Kanheri Caves, Nature at its Best

Kanheri Caves, Nature at its Best

You are a nature lover or just visiting a place away from all kinds of pollution or planning to spend some time away from your busy schedule of work with family and friends for a weekend change or simply for a picnic or a resident of a metropolitan city life like Mumbai …., then do not miss an opportunity of visiting a amazing place called Kanheri caves located to the southeast of Borivali on the western outskirts of Mumbai. The Kanheri Caves premises offer a pleasant break.

We have mostly heard of historic places like Ajanta, Ellora….. But Kanheri caves nestled in the green environment curiously provide the visitor a peep into the history, wonderful nature
views and environment, incredible creations which date back to the 11th century AD and beyond.

It may be an invigorating trip that one would definitely be interested in going around whether one has interests in history, culture or just plain adventure. The ambiance and the scenic beauty are simply inspirational.

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For me, it was a fantastic experience along with my family members and relatives to inhale and to understand first-hand history, culture and art. What people could do with just a chisel at that time and their imagination and need of a living place and other facilities? These are the nearby cave sculptures in Mumbai. This place is more gorgeous and nature at its best during monsoon. This place is near to Borivali Railway station on the Western Railway line.

As per the records the work on these caves began in the 1st century BC and carried on right through the 11th century AD. Kanheri comes from the Sanskrit word Krishnagiri generally meaning black in colour.

The caves are known as “Buddhist.” The highest cave is situated at a height of 1500 ft above sea level. It is generally believed that Buddhism first arrived in Aparantha (Western India) at Sopara which is very close to Kanheri. It is said that even the early visitors like the Portuguese and other travelers and voyagers of Europe mentioned these things in their travel stories.

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Kanheri is recognized with the largest number of caves in a single hill. It is known as a Buddhist historical place. These caves are generally small consisting of a single cell with a front pillared verandah. The caves contain a cistern for storing water. The Kanheri Caves are renowned for their natural Basalt formations, ancient Indian style architecture. They were chiseled out of a massive basaltic rock. It is noted that there are 109 rock-cut cells; each cave has a stone plinth for a bed.

The excavations here are: Chaityagrhas, the place of worship of the Buddhist community, Viharas or monasteries, they consist of single and multiple celled where the Buddhist monks resided, Water cisterns, which were excavated ingeniously to trap the rain water and store them for use during summer periods and rock-cut benches and seats. Be prepared to walk around and explore. A must visit during rains. The excellent scenery around, walking around is very enjoyable. We enjoyed it very much. Do not forget to take a camera with you.

If its monsoon, then it’s time to visit Kanheri Caves.

by Stany D’Souza, Bajpe

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