Situated about 5 km west of Vidisha and 13 km from Sanchi, these Gupta period caves, are a testament to the skill of the artisans carving religious sculptures so intricate and grand that they still inspire aesthetic awe. There are 20 caves in all and one should try to visit as many as possible. The caves were carved out of sandstone hills in the 4th and 5th centuries. Brahmi inscriptions have been found in the caves that have been influential in ascertaining their timeline.

The relief sculptures, like the iconographic one of Lord Vishnus varaha or boar incarnation in Cave 5, has been accepted as one of the most accomplished examples of Gupta art. The varaha avatar tells the story of how Lord Vishnu saved Goddess Earth from demon Hiranyaksha, who had abducted and taken her into the deep ocean. The panel measures an impressive 7x4 sq m. The scene has also been hailed as an allegorical statement by the Gupta kings about their might in protecting their land (earth) from all evils. These cave temples have been considered among the best and the earliest examples of religious architecture in India. The shrine holding the shivling is especially interesting as its walls are decorated with intricate mythological carvings.

other Attractions in Sanchi