The Barabar Caves are the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India, mostly dating from the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE), some with Ashokan inscriptions, located in the Bela Ganj Block of Gaya district, Bihar, India, 24 km north of Gaya.These caves are situated in the twin hills of Barabar and Nagarjuni. Caves of Nagarjuni Hill sometimes are singled out as Nagarjuni Caves. These rock-cut chambers date back to the 3rd century BC, Maurya period, of Ashoka (273-232 BCE) and his son Dasaratha Maurya. Though Buddhists themselves, they allowed various Jain sects to flourish under a policy of religious tolerance.
The caves were used by ascetics from the Ajivika sect, founded by Makkali Gosala, a contemporary of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and of Mahavira, the last and 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. Also present at the site are several rock-cut Buddhist and Hindu sculptures. Most caves at Barabar consist of two chambers, carved entirely out of granite, with a highly polished internal surface and exciting echo effect. The first chamber was meant for worshippers to congregate in a large rectangular hall, and the second, a small, circular, domed chamber for worship, this inner chamber probably had a small stupa like structure, at some point, though they are now empty.
Just 3km northwest of Barabar hill is A very lesser known but an interesting site to visit. Called Kawadol. The term Kawa-dol is mentioned number of time in his famous novel 'A passage to India' by the author E.M.Froster. . The major attraction is the numerous brahmanical figures carved on massive granite rocks.
The major highlight of tour to Barabar caves for those who have read the famous book of E. M. Forster "a passage to India". The The author E. M. Forster visited the caves on one of his two visits to India. Struck by their curious echo, he used them as a central location in his book, renaming them as 'The Marabar cave' for the story. I am sure that this trip will leave you mesmerized with pleasurable memories of ancient past for lifetime.
AT+PO Maghra, Bihar Sharif Nalanda, Bihar 803216