ITME 2022 WCOA 2022

2 kms north from the heart of Mumbai city, just off Borivili National Park are the Kanheri Caves. These caves are situated in a hilly, rock-studed slope.

There are more than a 100 Buddhist monuments and monastic cells carved out in the rocky outcrops. They are mostly small halls with verandahs and a cistern nearby. The most impressive monument at Kanheri is Chaitya Hall, or Cave No 3. Dating from the 1st - 2nd century, the hall is divided into three aisles by octagonal columns with pot-shaped bases and bell-like capitals atop which are carved animals such as horses and other symbols of the Buddha.

The side alcoves at the massive horseshoe-shaped entrance, are an addition during the 5th - 6th centuries, house monolithic relief of the standing Buddha. Monumental in appearance, the style of the sculpture seems to be of the late Vakataka period - heavy limbs, broad chest and scant drapery. The Gandhara legacy of hair in snailcurls and topknot are evident. The other important monuments are Cave No 11 which belong to the 6th century. A narrow entrance verandah leads into a rectangular hall with columned aisles on three sides and a shrine on the fourth. Higher up the slope there is a terrace where a group of small commemorative stupas are located, some rock-cut and some brick-built.