Caves add beauty to nature. Everything from the mountains to the sea is naturally created by the universe. God contributed every ounce of hard work to make this universe. But caves are something which was created by man in ancient times as a hideout place or a place to reside.
Eventually, it started to depict the life and daily struggles of our ancestors with the beautiful carvings and painting on it. Our ancestors left a beautiful message all over the place in the form of these amazing and strikingly beautiful monuments.
The caves in Mumbai are popular tourist places in Mumbai that were created by Buddhists as a place of worship and shelter. When you visit these caves in Mumbai, you will be mesmerized by the hard work, the thoughts and creativity that they possessed.
Most of the caves in Mumbai mostly depict the places built by Buddhists to stay. They surely are a fascinating blend of culture and art. Let us start walking on the path of the places to visit in Mumbai by knowing about these 10 caves in Mumbai:
1) Elephanta Caves
One of the most amazing caves in Mumbai, Elephanta Caves were was built by Buddhists between 5th and 9th century as a place for shelter. Later, they were occupied by Portuguese invaders in 1534, when they took control of the place and named it Elephanta as there was a gigantic rock cut-sculpture of an elephant on the same island thus naming it so.
They are rock cut-sculpture made on basalt rocks which are divided into two groups. The first group has 5 caves and other has 2 along with a water tank and stupa. Also, Elephanta festival held in February is an attraction. It is situated around 10 km from the Mumbai harbour. If you are looking for places to visit in Mumbai, this should be on your list.
2) Kanheri Caves
Kanheri caves are also the caves in Mumbai that were built by Buddhists as Viharas (a place to stay). They are present in Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali in Mumbai and are a group of 100 caves. As they have little carvings and decoration, thus it was believed that it was used as a place to live, study and meditate.
Though some beautiful engravings are present in few caves like in cave 3 you will find a colossal Buddha and Chaitya Griha, in cave 2 Avalokiteshvara which is a Bodhisattva that represents compassion and painted ceiling in cave 34.
They are also rock-cut sculptures on basalt rock. Also, the name comes from Krishnagiri that is Krishna meaning black and Giri means mountain. It is among the popular tourist places in Mumbai.
3) Mahakali Caves
The Buddhist monastery of Mahakali caves is one of the caves in Mumbai that are popular as a tourist place in Mumbai. The Mahakali caves are located in the eastern suburb of Andheri in the city of Mumbai. They are represented by a group of caves - the first group has 4 caves in the north-west and another 15 caves in the south-east.
Thus, together they form a group of 19 rock-cut structures. They are again cut through basalt rock. The largest cave is Cave 9, which has depictions of Buddha and other figures of Buddhist mythology. These were constructed around 1st - 6th century BC.
4) Karla Caves
Karla caves are also popular caves in Mumbai, which were built in the 2nd-5th century by the Buddhists as a place for prayer. They are the oldest Chaitya Buddhist caves. They have some of the most prominent features like the prayer hall that is 45 metres long and 14 meters high with a perfect architectural design.
They also have stupa and other structures which have beautiful engravings showing their daily life routines. It also has a Buddhist statue seated on a throne supported by a lion and guarded by three elephants on the sides. It is located around 94 km from Mumbai and is a must-visit tourist place in Mumbai.
5) Bhaja Caves
Bhaja caves are a group of 22 caves in Mumbai, located in Lonavala in Mumbai. They were roughly built during the 2nd century BC and are noted among popular tourist places in Mumbai. These caves have a number of stupas and wooden architecture, which shows the creativity and skills of Buddhists who made these structures.
The rich cultural heritage this place possesses shows that table was used in ancient times too and has been used since 2000 years in India, also engravings showing dance performance indicate that women knew such arts long back. It is located around 95 km from Mumbai.
6) Bedse Caves
Other popular caves in Mumbai that is near Bhaja caves are Bedse caves. These caves spread around 110 kms from Mumbai is one of the finest tourist places in Mumbai. It is located in Lonavala and thus monsoon is the best time to visit this cave and to enjoy its beauty and history.
Even these caves in Mumbai were built by Buddhists and are a rock-cut sculpture. The unhindered view from the top is the cherry on the cake. Two of the many caves that are Chaitya and Vihara mark the highlights of these caves and show the history of Buddhism in India.
7) Pataleshwar Caves
This is one of the caves in Mumbai that dates back to the 8th century and is one of the famous places to visit in Mumbai. The main highlight of Pataleshwar caves is that this cave is carved out of a single mountain and stands tough today also. It is located at a distance of 140 km from Mumbai and is located in Pune.
It is one of the most strikingly beautiful tourist places in Mumbai, where resides a beautifully crafted Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Its style and architecture is quite similar to the Elephanta caves in Mumbai.
8) Jogeshwari Caves
Jogeshwari caves are one of the oldest caves in Mumbai, located in Jogeshwari, Mumbai. The caves date back to 520 to 550 CE. These structures mark the end of Mahayana Buddhist architecture and are beautifully crafted.
The caves' entry is lined with a number of stairs which lead to the main hall with several pillars and a Lingam at the end. Idols of Hanuman, Dattatreya and Ganesh are engraved on the walls which make this cave one of a kind. It is also among popular places to visit in Mumbai.
9) Mandapeshwar Caves
These old caves in Mumbai are located in Borivali which is a suburb in Mumbai. It was initially built by Buddhists as a Viharas. It was built back in the 8th century. Originally these caves were built along the Dahisar river but later the river changed its course. The hills and scenery around these caves make it the best tourist places in Mumbai.
The name derives its meaning from Mandapeshwar, which means the hall of the Lord. After Kanheri caves, Buddhists found this place where they created a hall of paintings and Persians were hired to paint the walls and mark its history.
10) Ajanta Caves
Located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, another popular tourist place in Mumbai is the Ajanta Caves. Hailed as one of the caves in Mumbai, they are some 430 km away from Mumbai and can explore on a day trip. These are the most beautiful caves in Mumbai amongst the other and consists of 30 caves, 5 temples and 25 monasteries and were thus acknowledged by UNESCO as the World heritage site.
Something shocking about this place is that it remained undiscovered for 1000 years. And when it was found, it revealed the art and architecture, the knowledge and the culture that India possessed back in the 2nd century.
Considering the beauty hidden in these caves and wonders of India, these are some of the best places to visit in Mumbai. So grab your travel bag and head to Mumbai for an unexpected exploration. Take a dip at the cultural heritage of India by starting with these 10 caves in Mumbai. Good luck!
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