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Mary Ann Campbell | profile | all galleries >> Travel photos: India, Turkey, Alaska, and Europe >> India: Winter 2005-2006 >> Mumbai: Kanheri Caves tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Mamallapuram | Ellora Caves | Ajanta Caves | Kerala backwaters | Kochi | Coonoor and Kodai | Ooty | Thekkady | Karla Caves | Madurai | Mumbai: Kanheri Caves | Mumbai | Hampi: Sacred Center | Hampi: Royal Center | Mysore | Siebel Technology Center | Bangalore, Dec. 2005 | Singapore Bus Tour, Dec. 2005

Mumbai: Kanheri Caves

I spent several hours in Mumbai at the Kanheri caves, in a national park 30 miles north of the city. There are 109 Buddhist caves dating from the first century BC to the 9th century AD cut from a large hill. They are mostly residential, with a few chaityas (Buddhist temples in caves).

I enjoyed being at these caves more than any other because of the beautiful surrounding forest, the complete quiet and the unusual convenient outdoor cut rock benches everywhere.

There are no active temples here, and we saw no tourists and very few people, though some army trainees came as we were leaving.

From Wikipedia:

"The caves were originally built as a place for rest for travellers between the ancient port towns of Sopara and Kalyan. As time progressed, the secluded environment led to it being ideal as a place for meditation and prayer, and archaeologists believe that the caves began to host permanent residences in the 1st century AD. The location in the middle of a forest, straddling the crossroads of ancient towns of Sopara, Kalyan, Nasik and Ujjain, and the abundance of water made it a popular venue for Buddhist monks.

"Initially the caves were spartan, with basic amenities such as stone beds, and cisterns to store water. In due course of time, as it began to have permanent residents halls began to be carved out of the rock. Ornate statues and images of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas were also carved on the walls. By the third century, Kanheri had risen to being the most prominent Buddhist settlement on the Konkan coast. Its increase in stature meant that funds from nearby cities were easy to obtain."
Cave with small stupas
Cave with small stupas
Small stupa
Small stupa
Magnificent stupa in  major chaitya
Magnificent stupa in major chaitya
Magnificent stupa in  major chaitya
Magnificent stupa in major chaitya
Climbing the hill to more caves
Climbing the hill to more caves
Assembly or dining hall cave
Assembly or dining hall cave
A wonderful cave house
A wonderful cave house
Wall of my favorite house
Wall of my favorite house
Window
Window
Army trainees
Army trainees