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A Walk Around Kanheri Caves in Mumbai

Written By: Akshatha

Kanheri Caves are a group of rock-cut structures located inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali in the outskirts of Mumbai. Kanheri caves are said to be 2,400 years old (1st BC - 10 BC). These caves indicate to one of the oldest Buddhist settlements in India. There are 109 caves in this group of structures, among them many caves were used as viharas (rooms) of monks.

The caves were mainly used as a Monastery which contained chaityas (prayer halls), viharas (rooms to stay), meditation centres and some cells for the purpose of study. Kanheri Caves are one of the historical tourist attractions belonging to Buddhism in India. One can find intricate carvings and statues of Buddha inside the structures.

Carved out of basaltic rock (volcanic rock), it is one of the interesting places to visit near Mumbai. An entrance fee has to be payed and it is open from 7:30am-5:30pm. Kanheri Caves with its rustic charm and beautiful carvings remains one of the interesting attractions under Maharashtra tourism.

An Overview of Kanheri Caves
  

An Overview of Kanheri Caves

Kanheri in Sanskrit means the 'black mountain', the caves were carved out of majestic basaltic rocks (rocks formed from volcanic lava).
Photo Courtesy: Chaitu

Ancient Inscriptions
  

Ancient Inscriptions

Various inscriptions in Devanagari, Brahmi and Pahlvi scripts are found here. Many of them are still legible.
Photo Courtesy: Dhaval264

Statue of Gautam Buddha
  

Statue of Gautam Buddha

It is one of the prominent statues in this group of caves.
Photo Courtesy: Vaibhavpol1663

Dinning Hall
  

Dinning Hall

Kanheri Caves were a main Buddhist centre during ancient times. The caves also served as a Monastery.
Photo Courtesy: Dhaval264

Carvings in Kanheri Caves
  

Carvings in Kanheri Caves

Many carvings relating to Mahayana Buddhism are found in the caves.
Photo Courtesy: Patrice78500

The Main Stupa
  

The Main Stupa

Chaityagrhas were the prayer halls and the place of congregation. All chaityagrha's contain a stupa and are built in a cylindrical pattern.
Photo Courtesy: Sujsuku

A Wall of Intricate Structures
  

A Wall of Intricate Structures

These art works depicting Bodhisattva are the major attractions in Kanheri Caves.
Photo Courtesy: Sanket Suresh Rane

Small Cells
  

Small Cells

There are many small caves or cells which served as rooms for monks who resided there.
Photo Courtesy: Vaibhavpol1663

Facade of Cave No. 3
  

Facade of Cave No. 3

Cave 3 is the main prayer hall (Chaitya), a 7 metre tall Buddha statue is also situated in this cave.
Photo Courtesy: Sohan Ulhas Gurav

Pillars in Chaitya (Prayer Hall)
  

Pillars in Chaitya (Prayer Hall)

Kanheri caves are situated inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park near Borivali, Mumbai.
Photo Courtesy: Ashish1594

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