(Last Updated on : 18/03/2011)
Khaneri caves are the relics of ancient Buddhist monastery that is located in the north of Borivali in the western outskirts of Mumbai. This is surrounded by Sanjay Gandhi national park
. These rock cut monuments serve as a major tourist spot for the visitors in Mumbai
who get enchanted with the architecture of these monuments. Khaneri caves are one of the major historical sites that reflect the Buddhist influence on the art and culture of India. These caves derive their name from the Sanskrit word Krishnagiri which generally means a hill which is black in colour. The rock cut temples of Khaneri caves number up to 109 small temples which used to serve as Buddhist Viharas that served as residences of Buddhists monks. The pleasant atmosphere of the Khaneri caves was well utilized for meditation and literary purposes which formed the base of Buddhist Monastry. The inscriptions on various rock edicts claim the Krishnagiri or Khaneri caves attracted a number of scholars from all over the world which include scholars like Ptolemy who visited the caves in 2nd century BC.
Khaneri caves had been one of the great Buddhist architecture which is made up of massive basaltic rocks. Carved within the huge rocky structure these monasteries present a different kind of architecture which is different from the elegant Elephanta caves. Unlike Elephanta Caves
these caves have stone plinths as beds. The Khaneri caves include huge congregation of stone pillars that are usually found within any of stupas of Buddhist period. These caves further include ancient system of water supply that was located at the top of the mountain peak. Water used to be collected from the canal and other water bodies which were further collected and channelled into large reservoirs or tanks. The caves along with architectural superiority also include inscriptions of Lord Buddha`s verdicts as well as versions of Bodhisattvas. With its environment and inscriptions Khaneri became an important Buddhist centre for learning in the3rd century BC.
Khaneri caves include inscriptions in Devanagari, Brahmi and Pahlvi epigraphs which are found in at least 90 caves. These caves further include Buddhist Viharas which are meant for learning and meditation. Overall these caves include some distinctive features which include large halls that have chaityas or hall for congregational worship, sculptures reliefs and pillars and rock cut Stupas for worship. While the rock edicts of the khaneri caves reflect some light on the historical of age during which these monasteries existed, their inscriptions also define the historical stories of Kushan Empire, Maurya Empire
and the satvahanas who remained prominent in the history of India.
Thus Khaneri caves of Mumbai are one of the most popular historical sites which are located at the outskirts of Mumbai.