There is no place more ideal to learn about the influence of Gautam Buddha than a cave built by his followers over two millennia ago
My first semester at Symbiosis Centre for Media & Communication was a roller coaster ride, and as it draws to a close, I look back upon some fond memories. But I cannot find one better than our second field trip of the semester – something surprisingly better than even meeting the legendary Amitabh Bachchan.
We visited the 2000-year-old Bhaja Caves, located about two hours from the campus. The bus ride during that season, with the clouds covering the hills around us, was beautiful. After a mad race to the entrance of the caves where I finished fourth, we took a moment to let the magnificent view sink in. The guards at the gate told us that the view was nothing compared to when it rains. As we all went in, we were in for a massive surprise. Our history professor, Sagar Kamath, who had accompanied us to the caves, told us all to sit down in front of a stupa located inside the main cave, and thus began our lecture on Buddhism. There is no place more ideal to learn about the influence of Gautam Buddha than a cave built by his followers over two millennia ago.
It was hard to imagine that the ground, the cave, the stupa that lay right ahead of us – and unbelievably, even the wooden structure built to support the pillars at the top – all of this was so old. It almost felt like we were back in time. And then, just when we thought the experience could not be any more perfect, the heavens opened, and the place looked unreal.
After the session on Buddhism, its values, sects, and modern scenario, we were left to explore the adjoining caves. I went in some rooms which were essentially used as the guest rooms for visiting monks. Astonishingly, the soot left behind by the candles that they lit was still there. I tried my best to scratch some of the two millennia old soot as a souvenir, but failed, sadly.
The time that we were given to explore had almost just begun when we were told that it was time to go. I will forever be grateful to SCMC for this experience. It was undoubtedly the best learning experience I have had so far.
Ishaan Tewari (Batch 2020)
Photo: Aditya Sinha (Batch 2019)