If you are in Mumbai and want to wander the city then the Kanheri caves are the best place to visit. So now we will tell you everything about Kanheri Caves, more about the history of Kanheri Caves and how to reach Kanheri caves? The Kanheri Caves are one of the airiest places in Mumbai. It offers a pleasant break from the pollution and the noisy, metropolitan life, nestled in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali. These caves are also known as the “Lungs Of Mumbai” because it is the only place in Mumbai with the maximum amount of greenery and consequently, a lot of fresh air. They date back to the 1st century BC and are believed to be one of the oldest cave formations of the country. The caves are renowned for their natural basalt formation, ancient Indian styled architecture, and the 109 special entrances to the caves. The word Kanheri originates from the Sanskrit word ‘ Krishnagiri’ and Kanha- giri. The caves became a distinctive Buddhist institution for Congregational worship, study, and meditation. When one visits the Kanheri Caves, there is a lot to see for them, in terms of what the caves have to offer and even around the caves. There are around 40 unfinished paintings of Buddha within the caves. Apart from the paintings, you should also visit the ‘Vihara’( The Prayer Hall) and the different monasteries around the cave for a glimpse of former Buddhist occupation and life.
History of Kanheri Caves
Now take look about the history of Kanheri caves. The history of Kanheri caves is very interesting and ancient. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mumbai. Kanheri caves whose period of establishment dates back between 1st century BC and 11th century AD. It is one of the finest examples of the Indian rock-cut architecture. It is located in the heart of the beautiful green environs of Sanjay Gandhi National Park of Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is at 10 km distance from Borivali station and 45 km from main Mumbai. These caves are the only symbol of Buddhism.
The word Kanheri originates from a Sanskrit word “ Krishnagiri” which means “Black Mountain.” It is believed that the excavation of Kanheri Caves started by the Buddhist Monks of the Hinayana from the hills in the 1st century. Later on, followed by the Buddhist monks of the Mahayana. It is believed that some of the caves were used by the Buddhist monks of that time for their study, living, and meditation. They are also known as the viharas and contain a stone plinth for a bed. By 2nd century AD, the Buddhist monks carved out the famous Chaitya Griha( now cave number 3). They use this crave for congregational worship. It is huge enough to accommodate a large number of devotees. The chaitya griha has two huge statues of standing Buddha on each side of the entrance porch and was built in the form of a gigantic rectangular hall with 34 proportioned pillars and semi-circular roof. It contains shrine of Buddha called stupa. On the façade of this cave, different Buddhist sculptures can be seen which are beautifully carved out from the racks. They include a statue of Lord Buddha in different postures or mudras. The Avalokitesvara incarnation is the most distinctive statue among all the statues.
How To Reach Kanheri Caves?
The Kanheri Caves situated within Sanjay Gandhi National Park is located in the heart of the city. At 10 kilometer walk from the station and you will reach the main gates of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. For Kanheri caves you will need to go through the same gate as the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. You can reach here by local transport like auto-rickshaws, taxis, and local buses. Once you reach the national park, you can either decide to trek to the Kanheri caves or opt for paid transport within the park.
The entry point to the Kanheri Caves is about at 5 kilometers from the main gate. Private vehicles are also allowed but you need to pay extra for the vehicle. Tourists bus and cabs are also available. The entrance fee for Indians is 5 Rs and for foreigners 30 rs. And if someone is taking the camera special 25rs ticket is supposed to be taken.
The Borivali and Malad stations are the closest stations if you want to go to the Kanheri Caves. From these stations, you can reach Kanheri Caves by local transports. These caves are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mumbai. Apart from the caves, feel free to explore the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, but with permission from the local authorities. The caves offer tourists a perfect gateway and transport.