Timings : 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Entrance Fee : Rs 5 for Indian national, additional cost for photography.
Best time to visit : Winter months (Nov-Feb)
Kanheri caves which are ancient Buddhist caves are located deep inside the Borivali National Park / Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and are approximately 6 km inside from the
main gate. There are private vehicles plying everyday in the form of trax and bus inside the park. Also, on Sunday there is BEST service available. One can enjoy the route by walking/trek or by renting a bicycle. The last 3 km of the route is dense forest with streams flowing in the months of monsoon. The last 500m of the route is a steep climb, its advisable to park private vehicles below this climb. Kanheri means black mountain in Sanskrit.
There are 109 caves, majority of which are just simple cave having a single bed, which were used by monks to live. All these caves have intrinsic water canal connection. There are a couple of water tanks at the top of the caves. From the top of the caves one can have a panoramic view of Borivali. Also in monsoon one can see the Vihar lake. The Vipasana Global Pagoda is also quite visible from the top. The caves dates back from 2nd century BC and are the largest group
of Buddhist caves in India.
The main caves to watch are the first 3 caves and then the cave number 10, 41, 67, 89 and 90. Also there is painting in cave number 41. Cave number 3 is the most magnificent cave of the whole complex, it’s a huge chaitya hall, which has a large stupa in it surrounded by pillars(34 of them) which have
decoration (figures of elephant and lions)at the top.The chaitaya hall is the replication of the Bhaja and Karla caves. The outside of the cave is also have two big statues of Buddha which are about 7 meters in height. There is inscription in Brahmi script at the entrance of the cave. Brahmi is the ancient script which preceded the Devnagari script.
Cave no 11 is a large hall, it is known as “Darbar hall”, it also has a buddha idol in it. Cave no 34 has an
unfinished painting of Buddha, the cave is dark one can observe the painting properly in a photograph with flash. Cave no 41 has the famous Avalokitesvara/Avalokiteshvara, one of its kind in India. Cave no 67, 89 and 90 have elaborate statues of Buddha, it represent the Jataka Katha from the Buddhism.