Location: The perfect place for outing, that requisites dare and adventure to have in your heart, is the quaint and majestic historical sight of ‘Kanheri Caves’. The classy sprawling of rocks and mountains in exquisite cuts and structural designs are seen in north of Borivali on the western outskirts of Mumbai, India.
Either backdrop or the side view of this historical site is somewhere between the green woods of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. For catching the actual majestic scene of the cave, walking for at least 6 km from gate and 7 km from Borivali Station is required.
Entry Time: The journey full of fun, excitement and dare to these Kanheri Caves is opened from 7:30 a.m.
Etymology: The word ‘Kanheri’ is extracted from the Sanskrit language called ‘Krishnagiri’ that means black mountain.
Historical period: First century BCE to the 10th century CE
Historical significance: The view of ‘Kanheri Caves’ strikes to your mind the magic of Buddhist influence that is enhancing the glory of India’s art and culture.
Number of caves: 109
Materials used: These caves seem encrusted in mountains and rocks of Basalt. Basalt is the main material that is keeping this structure alive for ages.
Cells of the cave: Though the cells of these caves seem failing to spell the exact charisma as the adjacent caves of ‘Elephanta’ but except few cells, more will appear enchanting and splendid.
Stone plinth: The idea of having some rest would have been struck the mind of the monk. Therefore, each cells has a plinth made of stone of whose place is taken by beds now.
Hall: Like big ceremonial halls, the gathering of mass for spiritual motive used to take place in big halls which has pillars on its both sides and the stupa as well. Stupa is a shrine of Buddhists.
Canals and cisterns: The intelligence of monks and missionaries is reflected via the presence of Canals and Cisterns in the caves, which were used as water reservoirs at that time.
Caves as monasteries: Once the caves were set to be used as permanent monasteries, the rocks of the cave were chiseled to carve beautiful statues of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas. It became the hub for the Buddhists to settle on the Konkan coast by 3rd century CE.
Avalokiteshwara figure: It is the most outstanding sculpture erected there.
Viharas: These architectures were used for living, studying and meditating. These carried the trading significance as it played the role of a chain connecting various trade hubs, like Sopara, Kalyan, Nasik, Paithan and Ujjain.
Chaityas: The big and large caves were named as ‘Chaityas’, which were thronged by the devotees to worship there. Here, queue of Buddhist statues, reliefs and pillars are available to fascinate us.
Kanheri as University: During the sovereign of the Mauryan and Kushan, these caves were used as the study centres where the pupils around the world used to come. Even, the Buddhist teacher Atisha (980-1054) visited to the Krishnagiri Vihara to learn Buddhist meditation under Rahulagupta.
Inscriptions: There are 51 inscriptions here including some in Brahmi, Devanagri that can be read easily and 26 epigraphs, including 3 in Pahlavi. An inscription has cues of Vashishtiputra Satakarni, the ruler of Satavahana, with the daughter of Rudradaman.
Paintings: There is a ceiling of cave 34 that has painting of Buddha carved on it which is incomplete.