Mumbai’s Offbeat Travel Treasures – Kanheri Caves
Mumbai is a well known destination both for tourists from India and abroad.One of the reason for this is that the city offers many shopping hubs and tourist places where one can enjoy vacation in low budget and tight schedule.
There is a 2200 years old tourist attraction in west Mumbai called Kanheri Caves which is included among top mysterious caves in India.These caves are located north of Borivali inside Sanjay Gandhi Nation Park.From the entrance gate of this Park the caves are about 6 kms away in the jungles.The dense forests and green surrounding is an enjoyable experience.
Kanheri Caves History
Kanheri is credited with the largest number of cave excavations in a single hill.There are 109-110 caves in Kanheri which is larger in number than even Ajanta-Ellora caves.Among these Buddhist caves the one with no 3,11,34,41,67 and 87 are very important.
Kanheri caves are believed to have been constructed between 200 BC to 1100 AD.
The word ‘Kanheri’ (locally Kanheri Leni) derives from Sanskrit script which means black mountain.The cave art has been made with large basaltic rock outcrop.
The caves drew the attention archaelogical survey of India of late.In May 2009 Caves were declared as monuments of national importance.Many Buddhists statues of the caves have been destroyed but the beauty of architecture can still be felt.
Majority of Kanheri statues lay in standing position.It is assumed that Kanheri might be a popular centre of Buddhist learning at its time.The general caves might be Hynyan cult of Buddhist while ornamental caves might belong to Mahayan school.
The largest Buddhist statue of Kanheri Caves is 25 feet in height.To reach these caves rocks have been cut out to make stairs.You will come across beautiful water streams on the way to these caves.
All the caves have been marked with a number and there is no problem in navigating between these caves.
In rainy season many sources of water stream arise from the mountains.The water is stored in the reservoir at the base.
Kanheri can be visited between 9 AM to 5 PM.The top of the cave is a flat ground which was used to cremate Buddhist Monks.Many small-big stupas of bricks can be witnessed at the plateau.
Bus and Cycle Services
There are two buses that ply in service .You can also approach this place with your private vehicle.Forest department also runs mini buses for Kanheri Caves but they only run when they get fully occupied.You can also rent a bicycle till the entrance of Kanheri Caves.The entrance point also has a canteen where you can have some break fast or beverages. Beware of the monkeys here !