Located in the periphery of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Kanheri Caves is one of the famous protected archaeological sites that is paradise for trekkers, history buffs, wildlife lovers and nature enthusiasts. Travelers have to trek through the dense forests for about 7 km to reach this spectacular cave complex that is situated at the outskirts of Mumbai.
This massive cave complex lying on the Konkan coast boasts about 109 rock shelters. The history of Kanheri Caves is about 2000 years old as it dates back to the 1st century. Founded by the Monks of Sapora, this site in Kanheri was developed as a Buddhist settlement till the 3rd century. The place remained a prominent monastic settlement till the 10th century after which it gradually began to lose its glory. The inscriptions found at the site depict that the sprawling cave complex was established from donations and land grants by the Kings, ministers, traders, monks and administrative officers who were the patrons of Buddhism.
Today, this place in Mumbai has emerged as a popular pilgrimage site for Buddhists which is visited by a large number of devotees on a regular basis. These caves also hold immense historical and cultural value as it served as a notable Buddhist monastery and the center of learning Buddhism in the bygone era.
In all, Kanheri Caves is a must visit place in Mumbai where travelers can grab a view of Buddhist sculptures, paintings, innumerable statues of Lord Buddha, Stupas etc.
Some of the popular activities that can be added to Kanheri Caves trip are wildlife safari, cycling, trekking and boating. Tourists can also visit nearby places to make their trip to the caves even more exciting.
Best Caves to Explore in Kanheri Out of 109 Caves
Besides an array of simply designed rock shelters, there are small streams, waterfalls and other wonders of nature in the vicinity which add more charm to visiting these famous caves in Mumbai. Caves number 2, 3,11, 34, 41, 67, 87 and 90 are very elaborate and offer a beautiful architectural beauty. Hence, you must not miss paying a visit to these specific caves where enriching insights about the rich history of Buddhism can be gathered.
Places to Visit Near Kanheri Caves, Mumbai
Check out the list of best places to visit near Kanheri Caves mentioned below. Do add these places of interest to your Wishlist!
1. Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Kanheri Caves are located in Sanjay Gandhi National Park which is a popular picnic spot for the tourists. Boasting a large variety of flora and fauna, the park is a perfect place to catch a glimpse of lions, leopards, boars, antelopes etc. Another interesting feature of this national park is the toy train ride. Visitors can take a ride in the train which gives them a tour to all significant spots that lie within the national park. There are plenty of bird species which makes it a paradise for bird watchers. People can also enjoy guided safari tours and activities like boating, cycling etc.
2. Mandapeshwar Caves
Mandapeshwar Caves is yet another Buddhist site in Mumbai which is located in its famous suburb, Borivali. This hidden and lesser known vihara was built by Buddhist monks in the 8th century. It is located at a distance of 9.4 km from Kanheri Caves and is a highly recommended ancient cave complex which needs to be discovered for its unique rock-cut shrine that is dedicated to Shiva. The temple comes to full glory during Maha Shivratri which is a famous Hindu festival.
3. Mahakali Caves
Mahakali caves are a group of 19 beautifully carved rock caves that are located in Andheri suburb region of Mumbai, Maharashtra. These Buddhist monuments are located at a distance of 21 km from Kanheri Caves. These wonderful Kondivita Caves that were established between the 1st century to the 6th century give a sneak peek into growing Buddhist culture in the region. The simple design and beautiful surroundings of this cave complex in Mumbai is perfect for meditating and unwinding.
4. Global Vipassana Pagoda
It is a meditation center akin to Golden Pagoda of Yangon that is located at a distance of 30 km from Kanheri Caves. This popular Vipassana center was built to commemorate Sayagyi U Ba Khin who is a famous Vipassana teacher hailing from Myanmar. There is a museum and a library present in the Pagoda where people can gather information related to Gautam Buddha's teachings and Vipassana technique.
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The iconic monument and architectural wonder, Gateway of India is a must visit place in Mumbai in 2022. It is located at a distance of about 45 km from Kanheri caves and serves as a gateway to Elephanta caves. This monument in Mumbai was built to commemorate the official visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India. It is among the best tourist places in Mumbai where people can enjoy ferry rides in the expansive Arabian sea, click beautiful pictures, and enjoy leisurely stroll at the promenade. There are popular eating joints and Colaba street market in the close proximity that can also be added whilst visiting Gateway of India.
Reckoned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Elephanta Caves Island is a visual treat for heritage lovers. This spectacular cave complex is a stunning piece of architectural brilliance. It comprises a set of beautifully carved rock temples and caves that are dedicated to Lord Shiva. The caves are accessible through ferries from Gateway of India. It takes about an hour from there to reach this island that offers a remarkable view of rich Indian heritage. You can also partake souvenirs and trinkets from the stalls at the island.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kanheri Caves
Q 1. Can we visit Kanheri Caves?
A 1. The caves can be visited on all days of the week between 7.30 AM and 5 PM except for Mondays.
Q 2. What is the best time to visit Kanheri Caves?
A 2. The best time to visit Kanheri Caves is during the winter months that fall between November to February. The weather during this time of the year is pleasant and delightful for trekking as well. You can also consider visiting this wonderful tourist place in Mumbai in the monsoon season that falls between July to September. During this time, the surroundings are verdant and waterfalls are in full glory making it a heaven for nature lovers.
Q 3. What are the timings of Kanheri Caves Mumbai?
A 3. The timings to visit Kanheri is between 7.30 AM and 5 PM on all days of the week except for Mondays as it is observed as a holiday.
Q 4. What is the entry fee for Kanheri Caves?
A 4. The entry fee for Kanheri Caves is INR 15 for Indian Tourists and INR 200 for foreigners.
Q 5. Which is the best way to reach Kanheri Caves Mumbai?
A 5. You have to first reach Mumbai through flight, train or bus and from there you can hire a cab to reach Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Kanheri Cave
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Q 6. How many caves are there in Kanheri?
A 6. There are a total of 109 Buddhist caves at Kanheri which are carved out of rocks.
Q 7. Who built Kanheri Caves?
A 7. Kanheri Cave complex was established by Bhuddist monks between 1 st and 6th century when the religion was flourishing in the Indian subcontinent.
Q 8. How far is Kanheri Caves from the National Park?
A 8. It is located in the heart of Sanjay Gandhi National Park and is about 7.4 km away from its main entrance.
Q 9. How much time do you need to visit Kanheri Caves?
A 9. 5 to 6 hours are enough to explore Kanheri Cave complex in Mumbai.
Q 10. Which caves in Kanheri complex are a must visit out of 109 caves?
A 10. Caves number 2, 3,11, 34, 41, 67, 87 and 90 are elaborate in comparison to other caves which are quite simple in design.
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