Kanheri Caves, situated 42 km from Mumbai
, features some of the finest specimens of Buddhist cave art. Located amid the lush greenery of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park
, it is an ideal spot for a person seeking change from the noise and rapid pace of urban life. These caves serve as an evidence of the rise and fall of Buddhism
in western India.
The Kanheri cave complex features about 109 caves, which are cut out of a 1500 feet high ravine. They are believed to have been built in the periods between second and ninth century. The caves contain numerous tiny cells, each fitted with a stone plinth serving as a bed for the Buddhist monks who dwelled here. Along with the residential quarters for the monks, there is a large congregation hall. This hall, supported by huge stone pillars, houses a Ďdagobaí (Buddhist shrine). The idols enshrined here include a 20-feet tall statue of Buddha, an 11-headed Bodisattva (Buddhist saint) and Lord Nagaraja (serpent king) guarding the prayer hall.
Another thing worth visiting is the ancient water system situated atop the hill. Here one can find numerous channels and cisterns used for channeling rainwater into huge urns.