Paragraph on Kanheri Caves |Mumbai

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The Kanheri Caves are located north of Borivli on the western outskirts of Mumbai. These caves date from 1st century BCE to 9th century CE The earliest are 109 tiny rock-cut cells, carved into the side of a hill.


Unlike the elegant splendor of Elephanta Caves nearby, these are spartan and unadorned.

Each cave has a stone plinth for a bed. A congregation hall with huge stone pillars contains the stupa, a Buddhist shrine. Farther up the hill are the remains of an ancient water system, canals and cisterns that collected and channeled the rainwater into huge tanks.

Once the caves became permanent monasteries, they began to be carved out of the rock with intricate reliefs of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas carved into the walls. Kanheri had become an important Buddhist settlement on the Konkan coast by the 3rd century A.D. Most of the caves are the Buddhist viharas meant for living, study, and meditation.

The larger caves were chaityas, or halls for congregational worship are lined with intricately carved Buddhist sculptures, reliefs and pillars, and contain rock-cut stupas for congregational worship. The Avalokiteshwara is the most distinctive figure.


One hundred inscriptions carved in Brahmi, Devanagari and Pahlavi scripts have been found. The large number of viharas obviously proves a well- organized existence of Buddhist monks’ establishment, which was also connected with many trade centers such as the ports of Sopara, Kalyan, Nasik, Paithan and Ujjain. Kanheri was a University center by the time the area was under the rule of the Maurayan and Kushan empires.

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