Mumbai is undeniably India’s glamour capital, but within its borders are 118 monolithic Buddhist caves dating back to the 1st century BC. The Kanheri Caves, now part of Mumbai’s Sanjaya Gandhi National Park, were once inhabited by monks seeking refuge from the rains and harsh weather.
The setting of the caves is as picturesque and beautiful as the caves themselves. Kanheri caves were built by Buddhist monks between the 1st and 6th centuries while the religion was thriving in the Indian subcontinent. These basalt formations are set against a backdrop of lush greenery that stretches for miles and miles at what is considered the world’s largest reserve within the boundaries of a major city.
Kanheri Caves History
Kanheri is derived from the Hindi word Krishnagiri, also known as Kanha-Giri, which means Krishna’s home. As a result, these caves were named after the black basalt rock that formed them. Kanheri Caves’ history can be traced back to the spread of Buddhism in the region. Between the 9th and 1st centuries BCE, these were important Buddhist learning centers and pilgrimage sites for Buddhist monks.
The fact that this Kanheri fort was carved out of a single bedrock makes them unique in the entire country, which makes them an ancient architectural wonder. Water cisterns were skillfully dug in these masterfully designed caves to allow rainwater harvesting during the summer months.
Where Kanherei Caves are located?
Kanheri Caves are a vast network of prehistoric cave formations located in the Mumbai suburb of Borivali. This network of over a hundred caves dates back to the first century, and construction of these rock-cut monuments is thought to have continued well into the tenth century.
The caves’ surroundings are as picturesque and lovely as the caves themselves. Kanheri caves location also provides excellent photographic and videography opportunities. You can also go for picnics near waterfalls and hikes on the hills if you want to explore the natural beauty surrounding the caves.
Also Read: Lesser-Known Places in Mumbai
Tips to remember before visiting Kanheri Caves
- If you want to avoid crowds, arrive early in the morning.
- If you are traveling during the summer, remember to bring a hat and sunscreen.
- Be wary of monkeys that sit on entrance walls and may steal food if you have it in your hands.
- Avoid wearing heels or beach slippers and instead wear comfortable shoes.
- If you are traveling during the winter, bring a raincoat.
- At the top, there is a restaurant where you can purchase food and water.
- You must pay a small entry fee to enter the cave complex.
- Despite the lack of strict rules, it is a place of great religious significance for the locals.
What is the best time to visit Kanheri Fort?
Kanheri Caves are best visited during the winter months, which last from November to March. The weather is cool and dry at this time of year, so you can easily hike the entire distance. Another great time to visit is during the monsoon season, which lasts from July to September. If you don’t mind getting wet, you can also hike during this time of year, when the natural beauty of the area is at its peak.
Things to do at Kanheri Caves
- Enjoy Hiking, and Kanheri caves trek in the area, as it can easily take two hours.
- You can rent bicycles, walk, or take the buses that run every 20 minutes from the entrance.
- From a vantage point, enjoy the surrounding scenery while eating delicious local cuisine.
- Have excellent photographic and videography at the serene location.
- Explore the natural beauty surrounding the caves; picnics near waterfalls are possible.
To summarize, Kanheri Caves is a must-see for anyone interested in history, ancient architecture, Buddhism, or simply connecting with nature. As a result, including Kanheri Caves architecture in your itinerary whenever you plan a trip to Mumbai is highly recommended.
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