This article places the expansion of Buddhist monasteries in the Western Deccan in its wider context, examining how social, political and economic forces might have impacted on the tempo of Buddhist cave cutting. A framework for dating the caves is outlined and a hiatus in their construction during the first century AD noted. Epigraphic evidence is then used to link this hiatus to the conflict between the Western Ksatrapas and the Satavahanas that also occurred during the period of study. Inscriptions often mention the social groups, which donated to monasteries, and the article evaluates how the conflict would have affected their ability to donate. Finally, a case study of the cave complex at Pandu Lena, Nasik is used to illustrate the nature of interaction between Buddhism and society.
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