We went to the Kanheri caves in the end of the monsoon last year and I found it the best time to visit – not only the rock-cut Buddhist monuments were impressive, but their splendor was complemented by the lush greenery around. Looking at the vastness of green, it was hard to believe this endless forest was located within the limits of the very same city we went through in three crowded trains a couple of hours earlier.
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A pleasant walk through Sanjay Gandi National Park
A 7 km walk from the entrance of Sanjay Gandhi National Park to the Kanheri Caves was a bit challenging with small kids, but the most rewarding. We observed a great variety of plants and myriads of butterflies. Brave little crabs were crawling out of the seasonal streams and crossing the road (so we had to mind our step 🙂 ) Monkeys were popping up here and there, being an ultimate source of amusement for the kids. Wild birds were filling the forest with bewitching sounds of nature.
The ancient caves
The Kanheri caves are a group of ancient rock-cut caves with Buddhist sculptures, inscriptions, carvings, and paintings. The site is rather similar to other Buddhist complexes Maharashtra is full of, but it doesn’t make it less fascinating to explore. There are 109 caves dating from the 1st century BC to the 10th century AD, and I wonder whether we covered even half. Many of them were viharas – relatively plain rooms meant for living, studying and practicing meditation. There are also highly adorned praying halls with stupas, pillars, reliefs, and sculptures.
Besides anything else, I found people watching very entertaining in the Kanheri caves. There was a young couple (most probably college students) who made sure to kiss in every cave they entered. Was it a kind of a quest? 😉 Teenage girls and boys were jumping over the pools and generously splashing each other with water. Romantic couples were sitting on the rocks at the top of the complex, surrounded by vast greenery of pristine forest. Will they remember this moment going through the turmoils of married life?
Also, the Kanheri caves are undoubtedly a photographer’s paradise – the sights are bound to awaken one’s imagination. Here are some of my pictures taken with the simplest mirrorless camera.
Kanheri Caves: timings and entry fee
Kanheri Caves: how to reach, address, location
The caves are located inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park around 7 km from the entrance. The distance is easily walkable, but you can also rent a bike or go by bus (available every hour).
Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 600066, India
~ If you’re visiting in hot season, don’t forget sunblocks, a hat ans plenty of water.
~ Watch out for the monkeys. No, they’re not aggressive, but always ready to steal your sandwich, purse, camera etc.
~ There is a food stand near the entrance, but the options are limited, so perhaps you’d like to bring your own food.
~ Make sure you have a pair of comfortable walking shoes.
~ In many places there is no proper railing, so keep an eye on your kids.
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