The History of the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

The Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, have stood strong through the turns of two millennia. The caves were created on an outcrop of basalt on the island of Salsette, also known as Shatshashthi in Mumbai. Located six miles from Thane, these caves were constructed during the 1st century CE and 10th century CE.

The caves are believed to have been crafted by Buddhist monks. There are widespread markers of Buddhism and the teachings of the religion in the architecture and carvings of the caves. Having been constructed on a hill with basalt rocks, the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, derive the origin of their name from the Sanskrit word Krishnagiri which means black mountain.

During the 3rd century BCE, the Kanheri Caves became a major epicentre of the Buddhist settlement in the region. Serving as Buddhist viharas, the caves were a place of worship, studies, and meditation. Furthermore, during the reign of the Kushana and Maurya dynasties, the Kanheri Caves, and Mumbai, were also a functional universities.

The Distinct Architecture of the
Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

One of the things that make the Kanheri Caves a striking architectural marvel and distinguish them from other similar relics across the nation is the fact that they have been carved out of a single piece of rock. Carved out of basalt rocks, the Kanheri Gufa is adorned with inscriptions celebrating Buddhism.

Since the 109 caves have been constructed across a period spanning a thousand years, the caves are vastly different in shape, size, and level of sophistication. The architecture of the earliest caves has been influenced by the Hinayana sect of Buddhism, whilst the subsequent caves display markers of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism.

Featuring sculptures, rock carvings, and paintings dedicated to Buddhist lore and religious teachings, the Kanheri Gufa is also home to an intricate and impressive network of water cisterns. Cave 3 is amongst the centrepieces of the Kanheri Caves, with a beautiful chaitya-griha, a stupa, and a courtyard coupled with a statue of the Buddha to mark the entrance to the cave. Most of the inscriptions in the Kanheri Gufas are in Brahmi and Devanagari scripts.

Some Facts About the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

If you are still not intrigued by the architectural marvel and treasured history of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park Kanheri Caves in Mumbai, then the following facts about the caves may add to their intrigue and attraction:


The caves are all carved out of one piece of rock, making them unique.


There are around 30 incomplete Lord Buddha paintings in the Kanheri Caves, in addition to several complete ones.


Once a university site, the Kanheri Caves still hold reverence for Buddhists and are frequented for teaching and learning sessions.


The Kanheri Caves are home to a well-designed network of water cisterns.


There is a cemetery on one of the terraces of the cave.

Things to do at the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

There is no dearth of interesting activities that can be undertaken at the Kanheri Caves in Mumbai. The foremost activity is trekking to and through the caves. With there being a total of 109 caves on the premises, visiting and beholding the architectural magnificence of each or at least most of the caves is an intriguing endeavour in itself.

Should you decide to pick only a few of the caves to visit, then you simply must visit Cave 3. Celebrated as the most intricate cave amongst the large network of caves in the formation, this cave has a massive hall and columns as well as a stupa that is 16 feet high. Having visited Cave 3, you must pay its neighbouring cave, Cave 4, a visit; this is the oldest amongst all caves in this formation.

If you are keen to behold the famous, and well ahead of their time, cisterns at the Kanheri Caves in Mumbai, then you have to visit Caves 5 and 6. Lastly, another cave you must not forget to visit is Cave 34. This cave has a mesmerising ceiling adorned with beautiful paintings of Lord Buddha. In addition to the caves, the surrounding area is filled with lush plantations and diverse scenery.

How to Reach the Kanheri Caves?

From within Mumbai

The Kanheri Caves are located inside the premises of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Therefore, entry to the caves is through the park.

By Train

The railway station nearest to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is the Borivali Railway Station, from where you can access the national park through public buses, autos or cabs.

By bus or car

You can also reach the Kanheri Caves through the extensive Mumbai road network. You can take a state-run BEST bus or drive your personal vehicle to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and then reach the Kanheri Caves through the park's entrance.

There are cycles on hire at the entrance to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. You can rent a cycle for ₹60 (applicable for two hours) and reach the caves.

Travelling From Another City

Mumbai enjoys seamless connectivity to almost all the major cities in the country and the world:

By Air

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport is 17 kilometres away from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

By road

Several national and state highways connect the city of Mumbai to cities far and wide.

By train

Mumbai is one of the busiest stops in the Indian railways' network. There are direct trains connecting the city to other state capitals and important cities.

The Best Time to Visit the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

The Kanheri Caves in Mumbai are open to the public six days a week throughout the year. You can visit the caves during permissible timings
(7:30 AM to 5:00 PM) on any day except Mondays.

The best time to visit the caves is during the winter and pre-winter months of September and February.

Since the Kanheri Gufa is situated at a considerable height and entails a substantial degree of trekking for the visitors, it is not prudent to visit them during summer. The intense heat and humidity that Mumbai is infamous for may make your experience of visiting the caves less than comfortable.

It is also inadvisable to visit the Kanheri Caves during the rainy season. The rains make the rocks in and surrounding the caves slippery, and you may be susceptible to slipping and getting injured. You must, therefore, plan a visit to the caves during the winter months when temperatures are more conducive to trekking.

Tips for Visiting the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

If you wish to visit the famous Kanheri Caves in Mumbai, then here are some handy tips to make your visit comfortable and memorable.

Start your visit to the caves early in the morning to encounter minimal human traffic and have ample time to explore the majority of the caves.

Carry protective equipment such as a hat and sunglasses, particularly if you are visiting the caves during the summer season. Apply generous amounts of sunscreen.

Dress comfortably and avoid clothes that make walking and trekking difficult.

Carry sufficient water and fluids, and keep yourself hydrated.

Read up on the caves in advance so as to be able to make the most of your visit.

Choose trekking or running shoes to make your trek easier.

Maintain decorum at all times and respect the sanctity of the site.

Beware of monkeys, particularly if you are carrying eatables.

Other Tourist Places to Visit Near the
Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

Not only are the Kanheri Caves in Mumbai a fascinating place to visit, but they are also surrounded by numerous places of interest to tourists and locals alike.

Here are some of the popular tourist places near the Kanheri Caves in Mumbai and their distance from the Kanheri Caves:

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park
(caves are located in the National Park)

(9 km)

Tulsi Lake

(9 km)

Mandapeshwar Caves

(10 km)

Shree Siddhivinayak Temple

(15 km)

Talao Pali Lake

(17 km)

Jogeshwari Caves

Residential Projects Near Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

Piramal Revanta

Near the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

If you are looking to buy a house with excellent views of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and the Kanheri Caves, then Piramal Revanta by Piramal Realty is a great choice. Located in the suburb of Mulund, this luxury residential project features a variety of apartments, including 1BHK, 1BHK plus study, 2BHK, and 3BHK.

Adorned with thoughtfully designed interiors, the luxury apartments of Piramal Revanta are an excellent selection for a life close to nature yet well connected to all the necessary modern-day infrastructure. Get in touch with us now and book your dream home at Piramal Revanta.

You can take a 3D e-tour of the property online or book a visit to the site.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai

Where are the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai located?

The Kanheri Caves are located on the premises of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

How far are the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park?

The Kanheri Caves are located in the verdant forests of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. As such, they are not far from the park, albeit a part of its vast expanses. Once you have entered the national park, you can travel to the caves on a bike or bus.

Who built the Kanheri Caves Mumbai?

The Kanheri Caves are believed to have been built by Buddhist monks.

How old are the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai?

The Kanheri Caves in Mumbai are more than two millennia old. The oldest of the 100-strong network of caves was constructed way back in the first century.

What is the best time to visit the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai?

The best time to visit the Kanheri Caves is between the months of September and February.

What are the entry fees for the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai?

The entry fees for the Kanheri Caves are ₹15 for Indian nationals and ₹200 for foreign nationals. In addition to this, the following fees apply for entrance to the premises of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
  • For children below the age of five years - No entry fee
  • For children aged 5 to 12 years - ₹28
  • For children above the age of 12 years - ₹53
  • For adults - ₹53
  • Entry fee for cars - ₹177
  • Entry fee for buses - ₹266

How many caves are there in the Kanheri Caves, Mumbai?

The site of the Kanheri Caves in Mumbai, Maharashtra, is home to 109 caves.
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