hundred and forty-five of the increasing rule of the Traikutakas, in the great vihara of Krishnagiri, Buddharuchi – an inhabitant of Kanaka (Kabhoka or Katoka?) a village in the Sindhu country, the son of the glorious Buddhasri and Pushyavarman, intent on religious duties, of the religion of Sakya Muni (who was) strong in possessions of the ten powers, revered, possessed of perfect knowledge, an Aryagana of his Sravaks, – erected this Chaitya of dressed stone and brick, to last while moon, sun and ocean endure, to the great Sravaka of the Paramamuni (Buddha) – the noble Saradvatiputra. Therefore let the Devas, Yakshas, Siddhas, Vidyadharas, Ganas and Manibhadra, Purnabhadra, Panchika, Arya-Vajrapani, Vananaka, be propitious. Moreover as long as the milky ocean, the waters of the whirlpools which are whirled around the sea monsters which are driven about its thousand waves, is an ocean of milk, and as long as the rugged Meru is piled with great rocks, and as long as the rivers of clear water flow with water into the ocean – so long this enduring and auspicious fame attach itself to the excellent son of him named Pushya(varman).”
V V Mirashi – V V Mirashi’s translation is very similar of that of Bhagvanlal Indraji. Mirashi did not provide any identification for Kanaka, he identified Sindh with the district of same name in North India. He also mentions that at the end of the plate, word ‘dadha’ is very clear which stands for a canine tooth. Hence it is most probable that the stupa was erected over the tooth relic of Saradvatiputra to whom this place is dedicated.

Inscriptions in Cave 2

No 1 of Bird/No 3 of Brett/No 2(4) of Stevenson/No 2 of West/No 2 of Buhler/No 985 of Luders/No 2 of Gokhale
Location – on the back wall of cave no 2 above a long bench set against the wall,
characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “Peace. The religious assignation of a refectory by Kanaka, a brazier of Nasik.”
Luders – “A seat (?), the gift of Nakanaka (Naga), the Naikaka (inhabitant of Nasika).”
Gokhale – records the gift of a refectory ‘Sata’ by Nakanaka, inhabitant of Nasik.

No 2 of Bird/No 1 of West/No 1 of Buhler/No 984 of Luders/ No 1 of Gokhale
Location – right corner of cave no 2, behind the large stupa, partly on the left and partly beneath the standing figure of the Buddha bowed by nine persons near his feet in ‘L’ shape,
Characters – Brahmi of 6th century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – “The physician (vaidya) Nanna. Rana (?) Bhaskara. Bharavi. Chelladeva. Boppai (Vopadeva). Bhatta Khasu.”
Gokhale – the inscription records five names in Sanskrit nominatives and ends with four Prakrit names. “Nanha physician (vaidya), Bhanu, Bhaskara, Bharavi, Chelladeva, Boppai, Bhatta Vesu

No 3 of Bird/No 1 of Brett/ No 1(3) of Stevenson/ No 3 of West/No 3 of Buhler/No 986 of Luders/No 3 of Gokhale
Location – in cave no 2 near a small tank,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “The religious assignation of a cistern fitted to last a thousand seasons, by Samidabha, a goldsmith of Kalyan.”
Luders – “A cistern (paniyaka), the gift of the goldsmith (suvanako(ka)ra) Samidata (Svamidatta) of Kaliyana (Kalyana) together with the Order (Sagha).”

Inscriptions in Cave 3 (Chaitya Cave)

No 4 of Bird/No 4 of Stevenson/No 8 of West/No 8 of Buhler/No 991 of Luders/No 10 of Gokhale
Location – on a small bas-relief stupa on the right side wall outside the verandah of the Chaitya cave no 3,
Characters – Brahmi of 5th century CE,
Language – Sanskrit
Luders – “Beginning of the Buddhist creed.”
Gokhale – provided the text = “Ye dharma hetuprabhava tema [….]”

No 5 of Bird/No 4 of Brett/No 4(6) of Stevenson/No 9 of West/No 9 of Buhler/No 992 of Luders/No 9 of Gokhale
Location – on a pilaster on the right side of the standing Buddha which is sculptured inside a small chamber to the left side of the entrance of the Chaitya cave no 3,
Characters – Brahmi of 5th century CE,
Language – Sanskrit
Stevenson – “(The image) of those who, by religion, have become guiltless and pure”
Luders – “Gift of the teacher (acharyya) Buddharakshita with the wish that all living beings may become Buddha.”

No 6 of Bird/No 2 of Brett/No 1 of Stevenson/No 6 of West/No 6 of Buhler/No 989 of Luders
Location – Under the standing figure of Buddha, on the inside of the outer wall of the verandah of the Chaitya cave no 3,
Characters – Brahmi of 5th century CE,
Language – Sanskrit
Stevenson – “A religious assignation of an image of the lord (bhagwan) by the compassionate teacher and venerable monument of religion’s disciple, the Sakya mendicant Buddhaghosha, a sojourner on earth, and a prisoner in the body; same who composed the institutes of the lord Buddha.”
Luders – “An image of Bhagavat, the gift of the Sakya monk (Sakyabhikshu) Buddhaghosha, the guardian (?) of great gandhakuti (mahagandhakutivihara), the pupil (sishya) of bhadanta Dharmmvatsa, a teacher of the Tripitika (traipitakopaddhyaya), who follows the religion of Buddha Bhagvat.”

No 10 of Bird/No 13(15) of Stevenson/No 5 of West/No 5 of Buhler/No 988 of Luders/No 6 of Gokhale
Location – on the left hand gate post of the Chaitya cave no 3,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “The following religious assignation (belong to this locality). Adorned with a radiance vieing with that of the solar rays in the —- preserving sanctuary constructed for Buddhist sages, by —-, the glory of religion, is deposited an inexhaustible treasure, all-protecting, and delivering from rapine. In the prosperity-ensuring monastery of Bali there is, connected with the temple, the hall for travelers. On the site belonging to the divine Karni there is a heaven-bestowing cave temple of glen. There is, near the pleasant road close to the site of the divine Kantera, where the people worship the veritable treasure relic, Dhuli Karni’s granary and store-house. Above all, there are the famed veritable treasure images which sustain worship and virtue, and are beloved by the priesthood, with the hand in the attitude of bestowing blessings. Below there is food, above there are jewels.”
Luders – “Records various gifts: an endowment was given to monks (pavayita); some three objects were made in the Soparakahara (district of Surpara); a chaitya house (cheti….), a hall of reception (upathanasala) and cells (overaka) were built in the Abalikavihara (Ambalikavihara) at Kaliana (Kalyana); a chaitya building (chetiyaghara) and thirteen cells (ovaraka) were built and endowed in some vihara at Patithana (Pratishthana); a temple (kuti) and a hall (kodhi) were excavated in Rajatalaka Paithanapatha (Prathishthana-patha); a monastery (sagharama) with endowment was built at the vihara of Sadasevaju (?).”

No 11 of Bird/No 4 of Brett/No 12(14) of Stevenson/No 4 of West/No 4 of Buhler/No 987 of Luders/No 5 of Gokhale
Location – on the right hand gate post of the Chaitya cave no 3,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “King Gota[miputra’s imperial descendant Sri Yadnya] Sat Karni had [a nephew named Nagakunda, who in forest] frequented by the feathered tribe [reclaimed land for a field and a garden] to obtain groceries and agricultural pro[duce]; and also bestowed the neighboring vill[age] of An[anga] for the benefit of his kindred; and in union with his broth[er Ananda, and along] with Gajasena and also Gajami[tra dedicated as a religious assignation two] images of Buddha. [Here was established also a refectory] fenced in and adorned with figures of lion, for the company of religious teachers, for the purpose of putting a stop to my parent’s transmigration. On account of all the children [descended from] the lady Ajeya’s and my brother’s sons and family, come ye from every quarter of this mountain house, and enjoy a happy home. Here nine death-subduing priests of established virtue, (Theros), the venerable Achala, the venerable Gopal, the venerable Vijayamitra, the venerable Bo, the venerable devotee Dharmapala, Aparenu son of Nagakanda, and Samapita the religious guide, the venerable Sehalo (Sinhala?) along with a body of other eight venerable priests, filled with great compassion towards the world, reside in the sacred Kanha hill, on whose circumference grows the mountain pepper, which is enclosed with a circle of prickly pear, and filled inside with turmeric, the delight of sages.”
Luders – “Building of a chaitya (chetiya) by the merchants (vanijaka) …… born of …… nu, the …….. khatiya brothers, Gajasena, Gajami[ta] (Gajamitra), …. The property of the school (nika[ya]) of the [Bhadaya]niya (Bhadrayaniya) teachers (achariya), in honor of their relatives. The overseers (nava[kami]ka) were the monks (pavajita), the elders (thera) bhadata (bhadanta) Achala, bhadamta Gahala (Grihala), bhadamta Vijayamita (Vijayamitra), bhadata (bhadanta) Bo[dhika], bhadata (bhadanta) Dhamapala (Dharmapala), and the lay worshipper (upasaka), the merchant (negama) Aparenuka, the son of A…., was he samapita (?). The work was executed by bhadata (bhadanta) Bodhika, the pupil (sisa) of the teacher (achariya), the elder (thera) bhadata (bhadanta) Seumla, who acted as overseer (? Uparakhita), through the stone-masons (sela-vadhakin), the nayakamisas, the kadhichakas, the mahakatakas, and the polisher (mithika) Khadaraki (Skandaraki ?)”

Inscriptions of Other Caves

No 7 of Bird/No 17 of Brett/No 17(19) of Stevenson/No 10 of West/No 10 of Buhler/No 993 of Luders/No 15 of Gokhale
Location – in cave no 4,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “To the Perfect One. The religious assignation by the goldsmith Dharmanaka of a fear-destroying religious grotto, with a dagoba, for the teachers of established principles, full of holy deeds, preserved from fear and disease.”
Luders – “The stupa (thuba) of the elder (thera) bhayata (bhadanta) Dhammapala (Dharmapala), the gift of Sivapalitanika (Sivapalita), wife of the treasurer (heranika) Dhamanaka (Dharma).”

No 8 of Bird/No 6 of Brett/No 2 of Stevenson/No 11 of West/No 11 of West/No 994 of Luders/No 16 of Gokhale
Location – Cave no 5 & 6 (over two water tanks on the path up the hill)
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Sanskrit
Stevenson – “The charitable establishment of a place for the distribution of water, by S’ateraka, the minister in the Bassein province of Satrap…….”
Luders – “A water-cistern (paniyabhajana), the gift of the minister (amatya) Sateraka. Mentions besides the queen (devi) of [Va]sisthiputra Sri-Sata[karni], descended from the race of the Karddamaka kings (rajan), daughter of the mahakshatrapa Ru….”

No 12 of Bird(right part)/No 7(9) of Stevenson/No 12 of West/No 12 of Buhler/No 995 of Luders/No 17 of Gokhale
Location – above the tank to the left hand end of cave no 7,
Characters – Brahmi of early 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “The tank of Samyakupasaka, skilled in scared learning, of the town of Sopara. A religious assignation”
Luders – “A cistern (podhi), the gift of the lay-worshipper (upasaka), the merchant (negama) Samika (Svamika) from Soparaga (Surparaka).”

No 12 of Bird(left part)/No 6 of Stevenson/No 13 of West/No 13 of Buhler/No 996 of Luders/No 18 of Gokhale
Location – above the water tank in cave no 7,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit,
Stevenson – “A religious assignment of a cistern by S’ulasa-dat, son of Rohinimitra, a goldsmith of Khamalaka.”
Luders – A cistern (podhi), yje gift of Sulasadata (Sulasadatta), son of the treasurer (heranika) Rohanimita (Rohinimitra), the Chemulaka (inhabitant of Chemula).

No 14 of Bird/No 11(13) of Stevenson/No 44 of West/No 15 of Buhler/No 1024 of Luders/No 25 of Gokhale
Location – on the left hand side-wall, outside the verandah of cave no 21
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “To the Perfect One. King Gotamiputra’s imperial (descendant) Sri Yadnya Satkarni had a nephew named [Nagakanda] and surnamed Ana who had abandoned the world, and was skilled in scared learning. By his son Aparenu, (surnamed) Anaja, a devotee, along with his attendants, and also by the most excellent Ananda, son of the lady his mother, along with Dhulakarni, Ananda’s guardian, and four daughters, Hijarana, …., …., …., along with Dharmadravya and also …., this cave and screen, destined for worship, were formed and bestowed as a gift in the Kanha hill to cover the deficiencies of the (donors’) parents; and to be a place for the benefit of monks from the four quarters (of the world). Therefore come hither all ye multitudes. Peace. Here is the true inexhaustible treasure, here is an establishment for the distribution of money and the supply of provisions. To the spiritual directors during their session in the rainy season is given to each daily a hundred goats. Here also is  instruction in medicine, and at the beautiful spot Field Town a supply of vegetables. Here is the delight of assembled priests, the matted-hair ascetic’s cooling-herb, useful to monks at particular seasons.”
Luders – “A cave (lena) and a hall (kodhi) on mount Kanhasela (Krishnashaila), the gift of the lay-worshipper (upasaka) Aparenu, the son of Anada (Ananda), a merchant (negama) residing at Kalyana, together with his family, with his wife (kudbini) Juvarinika, the mother of Anada, with his son Anada (Ananda), with his daugthers-in-law, (the wives of) Ana….., …..Dhamadevi (Dharmadevi), and others, to the congregation of monks (bhikhusagha) of the four quarters. Also endowment with money and the field of a half-pana-owner (adhapanakhetiya) in the village (gama) of Magalathana (Magalasthana).”

No 15 of Bird/No 5(7) of Stevenson/No 18 of West/No 18 of Buhler/No 1000 of Luders/No 40 of Gokhale
Location – on the inner wall of the verandah of cave no 73 between two grated windows,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “To the Prefect One. The religious assignation of a cave and a cistern by Rishi-hala, skilled in scared learning , son of Gaulinaka, of the city of Kalyan, skilled in sacred learning, along with his attendants, to atone for their parents’ sins. An inexhaustible treasure is here deposited, and the tooth of the venerable personage skilled in sacred science displays its influence in the holy field under the pole-resembling monument. What then, O! ye monks, who keep the appointed session is there distinguished in workmanship even of Kubera, or in the most splendid apparel? Happy is the man of subdued passions, whether a religious student, or one who has a perfect knowledge of the times.”
Luders – “A cave (lena) and a cistern (podhi), the gift of the merchant (negama) Isipala (Rishipala), son of the merchant (negama) Golanaka, the Kaliyanaka (inhabitant of Kalyana), together with his family in honor of his parents. Also endowment of a field in the village (gama) of Saphau, for the support of the monk and repairs of the porch (matapa) and the pavada (?).”

No 16 of Bird/No 23 of West/No 20 of Buhler/No 1005 of Luders/No 46 of Gokhale
Location – on the back wall of the open gallery just by the side of cemetery near cave no 86,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – “A cave (lena), the gift of jeweler (manikara) Nagapalita, the [Sop]arayaka (inhabitant of Surparaka), with his family.”

No 17 of Bird/No 27 of West/No 1009 of Luders/No 44 of Gokhale
Location – on the right hand side-wall, outside the verandah of cave no 80,
Characters – Brahmi of 3rd century,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – Not read
Gokhale – provided the text of the inscription

No 18 of Bird/No 10 of Brett/No 8(10) of Stevenson/No 39 of West/No 28 of Buhler/No 1020 of Luders/No 38 of Gokhale
Location – on the right hand side-wall outside the verandah of the cave no 65,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “[To the Perfect One.] The religious assignation of a cave and water cistern, by Dhenukakati, the architect, for the disciples of the stable, holy, perfect, reverend Buddhist teachers, along with the companies of those entirely freed from fear, and also for all who follow the self-denying (Jati) religion. O! ye monks in the four quarters (of the world), now a shelter has been provided for monks (to cancel) the debt of my parents. Come then hither, ye mendicant priests, here an inexhaustible treasure is deposited for the priestly assemblies; here is a hall established for Buddhist priests; here the Buddha-tooth-cave.”
Luders – “A cave (lena) and a water-cistern (paniyapodhi), the gift of the nun (pavaitika) Sapa (Sarpa), the daughter of the lay-worshipper (upasaka) Kulapiya (Kulapriya) Dhamanaka (Dharma), the Dhenukakatiya (inhabitant of dhenukataka), the female pupil (atevasini) of the elder (thera) bhadata (bhadanta) Bodhika, together with her sister Ratinika and other relatives, to the congregation of monks (bhikshusagha) of the four quarters. Also endowment.”

No 19 of Bird/No 29 of West/No 1011 of Luders/No 57 of Gokhale
Location – on the left hand side-wall outside the verandah of cave no 101 over a tank,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text of the inscription, seems to record a gift of a cave on the Kanha hills from an upasaka named Sivadatta, an inhabitant of Kalyana,

No 20 of Bird/No 18(20) of Stevenson/No 35 of West/No 26 of Buhler/No 1016 of Luders/No 51 of Gokhale
Location – on the left hand side-wall, outside the verandah of cave no 88,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “The religious assignation of a religious cave and water-cistern by———— when he was purified and initiated. A house for monks from four quarters (of the earth) is here established. Come all ye of his race from regard to (the donor’s) father and mother, even to the seats for the assembly who seek spiritual emancipation. Here is truly an inexhaustible treasure.”
Luders – “Gift of a cave (lena) and a water-cistern (paniyapodhi) by the monk (pavajita) …… mitanaka (……mitra), pupil (amtevasin) of ……pala, to the congregation of the monks (bhikhusagha) of the four quarters. Also endowment.”

No 21 of Bird/No 15 of Brett/No 15(17) of Stevenson/No 32 of West/No 24 of Buhler/No 1013 of Luders/No 54 of Gokhale
Location – on the back wall of the recess over the tank near cave no 98,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “To the Perfect One. To Damila, the mendicant ascetic of Kalyan, famed throughout the world, and purified, the religious assignation of a cave and cistern in the Kanha hill. Peace.”
Luders – “A cave (lena) and a cistern (podhi) on Kanhasela (Krishnashaila), the gift of the lady (bhoigi) Damila, the A[pa]ramtika (?) (native of Aparanta), the [Kali]anima (inhabitant of Kalyana).”

No 22 of Bird/No 52 of West/No 1031 of Luders/No 32 of Gokhale
Location – engraved on a detached rock opposite cave no 42,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text, seems to be some donation

Plate 24 & 13 of Bird/No 9(11) & 10(12) of Stevenson/No 16 of West/No 16 of Buhler/No 998 of Luders/No 28 of Gokhale
Location – on the left hand side wall outside the verandah of cave no 32 over a large water tank,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson/9(11) – “To the Perfect One. The religious assignation of a cave, a water cistern, a cupboard, and a row of couches for the sick. These have been [bestowed] for the sancti [fication] of religious [devotees] and wise men, along with their attendants, by Dharm [anaka] skilled in sacred learning, son of Sayana Sarvamata of Vas [ai] (Bassein), near Kaly [an]. Come hither all ye monks from the four quarters (of heaven) to the house established from regard to (donor’s) father and mother. Come hither from every quarter, for here, too, is deposited an imperishable treasure.”
Stevenson/10(12) – “Here, in the lofty day and night lodging-place for monks, is the Buddhist mendicant alms-house, in which the use of cooking-vessels is given, also money and mats for the multitudes that attend for the confessional service, during the time of the annual session connected with this cave, also on both sides of the monastery is ground filled with champaca trees, and swallow-wort, and also a refectory in the outer court; all religious assignation. Here, too, is the beloved inexhaustible treasure, the procurer of final liberation, in a most excellent apartment. Here are two charitable establishments; the square refectory connected with the outer courts of the monastery and the painted square lodging-place endowed by Dasakarni and Chivari Karni.”
Luders – “A cave (lena), a water-cistern (paniyapodhi), benches for sitting on (asanapedhika), a chair (? Pidha) and a walk (chakama), the gift of the merchant (negama) Dhama………, son of Sivamita (Shivamitra), the Kaliya[naka] (inhabitant of Kalyana), together with Budhaka (Buddhaka) and his whole family to the congregation of monks (Bhikshusagha) of the four quarters. Also endowment. Also gift of a house with two apartments (bagabha or bighaba) and of a quadrangular dining hall (bojanachatusala) in the vihara at Kaliyana (Kalyana) in the Gamdharikabhami. Endowment for these, vis. A house (nivesana) in the Mukudasivayiva.”

No 23 of Bird/No 17 of West/No 17 of Buhler/No 999 of Luders/No 30 of Gokhale
Location – on the left hand side-wall of the porch of cave no 39,
Characters – Brahmi of the beginning of the 3rd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – “A cave (lena), gift of the monk (pavajita) Anada (Ananda), brother of the teacher (acharya) bhayata (bhadanta) Atara (Antara ?), to the Order (sagha). Also endowment.”

No 25 of Bird/No 37 of West/No 27 of Buhler/No 1018 of Luders/No 33 of Gokhale
Location – on the left hand side-wall outside the verandah of cave no 50,
Characters – mix of Brahmi of 3rd century CE and earlier forms,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – “Dedication of a cave (lena) and a water-cistern (paniyyapodhi) …….. as the property of the Bhadrajanijjas (Bhadrayaniyas), for the merit of the donor’s mother Namdinika (Nandinika). One cell (ovaraka) is the gift of the donor’s wife, the housewife (gharini), Dami[la]. The merit is assigned to the donor’s sons Je……, his nephew Aryyaghosha, his daughter Samghadevanika, and other relatives.”

No 26 of Bird/No 40 of West/No 29 of Buhler/No 1021 of Luders/No 39 of Gokhale
Location – on the right hand side-wall outside the verandah of cave no 66,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – probably of the time of [Haritiputa Vinhukada-Chutukulananda Satakarni, A cave (lena), the gift of Nagamulanika (Nagamula), daughter of a maharaja and a mahabhoji, a maharathini (wife of a maharathi), mother of Khamdanagasataka (Skandanagasataka) and sister of the mahabhoja Ahija (?) Dhenusena (?), to the congregation of monks (bhikshusagha)

No 27 of Bird/No 14 of Brett/No 14(16) of Stevenson/No 33 of West/No 25 of Buhler/No 1014 of Luders/No 55 of Gokhale
Location – on the wall of the verandah above a grated window of the cave no 98,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Stevenson – “To the Perfect One. To Damila, the mendicant ascetic of Kalyan, the religious assignation of a cave.”
Luders – “A cave (lena) and a cistern (podhi), the gift of the nun (bhikhuni) Damila, the Kailyinika (inhabitant of Kalyana)”

No 3 of Stevenson/No 7 of West/No 7 of Buhler/No 990 of Luders/No 8 of Gokhale
Location – under a seated Buddha figure in the verandah of the Chaitya cave no 3,
Characters – Brahmi of 5th century CE,
Language – Sanskrit
Stevenson
Luders – Gift of the Sakya monk (Sakyabhikshu) Dharmmagupta.

No 14 of West/No 997 of Luders
Location
Language – Sanskrit
Luders – not read

No 19 of West/No 14 of Buhler/No 1001 of Luders/No 41 of Gokhale
Location – on right-hand side wall outside the verandah of cave no 74,
Characters – Brahmi of 3rd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Bhagvanlal Indraji – “Siddham! In the 8th year of king Madariputta, the lord of Sirisena, in the 6th fortnight of Grishma, the 10th day. On the above (day) a merchant householder the son of Venhunandi, merchant, a resident of Kalyana, constructed a cave of Satta (?) with the respectable _____with his father Venhunandi, with his mother Bodhisama, with his brother _____hathi, with an assembly of all (nikaya) co-religionist.”
Luders – ‘-rano Madhariputasa svami-Sakasenasa savachhare 8 gi pa 5 diva 10 etaya puvaya’, Establishment of a cave (lena) by the merchant (negama) and householder (gahapati) …….ti, son of the merchant (negama) Venhunamdi (Vishnunandin), the Kaliyanaka (inhabitant of Kalyana), together with the venerable (ayyaka) ……., with his father Venhunadi (Vishnunandin), his mother Bodhisama, his brother ……hathi (…… hastin), and all his relatives.

No 20 of West/No 19 of Buhler/No 1002 of Luders/No 42 of Gokhale
Location – on left-hand side wall outside the verandah of cave no 74,
Characters – Brahmi of 3rd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – “-rano Ma[dhariputasa] svami-Saka[senasa]…… diva 10 etaya….’, Records the gift of a cave (lena). The following names can be made out: the son of Venhunadi (Vishnunandin); Halanika; the venerable (ayyaka) La…..; Dhama; Buddhakaya (?)”

No 21 of West/No 1003 of Luders/No 43 of Gokhale
Location – on the left wall of the cave no 75,
Characters – Brahmi of 3rd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – Not read
Gokhale – provided the text of the inscription, refers to a donation of a cave, water-cistern from a devotee hailing from Kalyana

No 22 of West/No 1004 of Luders/No 47 of Gokhale
Location– in cave no 87,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – only the word Parigahita

No 24 of West/No 21 of Buhler/No 1006 of Luders/No 34 of Gokhale
Location – over a cistern on the right hand of entrance of the cave no 54,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – “A cave (lena) and a water-cistern (paniyapodhi), the gift of the nun (pavaitika), the elder (their) Ponakiasana, pupil (atevasini) of the elder (thera) bhayamta (bhadanta) Ghosa (Ghosha), with her sister and the samanapapaakas (?) to the congregation of the monks (bhikshusagha) of the four quarters. Also endowment.”

No 25 of West/No 22 of Buhler/No 1007 of Luders/No 35 of Gokhale
Location – on the left hand side-wall, outside the verandah of cave no 59,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd centyry CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – A cave (lena), a cistern (podhi) and a hall (kodhi), the gift of Kanta (Krishna) ….. of the elder (thera) bhayata (bhadanta) Halaka. Also endowment for the benefit of the congregation of the monks (bhikshusagha).

No 26 of West/No 1008 of Luders
Location
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read

No 28 of West/No 1010 of Luders/No 45 of Gokhale
Location – on the right side-wall outside the verandah of the cave no 81 above a recess over the tank,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text of the inscription

No 16 of Stevenson/No 31 of West/No 23 of Buhler/No 1012 of Luders/No 56 of Gokhale
Location – on the inner wall of the verandah of cave no 99 and on the left side of a grated window,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – The cave (lena) of the elder (thera) bhayata (bhadanta) Mitabhuti (Mitrabhuti), the gift of Sagarapaloganas (?).

No 34 of West/No 1015 of Luders/No 53 of Gokhale
Location – on the back wall of the recess over a tank on the right side of the entrance of cave no 93,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text

No 36 of West/No 1017 of Luders
Location
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read

No 38 of West/No 1019 of Luders/No 37 of Gokhale
Location – on the right wall, outside the verandah of cave no 64,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text, seems to be a dedication of a cistern

No 41 of West/No 1022 of Luders/No 36 of Gokhale
Location – on the back of recess over the tank on the left hand of the entrance of cave no 66,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text, but it’s very fragmental

No 42 of West/No 1023 of Luders/No 31 of Gokhale
Location – on the front of a pedestal before a sitting figure of the Buddha in cave no 41,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text of one line, which conveys no meaning

No 45 of West/No 1025 of Luders/No 26 of Gokhale
Location – on the right hand side-wall outside the verandah of cave no 22,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text, seems to be a dedication of a cave and a water-cistern

No 46 of West/No 1026 of Luders/No 27 of Gokhale
Location –on the right hand side-wall outside the verandah of cave no 26 above a recess over a tank,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provides the text, few words like Chemula, Kanhagiri are readable

No 47 of West/No 1027 of Luders/No 24 of Gokhale
Location – above a recess over a bench in cave no 16,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text, seems to be a dedication from a merchant Vishumita (Vishnumitra) , an inhabitant of Kalyan

No 48 of West/No 1028 of Luders/No 12 of Gokhale
Location – West mentions that it was found lying on the outside terrace under a tree in front of the Chaitya cave no 3. It was in possession of Dr Wilson for some time.  As per the Bombay Gazetteer it is the seventh inscription near cave no 3. The the inscription is not traceable at present.
Characters – Brahmi of the 5th-6th century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text, seems to be about the building of a house, the name of the donor is doubtful

No 49 of West/No 1029 of Luders/No 13 of Gokhale
Location – West mentions that it is on a small square stone found near cave no 3, the whereabouts of the inscription is not known,
Characters – Brahmi of 6th century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read

No 50 of West/No 1030 of Luders/No 19 of Gokhale
Location – on the back of a bench on the north side of the rivulet opposite cave no 7,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read
Gokhale – provided the text, seems to be a donative record

No 53 of West/No 30 of Buhler/No 1032 of Luders/No 29 of Gokhale
Location – on a detached rock on the side of steps near cave no 32,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Luders – A path (patha), the gift of the blacksmith (kamara) Nada (Nanda), from Kaliyana (Kalyana).

No 57 of West/No 1033 of Luders/No 20 Gokhale
Location – on the back of a low bench along the flight of steps opposite of the cave no 7,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language –  Prakrit
Luders – A path (patha), the gift of Dhamanaka (Dharma), son of the treasurer (heranaka) Rohanimita (Rohinimitra), the Chemulaka (inhabitant of Chemua).

No 58 of West/No 1034 of Luders
Location
Language – Prakrit
Luders – not read

No 4 of Gokhale
Location – in front of the cave no 2 just above the cistern,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Gokhale – provided the text, a donation of a cistern from Chitakiyasa, a merchant from Kalyana

No 58 of Gokhale
Location – on a step on top of the Kanheri hill,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Gokhale – provided the text, seems to be donation from a resident of Chemula

No 52 of Gokhale
Location – near the Pahlavi inscription near the cistern in cave no 90,
Characters – Brahmi of 2nd century CE,
Language – Prakrit
Gokhale – provided the text, nothing much can be taken out of it

Pahlavi Inscriptions – Cave no 66 has three Pahlavi inscriptions which were noticed by Dr. West as well. One short Pahlavi inscription is also found at stupa by Dr. West. J Burgess provided the translation of these three inscriptions.

Inscription 1 (Burgess) – “Through strong omens and the good Judge this year 378 of Yazdakard, on the day Auharmazd of the month Mitro (10th October 1009), there have come to this place the co-religionists Yazdan-panak and Mah-aiyyar sons of Mitra-aiyyar, &c. Beh-zad son of Mah….”

Inscription 2 (Burgess) – “In the year 378 of Yazdakard, the month Avan and day Mitro (24th November, 1009), there have come to this place the co-religionists Yazdan-panak and Mah-aiyyar, sons of Mitra-aiyyar, Panj-bukht and Padar-bukht sons of Mah-aiyyar, Mardan-shad son of Hirad-Bahram and Hirad-Bharam son of Mardan-shad, Mitra-aiyyar son of Bahram-panah and Bahram-panah son of Mitra-aiyyar, Falan-zad and Zad-sparham sons of Atur-mahan, Nuk-mahan, Din-Bahram, Bajurg-atur, Hirad-mard, and beh-zad sons of Mah-bazae, and Bahram-panah son of Mitra-bandad. In the month of Atur Auharmazd son of Avan-bandad died.”

Inscription 3 (Burgess) – “In the month Mitro and day Dino of the year 390 of Yazdakard (30th October, 1021), there have come from Iran to this place Mah-Frobag and Mah-aiyyar sons of Mitra-aiyyar, Panj-bukht son of Mah-aiyyar, Mardan-shad son of Hirad-Bahram, Beh-zad son of Mitra-vindad, Javidan-bud son of Bahram-Gushnasp, Bajurg-atur son of Mah-bazae, Mah-aiyyar and bandesh sons of Hirad-Farukho, and Mah-bandad son of Gehan-khash, the listener to instruction.”

Inscription 4 (Burgess) – stupa inscription – “The year 390 of Yazdakard, Shatra-iyar. Mah-Frobag.”

Next Chapter

 

References:

  1. Burgess, J and Indraji, Bhagwan Lal (1881). Inscriptions from the Cave Temples of Western India. Government Central Press. Bombay.
  2. H, Luders (1911). A List of Brahmi Inscriptions published in Epigraphia Indica vol X. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi.
  3. Mirashi, V V (1955). Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum vol IV, part I. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi.
  4. Stevenson, J (1853). Note on the Rock-Inscriptions in the Island of Salsette, published in The Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society vol IV. Education Society’s Press. Mumbai.
  5. West, E W (1862). Copies of Inscriptions from the Buddhist cave-Temples of Kanheri, published in the Journal of the Bomaby Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society vol VI. Education Society’s Press. Mumbai.
  6. Gokhale, Shobhana (1975). Kanheri Inscriptions. Deccan College, Poona