The Kanheri Caves constitute a group of rock-cut monuments dated from the 1st century BCE to the 10th century CE.
Kanheri comes from the Sanskrit Krishnagiri, which means Black Mountain. Here 109 caves have been carved from the basaltic rock. These caves are located deep inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park, on the western outskirts of Mumbai.
The Kanheri Caves demonstrate the Buddhist influence on the art and culture of India. Inside the caves you will find pillars and walls carved with Buddhist sculptures, shrines and rock-cut stupas. In these caves there are “Chaityagrhas” or halls for congregational worship. “Viharas” or monasteries for living, studying, and meditating. “Podhis” or water cisterns, which were excavated ingeniously to trap the rain water and store them for use during dry summer spells and rock-cut benches and seats.
During the monsoon season these caves transform into an ideal getaway for tourists as the hilly terrain of the caves creates several waterfalls – the road from the National Park to the caves is bisected by streams and is bustling with lush green forest.
Text and Photos By Vidyavati Chandan