Ten-Second Takeaway

Are you looking to escape the city but are also too lazy to head out of Mumbai? Head to Kanheri Caves in Sanjay Gandhi National Park {SNGP} and surrender to the peace and tranquility of nature.

Explore History In Wilderness

Kanheri Caves, as they are collectively named, are a bunch of Buddhist caves {a total of 209 caves} deep inside the serene tip of SGNP. They go far back to 1st century BC – when Buddhism was rising in this part of the world. The name, inspired by the word ‘Krishnagiri‘ from the ancient scriptures, means black mountains – as it is literally chiseled out of massive basaltic rock forming tiny rock caves on the uneven hill.

With the monsoons coming to an end, it really is the perfect time to go and visit the caves. Fresh from the rain, the caves are cool, lush and form beautiful ponds and waterfalls all around it. You have to pay a nominal entrance fee, and an additional amount for photography.

What You Can Do

Getting here is really easy from anywhere in the city. You can hop onto a bus or get an auto from the nearest station, that is the Borivali Station on the Western line. After being dropped off at the base of the caves, you’ll be greeted by a winding path of stairs leading you to the caves {which is your trek}. If you’re in the mood for a nice nature trail, start from the SGNPP gate {INR 44 as the entry charge} and cover approximately seven km to the caves – see butterflies, birds and lush waterfalls {especially during the monsoons}. Want to rent a bicycle and cycle there? You can do that as well.

What Else?

Photo source: Ashish1594 via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Photo source: Ashish1594 via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Apart from the trek around and to the caves, you can learn a lot about the history of the Buddhist dwellers in the caves. They have ancient carvings on the walls as it served as a university for the Buddhist monks – so expect to find rich cultural leftovers like the rain harvesting storage pools, called ‘podhis‘, Viharas which were basically accommodation for the monks and Chaityagrahas – places used for worshiping or commonly referred to as prayer rooms. You can see painting engraved onto the walls of the caves, apart from the pillars and other formations carved out in the caves.

If you’re here with your family or a big group of friends you can have a nice picnic in the grounds – surrounded by all that greenery that’s hard to find in the city. They also have snacks and refreshments at a tiny canteen of sorts, so if you hadn’t packed anything – go here. Gorge on delicious vada pao and cuppas of hot chai.

So, We’re Saying…

It’s a haven for people looking to escape the city life but are not in the mood to travel outside – and really just want to explore Mumbai. Have a day to spare? Head here as it can be during the weekday or during the weekend.

#LBBTip: Watch out for the notorious monkeys lest you want your food snatched away by them.

Entry Fee: INR 15 for Indians, INR 200 for foreigners

Featured photo source: AKS.9955 via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0]