Kanheri Caves Mumbai History, Waterfall, Timings, Entry Fee

Mumbai is one of the most versatile cities and packs a lot of punches for explorers to explore. However if you are done with exploring the city life, and looking for tranquil spots away from the city then I have a really good option for you all. For a tranquil location packed with historical elements and located amidst nature, you need to visit the National Park Kanheri Caves as it is located inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. These caves are basically Buddhist site and you will get a lot of insights once you visit here. So when you are in Mumbai make sure you are definitely visiting the Kanheri Caves Borivali. Keep on reading this article on Kanheri Caves Mumbai as this will be a helpful read for you if you are planning a trip there soon.

Kanheri Caves Mumbai

LocationKanheri Caves address is Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali East, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Timings: The Kanheri Caves timings are from 7:30 am to 5 pm. Monday is closed

Entry feeKanheri Caves entry fee is Rs. 15 for Indians and for foreigners it is Rs. 200

How to reach

By air

If you are travelling by air then the nearest airport to reach the Kanheri Caves is the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. You can get flights from all major cities and towns and abroad to reach Mumbai. From the airport the caves is 22.5 km away. You can reach there in about 1 and a half hours. Also you can take taxis or take a cab to reach the caves conveniently from the airport.

By train

If you are travelling by train then the nearest major railway station is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station. From the railway station Kanheri Caves Mumbai is located at a 46.5 km distance and you can reach there in about 2 hours and 16 minutes. Another major railway station is Mumbai Central Railway Station located at a distance of 39.5 km. You can reach there in about 2 hours and 15 minutes from the railway station. Also few trains stop at the suburban railway stations in Mumbai. Amongst them the nearest local station to reach Kanheri Caves is the Borivali Railway Station. From the Borivali Railway Station the Kanheri Caves is located at a distance of 7 km and you can reach there in about 21 minutes.

By road

Located within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park the Kanheri Caves are located in the outskirts of the city. You can reach there from different parts of the city and beyond by road as Mumbai is well connected through roadways. You will get public as well as private buses from locations like Pune, Nasik, Ahmedabad, Panaji etc to reach Mumbai. The nearest bus stop to reach the Kanheri Caves is the Mumbai Central Bus Depot which is 40 km away from the caves. You can also take your own vehicle or take a car or hire a cab to reach Kanheri Caves from different locations.

Best time to visit Kanheri Caves

The Kanheri Caves Mumbai is open all through the year so basically you can visit here any time of the year. But if you want to explore the Caves well it would be great to visit here during the winter months. From November to February the weather in this area would be much more comfortable to explore and also to take part in trekking. During monsoon also some people prefer visiting here as the weather gets comfortable after the rains. However even the small waterfalls also remain full in volume during monsoon so you can explore them too. However the rocks here do get slippery during monsoon, so you need to keep that in mind. It can be a little risky as well to visit here during monsoon. In that case you can also visit here after the monsoon season.

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Overview of Kanheri Caves

Overview of Kanheri Caves
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

Located a little away in the outskirts of the city, Kanheri Caves is a popular tourist spot in Mumbai. It is basically a serene cave complex which is located on a hillside away from the hustling city. The way to access the caves is by going through rock cut steps and it can be intriguing and exciting at the same time. The construction of the caves goes long back to 1st century BCE when the earliest caves were built here. It took a long time for the complex to build and there are a total of 109 caves here. The earlier caves however are simpler in structure than the caves which came up later.

Moreover the most recent caves here date back from the 11 century CE which is old too. Most of the caves here are basically Buddhist Viharas. There are different types of carvings of these caves but stone plinth is one common factor in each of the caves. At one point of time this location served as a Buddhist monastery and a centre of learning. It was a centre for meditation, worship as well as study. Located within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park the way to reach the Kanheri Caves Mumbai is through trekking. The trekking trails here are also quite popular amongst trekkers. Moreover the trails here are beautiful amidst lush greenery and offer scenic views as well.

The caves that you will see here are obviously the main attraction of this particular spot. However, other than that the views are the major attractions here as well. Along with that you can spot multiple statues of Lord Buddha, some paintings and some unfinished remains here too. For nature lovers this can be a dream destination that you can explore in Mumbai. Also to enjoy a serene spot that offers the majestic view of the city skyline, visiting Kanheri Caves Mumbai is apt. So in case you are in Mumbai you definitely need to explore this beautiful location for sure.

Kanheri Caves History

Kanheri Caves History
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

The word Kanheri came from Krishnagiri and in Sanskrit language Krishnagiri translates to Black Mountain. These caves are a result of carvings out of black basalt rock. For a very long time this has served as a monastery and a site of pilgrimage for Buddhists. You will find a lot of inscriptions here which are still something that people could not decipher. But according to beliefs the first ever excavation started around the 1st or 2nd century BCE. There are some large halls and stupas here which further suggests that these were important areas of Buddhist shrines. At one point of time the location also held a lot of importance in propagating Buddhism in the country.

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Architecture of Kanheri Caves

The architecture of the Kanheri Caves Mumbai is not very elaborate. Mostly the structure, formation and the architectural style of the caves are plain and simple. However different caves do have some different features and characteristics though which differentiates the caves from one other. The Cave 1 is the Chaitya Griha and it is an unfinished cave which has two storeys. This cave has tall pillars and a statue of Lord Buddha at the entrance. Also you will find some stupas here as well.

Then there is the Cave 2 which is like a large assembly hall. You will find stupas here and the walls have sculptures of Lord Buddha in it. Furthermore there is the Cave 3 which is by far the largest cave among all the caves here. It has a well sculpted screen that demarcates a separation between the front side and the courtyard. These are the major caves in the Kanheri Caves. And these three caves along with some other caves here had been an important part of the Buddhist monastery. Also there are channels in each of these caves to store rainwater here. The inscriptions of the caves are also a major attraction here which is available in multiple languages like Devanagari, Brahmi and Pahlavi and more.

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What’s more?

Cave 4 is the oldest cave here. Next there are Cave 5 and 6 which are water cisterns. Some other significant caves here are Cave 11, 34, 41, 67, 90. There is Cave 11 which was the Durbar Hall or Assembly Hall. Another notable cave is Cave 34 which has beautiful paintings of Lord Buddha which are not finished. The Cave 67 is also significant as it has tales of Jataka on its walls. The Cave 90 is the darkest cave and one of the most important too. There you can find the oldest preserved mandala that belonged to the 6th century CE.

Other than that Kanheri Caves Mumbai houses multiple Buddhist paintings, statues and sculptures as well. It was once a residence for the Buddhist monks as well. So, all of that reflects in the structure of the Kanheri Caves.

Things to do at Kanheri Caves

One of the most important and interesting activities to enjoy here is of course the trekking. The trekking trail here is worth exploring and too beautiful to spend some time. For everyone, either a beginner or a pro, the trekking trail here will be interesting. The view is mesmerizing with lush greenery around. Also another major attraction here is the Waterfall Kanheri Caves have. Kanheri Caves waterfall is not too big. But they are pristine and add a charm to the whole ambiance of the location here. Also since the location is within the Sanjay Gandhi Park you can get glimpses of some animals occasionally at Kanheri Caves National Park as well.

Things to keep in mind before visiting Kanheri Caves

1.       The ideal time to visit here would be early in the morning because the crowd will be fewer at that time.

2.       You must wear comfortable shoes as you will have to walk while exploring the Kanheri Caves.

3.       Carry light snacks and bottles of water as you visit here, as it is important to keep you hydrated.

4.       The location has monkeys around, so beware of them and their naughtiness too.

5.       Avoid visiting during the summer, especially summer afternoons. But in case you are visiting during the hot season, make sure you carry your sunglasses, hats and wear sunscreen.

6.       Remember that this is a holy place of pilgrimage in the country. So make sure you maintain the decorum of the location when you visit the Kanheri Caves.

Wrapping Up!

So that was all about the Kanheri Caves Mumbai. A location like Kanheri Caves has a lot to explore and for nature enthusiasts this will be a perfect place to visit. Furthermore even for adventure lovers the trekking trails here would be extremely interesting to explore as well. So plan a trip to Kanheri Caves Mumbai and enjoy the serenity of this location.

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