Bagh Caves are brilliantly hollowed-out artificial structures in stone that resemble caves formed in nature. Splendid examples of architecture, they find parallel only in the famous Ajanta caves. Master craftsmen of ancient times carved out nine caves among the southern slopes of the Vindhyas in Kukshi tehsil of Dhar district, in the perpendicular rock face of a hill on the far bank of the Baghini river. Of these Buddhist inspired ‘viharas’ or monasteries, only five out of the original nine caves survived.
Legend has it that much before their discovery tigers used to make it their lair, hence the term Bagh or ‘tiger’ given to these caves. Later they also became residential places, meditation centres and religious congregation sites for Buddhist monks. Buddhist scriptures, other facets of Buddha have been found in these caves.
But even more of a draw, are the paintings done by master artists of ancient times. Pictorial art of a kind never seen before adorn the walls and ceiling even now but have been reduced to faded colors and disfigured subject matters. Yet they give a good idea of what it could have been like in their original glory. A small chamber at the back of each cave serves as a prayer hall. Cave No.4 has from long been considered the Rang Mahal or Palace of Colors.