Siddhachal Caves

Located at Gwalior Fort

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Siddhachal Caves are Jainism-related cave monuments and statues carved into the rock face inside Gwalior Fort, northern Madhya Pradesh, India. They were built over time starting in the 7th-century, but most are dated to the 15th-century CE. Many of the statues were defaced and destroyed under the orders of the Muslim Emperor Babur of the Mughal dynasty in the 16th century, while a few repaired and restored after the fall of the Mughal dynasty and through the late 19th century.

The statues depict all 24 Tirthankaras. They are shown in both seated Padmasana posture as well as standing Kayotsarga posture, in the typical naked form of Jain iconography. The reliefs behind some of them narrate scenes from the Jain legends. The site is about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of Gopachal rock cut Jain monuments and about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) northwest of the Teli ka Mandir both in the Gwalior Fort . The Siddhachal collosi cave temples are located inside the fort of Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, near the Urwahi road, immediately below the northwestern walls of the fortress.

he Siddhachal cave temples are a part of nearly 100 Jain monuments found in and around the Gwalior city, all dated to be from the 7th to 15th century. The Siddhachal colossi are near the Urwai road, and most are dated to be from the 15th century, built in an era when Delhi Sultanate had collapsed and fragmented, a Hindu kingdom was back in power in Gwalior region and before Babur had ended the Delhi Sultanate and replaced it with his Mughal dynasty. The inscriptions found near the monuments credit them to the Tomar kings, and they range from the 1440 to 1453 CE. The Siddhachal Caves were complete by about 1473 CE. Some 60 years after they had been completed, the statues were defaced and desecrated around 1527 when the Emperor Babur ordered their destruction.Babur explained in a memoir.

They have hewn the solid rock of the Adwa [Urwa], and sculptured out of it idols of larger and smaller size. On the south part of it is a large idol, which may be about 20 gaz (40 feet in height). These figures are perfectly naked, without even a rag to cover the parts of generation. Adwa is far from being a mean place, on the contrary it is extremely pleasant. The greatest fault consists in the idol figures all about it: I directed these idols to be destroyed

The Jain cave temples within the Gwalior Fort were, however, not destroyed, just mutilated by chopping off the faces, the sexual organs and their limbs. Centuries later, the Jain community restored many of the statues by adding back stucco heads on the top of the damaged idols.

The Siddhachal Caves are rock-cut monuments with Jain collosi. They are found on both sides of the slope of the Urwahi road in the fort, along the Urwahi valley. The monuments include many caves, small reliefs on the walls, as well as 22 colossi. The largest of these are for Rishabhanatha (Adinatha), identifiable by the bull emblem carved on the pedestal under his foot, with a height of 57 feet (17 m). Other colossi include a seated Neminatha (shell icon on his pedestal), Parshvanatha with serpent cover over his head and Mahavira (lion icon on his pedestal)

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