Saturday, February 25, 2017

Heritage Heirlooms - The Buddhist Caves at Rivona

As part of bringing the rich cultural heritage of Goa in the limelight and showing the average tourist and local alike that there are other, more beautiful facets of Goa they have not yet discovered, I bring to you the first in the series of .. - Heritage Heirlooms -

The Buddhist Caves at Rivona

Cave 1 

Located near the Kushavati river, in the village of Rivona (the name Rivona might have been derived from ‘Rishivana’ meaning the forest of sages, or in the present case, of monks). The site is called devachi zaga ( meaning the abode of God). This cave is oriented towards the east. It has a pedestal measuring 4.8 m X 3.2 m which fits the idol of Buddha and is called’ Sonyachi peti’ (Golden box). The idol of Buddha discovered at Rivona is seated in Vajrasana position with Bhumisparsha-Mudra (right hand touching the earth with the left hand kept on the lap.) A huge lotus pedestal for seating the idol was also found at the site.

The large Cave No. 1 at Rivona (Pic courtesy Preethy Nair)

Cave 2

This Cave is at two levels and has two entrances, one at the upper level and the other at the level below. The steps going down from the upper level lead to the chamber which has a skylight and a stream of fresh water. It also connects to the lower entrance. The skylight chamber leads inside to another chamber which has a stepped platform built of laterite and which has a vaulted ceiling. This cave has seen some intervention by later humans since there are laterite bricks neatly laid at the upper entrance and a tank made behind at the lower level. 

Cave no 2 Upper entrance (Pic courtesy Vandana Balakrishnan)

Lower entrance to the Cave 2

The tank behind the lower entrance

The Skylight in the chamber of Cave 2


Source: Cave Architecture in Goa-A project report submitted to the Goa University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Architecture by Varun Desai