One of the airiest places in the city, the Kanheri Caves premises offers a pleasant break from the pollution and the noisy, metropolitan life. Nestled in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali, the Kanheri Caves are also known as the ‘lungs of Mumbai’, because this is the only place in the city with the maximum amount of greenery and consequently, a lot of fresh air. The caves date back to 1st century BC and are believed to be one of the oldest cave formations of the country.
The Kanheri Caves are renowned for their natural Basalt formations, ancient Indian styled architecture and the 109 special entrances to the caves. The word Kanheri originates from the Sanskrit term ‘Krishnagiri’. Each cave here, unlike the other caves in the country, is adorned with a ‘splinth’ or a rock bed. Congregation halls with large stupas also indicate that the caves were Buddhist shrines and a focal point during the Buddhist settlement in the 3rd century. The Kanheri Caves became a distinctive Buddhist institution for congregational worship, study and meditation.
A Cluster Of Rock Cut Monuments
When one visits the Kanheri Caves, there is a lot to see, in terms of what the caves have to offer and even around the caves. There are about 34 unfinished paintings of Buddha within the Caves. Apart from the paintings, one should also visit the ‘Vihara’ (prayer hall) and the different monasteries around the cave for a glimpse of former Buddhist occupation and life.
If you have had enough of history and you are looking for a bit of excitement, then planned tours, adventure sports such as rappelling/trapeze and treks around Sanjay Gandhi National Park or the Silondha Trail can also be arranged by local tourist guides. The hilly terrain of the caves also creates several, small waterfalls which are beautiful to see. Natural streams and rivers around the Kanheri Caves offer stunning views and beautiful locations for families to enjoy a small picnic while visiting the caves.
There are no places to shop inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park. However, once you are outside the park premises, Borivali, Andheri and Lokhandwala are the closest districts offering some of the best street-shopping experiences. Whether you are looking for handicrafts, clothes, accessories or just Indian artifacts, if you are good at bargaining, then these are the best places for you to shop till you drop!
There are a number of local eateries outside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Restaurants such as Greens Veg Restaurant, Cascade, Bay View Restaurant and Aura Restaurant that offer the best of local cuisine. Local food vendor’s can be found right outside the national park, selling nuts, juices, cotton candies, freshly baked crisps and the local Chaats.
How To Reach
The Kanheri Caves, situated within Sanjay Gandhi National Park, are located in the heart of Mumbai. You can reach this place with local transport (auto-rickshaws, taxis and local buses). Once at the national park, you can either decide to trek to the Kanheri Caves or opt for paid transport within the park.
The Borivali and Malad stations are the closest disembarkation points if you want to get to the Kanheri Caves. From here, you can opt or local transport to take you the Kanheri Caves.
The Kanheri Caves are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mumbai. Apart from the caves, feel free to explore the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, but with supervision and permission from the local authorities. The caves offer tourists and picnickers a perfect getaway and transport visitors into a historical world that once flourished.
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