Going further towards north from he Girnar caves and turning towards west, we come
across the sprawling greenish slope of the hill-range on the northern si e o e ate contains another group of five caves, of these only three contain some images . t er two were left unfinished. They are located on a high attitude and could be identified as the Namigin Group of caves from the famous cave of
Naminatha,(Plate 28) the twenty first Tirthankara in the Jain pantheon of Tirthankaras.
This is usually identified as Cave 2. This is a cave of importance in this group as it houses a huge image of Naminatha. From outside, it is seen in two chambers with two openings one over the other. On either side of the lower opening, corresponding to the main entrance, there are two flat columns projected from the rock surface.
The rectangular columns starting from the door sill, go beyond three-and-half meters, from the lintel, where a projecting parapet forms the floor level of the upper chamber. The facade of this chamber as seen from outside, is more ornate with conically projecting capitals over the carved pillar joints. Again, a similar projection, as found in the lower one forms the ceiling of the upper chamber.
Above the parapet, corresponding to the two openings, an ornate temple shikhara motif is sculptured. It has a conical superstructure with a kalasha at the top. The style of the shikhara speaks of the temples of the late Middle ages (see Plate 28). It has two squarishly projected niches one over the other in the centre. They contain the standing images of Tirthankaras.
Getting back to the lower opening of the dvara of the cave, we find that it is connected by a narrow flight of steps along the slope Here we come across the rectangular front °Pening of the lower chamber measuring 5 x 2.5 m. leading to the inner room space of 10 x 6 m. which is quite dark. It contains the pedestal of the image 5 m. high as seen in the centre and a flight of steps along the northern wall. The pedestal occupies most of the space in the lower chamber.
Getting up to the upper chamber along the stair way, it is found that ,his chamber has the same plinth area as the lower. But it appears more spacious because the ^per part of the image occupies less space in the centre. Moreover, it is clearly lit up bV the sun during the major part of the day. Nevertheless, the pedestal and the steps as Seen in the lower chamber are minimised in the upper.
The image faces north and it is mainly appreciated as stated earlier mainly from the upper chamber, as the entire pedestal is confined mostly to the lower chamber. On either side of the pedestal along the western wall there are two pillars carrying floral scroll work and the gajakalasha motif over the head of the image. The vrttapitha over the pedestal carries the flower ‘lily’, that symbolises the 21 st Tirthankar Naminath.
Flanking the pedestal, of the mulanayaka, prancing lions are seen moving either way. The top portion of the pedestal bearing the cross legs of the image is a vrttapitha, the mukhapattika of which carries the flower ‘lily’.
The soles of the feet are raised up and are placed over vrttapitha in padmasana. Again, the joints of the upper and the lower arms are placed over the upper part ot the thighs with palms one over the other, in the lap, in dhyanamudra.
Incidentally, the vrttapitha enveloping the knees and the upper portion of the pedestal, that carries the lions, there is a five lined inscription referring to the image of Naminath. The date is also indicated with Vikrama samvat but the numbers of the year are not clear.
The seated image (Plate 29) in the upper chamber is raised to a height of 3.5 m. above the base of the pedestal. It emerges through a promiment opening allowing equal width on either side of the arms at the back wall, on the western side in the ceiling, that separates the two chambers. Incidentally, the total image with the pedestal raises to a height of 6.5 m.
On either side, as seen in the upper chamber, the image is flanked by two pillars that carry a double storied temple motif on the abacus. The temple motif in turn is projected in a semi – circular area which carries decorative hemispherical disc, the ‘halo’ right above the head. A gajakalasha motif is sculptured enveloping disc over separate pedestals.
Towards the right side of the cave of Naminatha lies the cave of Parsvanatha. It is also excavated to bring out similar profile of the sculptured image, of the same dimensions from the rock surface, as in the former. There are, however, considerable ethnic differences in the sculptural representations of the images and associated figures. However, the posture and the placement of the associated images remain the same.
The Entrance: To reach the precincts of the entrance to this, one has to treck pathway along rugged steps of the hill slope. But the movement up to the sanctuary is less tiresome, compared with the former. The rectangular plinth of the sanctuary measures 5×3 m.
The Lower Chamber: The lower chamber of the cave is wide enough and has a plinth area of 10 x 5 m. It is excavated to a unifom height of 6.5 m. As in the former, the pedestal raises to 5 m. above the base almost up to the centre of the backwall. On the other hand, the eastern and western walls are more decorated with floral scroll work, than in the cave of Naminatha.
The Pedestal : This is more ornate with the representation of standing lions shown on either side. The central panel contains the Dharanendra, the Yaksha of Parsvanatha and the yaks! Padmavati. Below the seated figure of the image, the – vrttapttha shows squarish panels containing the decoration of two lotus flowers.
On the he central niche-containing the symbol naga’ is flanked by an embeded creeper decoration.
From the pedestal In the lower chamber, the image Is sculptured along a wall le„gth o, 6 5 m. and in seated posture, from knee to knee It measures 5m.lt ts an Image ln padmasana with crossed and folded legs and with palms ol the hands placed in
The pillar jambs seen on either side of the image right from the pedestal up to shoulders as in Naminath cave is not represented here. On the other hand, there are semicircular projections suggesting wide mouthed pots, over short pillared stems providing the base for maladharies on either side of the upper arms.
They are flanked by two ornate niches in which the standing figure of Tirthankaras are shown.
Further up. above the maladharis there are projecting slabs provided as standing ground for the elephants facing the head of the image, and holding a kalasha motif with raised up trunks.
Below the kalasha of the elephants, a cobra is sculptured with seven hoods suggesting that the image is that of Parsvanatha. Some contours of the hood are not clearly seen because of the exfoliation in the natural rock surface.
As in the others, in the image of Tirthankara, the moulding of head is not seen (Plate 30), exposing chisel lines-over the neck-folds. The chest has the lotus petalled srivatsa. The nipples on the chest, the stomach and navel are well portrayed. The genital organ suffered some damage.
On either side, towards the walls on the east and west, there are medium sized images standing to a height of 5 m. They are shown on the pedestals. The figures, though nude appear to have diphanous cloth shown against the dark cross bands in the natural rock, especially along the body and the upper arms.
The heads are, no doubt, moulded, but the image on the eastern wall is weII preserved with the associated details of maladharis and chamaradharis, gajakalasha and creeper pallava, motif, on the oval shaped prabhavali.
But one difference that could be observed is that the hemispherical projection ovehead is moulded like an umbrella fairly above the head of the Tirthankara.
This suggests that the triple umbrella or trichhatra motif was incorporated during the period, when the sculptures of Naminatha group were carved. Although the motif of trichhatra is new, other sculptural features are similar to those images of Ek-Patthar-ki-Bavdi group.
The vrttapi ha is the pedestal of the main image contains some floral and lotus decorations on either side of the central niche which contains the ‘conch’ symbol. There are yaksa, yaksi representations on either side of the symbol. Thus, the ’conch’, and other associated figures indicate that the mulanayaka is Parsvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara.
The Image. This is also another seated figure in this group. It is shown in padmasana. As usual, the hands are placed one over the other in dhyanamudra. Here, the brownish- bandings in the rock material suggest, some undulations in the contour of the rock. This is evidently, due to exfoliation, but the image is absolutely nude and excuted in typical digambara tradition.
As usual, the face is disfigured. However, it cannot be the work of iconoclasts. The agency responsible for the mischief could be no other than the nature itself. Since it is executed in typical loose sandstone rock, the natural winds had done the exfoliation. The associated maladharis, the gajakalsha motif and chamaradharis are also disfigured for the same reason. On the northern wall of the shrine there is an inscription in 8 lines indicating the organization of the Jain devotees, in the year Vikrama samvat 1535 (Plate 31)
Two more caves were excavated towards lhe extreme right. The passage to these is so rugged.
There was some attempt to excavate and render them .
But it appears, they were abandoned. Moreover, even in these there ,s a lot of exfobatron.