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If you own an exquisite piece of wooden furniture, a bronze artefact or even a car you love for that matter, you’d know how important it is to have them rightly polished. And even when, with all the care in the world, you do coat them with the best polish, you know it’s not going to stay the same forever. And this is a reality, we all accept, despite all our technological advances.

But what if there is a place that has walls polished to mirror finish and have stayed the same for the past 2300 years. These polishes have weathered everything from rains, winds, human interference and most importantly, time.

Impossible…you’d say, won’t you?

Barabar Caves, located near Gaya in Bihar are the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India. Yes, they were carved way before Ajanta, Ellora or Kanheri caves.

Built during the Mauryan empire, at least 2300 years back, these caves host the first known surface coated with a polish that gave mirror finish with great flatness. Such is the finesse of this polish that even if you touch them today, you’ll feel that the coat was still fresh. This unique coating, referred to as Mauryan Polish, was used on several smaller surfaces of the Maurya statuary, the most popular being the Ashoka Pillar.

That the polish must have been a costly affair, is evident from the fact that no other caves after Barabar have polished walls. Afterall a polish that can weather 2300 years is nothing short of an engineering marvel and had to be valued equally.

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