Kanheri Caves MumbaiOne of the airiest places in the city, the Kanheri Caves premises offers a pleasant break from the pollution and the noisy, metropolitan life.
~Nestled in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali, the Kanheri Caves are also known as the 'lungs of Mumbai', because this is the only place in the city with the maximum amount of greenery and consequently, a lot of fresh air
. ~The caves date back to 1st century BC and are believed to be one of the oldest cave formations of the country.
~The Kanheri Caves are renowned for their natural Basalt formations, ancient Indian styled architecture and the 109 special entrances to the caves.
~ The word Kanheri originates from the Sanskrit term 'Krishnagiri'. Each cave here, unlike the other caves in the country, is adorned with a 'splinth' or a rock bed.
~ The Kanheri Caves became a distinctive Buddhist institution for congregational worship, study and meditation.
~Deeply nestled among the tranquil surroundings of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali in Mumbai, are more than 100 Buddhist caves popularly known as the Kanheri Caves. Kanheri, known as Krishnagiri or Kanhagiri in ancient inscription, literally means black mountain (Krishna means black and giri is mountain) and is mostly named after its black basaltic stone.
~Spanning from the 1st century BC to 11th century AD, an era that saw the rise and decline of Buddhism, these caves present an insight into its evolution and also have the distinction of having the largest number of cave excavations from a single hill.
~The earliest cave constructions coincide with the arrival of Buddhism in Anathara, Sopara. Most of these caves are simple single or multiple-cell viharas, or monasteries, devoid of any decorations and meant for simple living, studying and meditating.
Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400101, India
Type of Place
- Picnic Spot
- Senior Citizen
- ~The Borivali and Malad stations are the closest disembarkation points if you want to get to the Kanheri Caves. From here, you can opt or local transport to take you the Kanheri Caves
- The Kanheri Caves, situated within Sanjay Gandhi National Park, are located in the heart of Mumbai. You can reach this place with local transport (auto-rickshaws, taxis and local buses). Once at the national park, you can either decide to trek to the Kanheri Caves or opt for paid transport within the park.
~Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 600066, India
~GOOD FOR-History Buffs Wanderers
All days of the week
7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
~1 to 2 hours
~Rs-5 per person for Indian citizens
~Rs-100 per person for foreign citizens
~Attractions: : Basalt formations, 109 special entrances, deciduous green forests, ancient architecture.
~Best Time to VisitOctober to March
- ~It is believed that the Kanheri cave complex was inspired by the Sravasti monastery built under the brilliant supervision of Sariputra, one of Buddha's most intelligent disciples.
~ The complex is replete with dwellings for monks, retiring rooms, assembly and service halls, bathrooms, canals and conduits for water storage and even a cemetery. Many of them are still preserved in a good state and reflect the ingenuity of the architects and builders of the time.
~ The complex, patronised by the then rulers, testify to the progress of Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism.
~The chaitya cave is the most sculpted structure in the entire Kanheri complex and holds aloft two huge statues of Buddha in varamudra or ‘donating' posture and measuring 22 ft.
~SIGNIFICANCE: The Caves were a University center where Buddhist monks used to deliver lectures on religious texts and basic moral values that one should follow. These caves were connected with several trade centers in the vicinity like Sopara, Kalyan, Nasik, Paithan and even as far as Ujjain.
~Culture: The caves have been strongly influenced by the Buddhist art and culture. The Caves was a very well organised set up of the Buddhist monks under strict discipline. The monks led a very simple life which according to them was necessary for attaining salvation. Kanheri was well known for literary activities in the early days.
~But today these caves, attract people for its historical importance and solitude nature apart from the waterfalls which enhance the beauty of the caves.
INSIDE THE CAVES>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
~Kanheri caves were chiselled out of a massive basaltic rock.
~Viharas: The cave has extremely simple chambers which are called the Viharas. These were meant for living, studying, and meditating. The viharas had stone plinth for a bed.
~Chaityagrahas: The caves which were larger in size as compared to the Viharas were called the Chaityagrahas and were used for congregational worship. They are rectangular halls with apsidal back, a verandah or a front porch and a large court in front.
~Podhis or water cisterns:These were used for trapping rain water and storing this water for the summers.
Things to Buy
~THiNGS TO BUY>>>>>>>>>>>>
There are no places to shop inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park. However, once you are outside the park premises, Borivali, Andheri and Lokhandwala are the closest districts offering some of the best street-shopping experiences. Whether you are looking for handicrafts, clothes, accessories or just Indian artifact then these are the best places for you to shop.
Things to Eat
~Restaurants such as Greens Veg Restaurant, Cascade, Bay View Restaurant and Aura Restaurant that offer the best of local cuisine. Local food vendor's can be found right outside the national park, selling nuts, juices, cotton candies, freshly baked crisps and the local Chaats.
Things to enjoy
- ~For the history lovers: The Caves is an ideal place to appreciate Buddhist culture of the BC era. The caves are reachable by steps and are cut into the mountains at various levels.
~For trekkers: You can enjoy the climb onto the caves or even walk all the way from the SGNP entrance gate. We took a 7 kms walk one way from the SGNP entrance. The view is beautiful, with waterfalls along the way, lush green forests. If you love to walk among the trees or are preparing for the Marathon then this is one apt place to be in!
~For the nature lovers: The green and serene atmosphere amidst the chirping of the birds and the chattering of the monkeys are truly breathtaking.
~Monkeys near the caves
~For the one day picnickers: visit the caves, enjoy a picnic lunch at the base and then spend the post lunch part of the day SGNP
`For those who enjoy the rains: Once you get heavy showers for a week or so, the caves are transformed into a haven of small rivulets and waterfalls. The rain waters flows from adjacent mountains and from a height onto the stones and collects in small ponds and then falls down the cliff. These small ponds are filled with locals enjoying a dip in the water or a back massage. People of all ages flock to Kanheri Caves in the rains.