The caves are famous for their 109 special entrances.
Kanheri Caves are a string of prehistoric cave formations located in Mumbai's suburban regions of Borivali. An amalgamation of over a hundred caves, these stone relics date back to the 1st century and it is widely believed that the establishment of these rock-cut monuments, continued even during the 10th century.
As you compare the older constructions to the newer ones, you'll see how simplicity transformed to intricacy over the years and the paintings, sculptures and carvings, in the later built caves are much more refined. In present times, one of the caves from the lot has been converted into a monastery and here's all else you need to know!
What's the Story?
Deeply seated amidst the serene and verdant surroundings of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Kanheri, also known as Krishnagiri or Kanhagiri in ancient inscription, literally translates to 'black mountain' and is mostly named after its structure of black basalt stone. These caves are a sprawling home to Buddhist sculptures and the architecture here, draws inspirations from ancient Buddhist motifs.
The earliest cave coincides with the arrival of Buddhism in Anathara, Sopara which was a significant port town and most of these caves are devoid of any decorations because they were absolutely meant for simple living, studying and meditating. Kanheri Caves can be accessed through a series of rock cut steps and in addition to the caves, you'll also spot a congregation hall, intricately carved pillars, Buddhist stupas and ingenious water channels carved out of stone, which offer a stellar view!
Since the caves are set 5 kilometers inside the park, you can choose to rent bicycles, walk or catch one of the many buses that operate every 20 minutes from the entrance.
So when in Mumbai and you feel like a taking a quick break after this lockdown concludes, pick up your camera and head straight to the Kanheri Caves. Perfect for a family day trip and even a solo exploration stint, this place is gonna leave you enriched with historical knowledge and other trivia. But do note, the caves are closed on Mondays!