Kolvi caves, also known as Kholve caves, are located in the Kolvi village of Jhalawar district of Rajasthan. It’s an archeologically significant site that has caves carved out in laterite rock hill. Kolvi caves house several statues of Buddha in meditation and standing positions. The site also contains stupas and chaityas that exhibit an architecture reflecting the dominance of Hinayana sect in the region.
Over the years, the place has experienced damage and the insides have decayed resulting in disfigured statues. The complex has 50 caves and few of them have open pillared verandahs. These ancient caves housing carved stupas and rare figures of Buddha are the finest examples of Indian art. The place gives a hint of Buddhist monks meditating in the caves.
It’s believed that long before emerging as a tourist destination of Jhalawar, these caves were an abode to the Buddhist monks who came here seeking peace between 5th and 8th Century AD. Although the historians are divided on the opinion as to where the monks came from, most of the historians believe the Buddhists came to this place when they were seeking shelter in their attempt to flee the attacks of the Hunas.
Kolvi caves are a part of three sets of cave shrines in the complex and it’s the only one that still houses remains of statues and figures. Each of the three sets differs in terms of the historical remains and the number of caves. The other two sets in the complex include Hathya Gaud site and Binayaga hill.
If you choose to visit Kolvi village, you can also enjoy touring the nearby places like the Gagron Fort close to Jhalawar and the Chandreshwar temple and Sun temples in Jhalrapatan.
For those traveling by air, Udaipur airport is closest to the site from where a cab or taxi can be boarded. Another option is to stay at Kota which is 62 kms away from Jhalawar. Since the caves are located off the track, there is no option for public transport but a taxi can be hired at the rate of INR 8/km or INR 13/km.