Kanheri Caves, Mumbai India

by Kalahandi Info
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This major Buddhist centre is located North of Mumbai in the island of Salsette and six miles from Thana.

To the west of this tourist spot is the Borivilli railway station and across the creek is the Arabian sea.


This cave continued to exist because of its nearness to ancient seaport towns like Sopara, Kalyan, Chemula on the island of Trombay.

 The other ancient localities nearby are Vasya , Thana and Ghodabandar.

It is believed that Buddhism first arrived in Aparantha (Western India) at Sopara very close to Kanheri.

The caves were excavated in third century B.C. the early Portuguese visitors in the 16th century A.D and other European travellers have mentioned about these caves.

 The numerous donor inscriptions found here mention about ancient cities like Suparaka(Sopara) , Nasika (Nasik), Chemuli (Chemula), Kalyana (kalyan) and Dhenukakatha (Dhan yakakatha) , a modern Amaravathi in Guntur distrit of A.P.

The Excavations

These are of the following types.

(i)  Chaitya grihas – it is a plavce of worship of the Buddhist community.

(ii) Viharas or monasteries – they are single and multiple-celled where the Buddhist monks resided.

(iii) Podhis or water cisterns—these were excavated to trap the rain water and store them for the summer.

(iv) Rock cut benches and seats –the beginning of the excavations and the introduction of Buddhism collide here.

 The caves are small, with a single cell with a front pillared veranda approached by a flight of steps.

 The pillars were plain squares and did not have the pot base, introduced later.

The most important among the excav ation is that of cave three, which is a Chaitya Griha excabvated during the period of Yajna Satakarm (172-201).

It consists  of a large rectangular hall, a veranda and a spacious court in front.

  A row of 34 pillars divide the hall into a central nave and flanking aisles.

 The side walls are sculpted extensively with two huge images of standing Buddha in Varadamudra and other Bodhi Satva images.

 These sculptures date back to around 5th to 6th century .

How to Reach and Exact Location

One can reach Mumbai by air from anywhere of the country.

Mumbai also can be reached by rail and road from anywhere of the country.

After reaching the city every one can reach here by catching local buses and also can hire taxis or auto- rickshaws from anywhere throughout the city.

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