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Kanheri caves at Sanjay Gandhi National Park
 

Travel

Kanheri Caves
at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai
 

Preface
The Kanheri caves and the Elephanta caves are among the nearest ancient caves from the Mumbai city, with the former being the Buddhist caves, and the  later being the Hindu caves. These chain of caves, found mostly in the Western India, are thus described by John Keay in his landmark work on Indian history - India, a History:
India: A History by John Keay

...applies to the first of a long succession of 'rock-cut cathedrals', now more prosaically known as 'cave temples', which date from the last century BC onwards. They are found principally in western India, inland from Bombay, where sudden folds and gashes at the edge of the Deccan plateau expose long, snaking strata of sheer rock. No doubt here were natural caves which, affording secluded shelter and yielding readily to the sculptor's chisel, inspired the idea of more elaborate excavations. These followed entire monastic establishments with prayer chambers, deep pillared halls, lofty stupas, finely fretted facades, and airy meditation cells, all connected by galleries and staircases and all cut and carved into the solid rock."
 

Kanheri Caves
The Kanheri Caves located within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park - atop a mountain - are a major point of interest, presenting an accessible and interesting glimpse of the history and the culture of Buddhism in India. Most of these 109 Buddhist caves chiseled out of the volcanic rock are simple small chambers, known as viharas (cells for monks, origin of the name of the Indian state of Bihar). A few are larger & deeper chambers known as chaityas (for congregational worship).

The main one which has colossal figures of standing Lord Buddha, 7m in height, on each side of the entrance porch, a colonnade of 34 pillars surrounding the interior halls and a over topped stupa (shrine) at the far end, all carved in to the existing basaltic rock. These caves are dated from 1st century BC to 9th century AD indicating an well-organized Buddhist establishment of monks which existed on an ancient trade route connecting a number of trade centers & Indian ports.

Image Gallery of Kanheri caves:


Kanheri caves photo gallery - 1


Kanheri caves photo gallery - 2


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