Kanheri Caves


Useful Information

Location: About 40 km north of Mumbai (Bombay), in the Krishnagiri Upavan National Park.
(19.207008, 72.904167)
Open: All year Tue-Sun 7:30-18:30.
Train ride: All year Tue-Sun 9-12:30, 13:30-17:30.
[2022]
Fee: Train ride: Adults INR 55, Children (5-12) INR 21.
[2022]
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Light: bring torch
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400101, Tel: +91-1800-22-9930.
Nature Information Center, Tel: +91-22-28868686. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1st century BC oldest caves excavated.
1st century most caves excavated.
9th century last caves excavated.
1839 rediscovered by Dr. James Bird.

Description

Protected by a dense jungle, these are a series of 109 Buddhist caves or monasteries in a rocky ravine where the monks practised their austerities. Unlike the artistic extravagance of Elephanta, they are spartan and bare. Each tiny cell cut into the flank of a hill, is fitted with a stone plinth that evidently served as a bed. Cave No 3 or the Great Chaitya Cave, is the most important, it is also a meeting hall, 38 m x 14 m x 14 m supported by huge stone pillars that contains the dagoba, a kind of Buddhist shrine. If you pick your way up the hill you will find channels and cisterns that are remnants of an ancient water system that channelled rainwater into huge urns. In fact, Kanheri probably provides the only clue to the rise and fall of Buddhism in Western India.


Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.

The Kanheri Caves are a 2000 year old Buddhist cave complex, the name Kanheri is derived from the Sanskrit word Krishnagiri, which literally means black mountain. The site is a park with roads, so you can drive from parking lot to parking lot, but there are also trails. You must leave the park at 18:30, so keep the way back in mind. As it is a park a lot of things are prohibited, like speeding, parking at the road, alcohol, smoking, pets, plastic bags, and fire. The park offers a tourist train ride on a narrow gauge railway which takes about 25 minutes.