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Rock-Cut Caves
(3,053 words)

From the 2nd century BCE to the late medieval period, Jains have actively employed the rock-cut medium to create places for ascetic occupation and devotional activities. These spaces, carved into hillsides and large rock formations, can be found across the subcontinent and are diverse in their architectural features and sculpted imagery. Though this is the case, certain patterns emerge in terms of their design and function, particularly when the caves are examined in their chronological and regional contexts.

Some of India’s earliest ascetic residences are found in the so…

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Owen, Lisa N., “Rock-Cut Caves”, in: Brill's Encyclopedia of Jainism Online, Denison University University of Edinburgh University of Bergen University of California, Berkeley John E. Cort, Paul Dundas, Knut A. Jacobsen, Kristi L. Wiley. Consulted online on 09 June 2023 <>
First published online: 2020

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