Mahakali Caves Mumbai- the Kondivite Caves
The Mahakali Caves Mumbai is also known as Kondivite caves because it is located near the Kondivite villages of Mumbai. It is a group of rock-cut monuments that have been built many years ago, say in between the first century BCE and the sixth century CE. This is a Buddhist monastery that stands in Andheri in the eastern suburbs. It is one of the best caves in the city. The caves have been carved out of basalt rock. Basalt is a type of black rock that is created from volcanic eruptions and is prone to weathering. The cave displays mythological figures of the Buddhist religion.
The Mahakali Caves, also known as Kondivite Caves, are a group of Buddhist rock-cut caves located in Mumbai, India. These caves date back to the 1st century BCE to the 6th century CE and are among the earliest Buddhist rock-cut cave monuments in the region. The caves contain chaitya halls, viharas, and rock-cut sculptures, many of which feature intricate carvings and designs. The caves are considered to be an important example of early Buddhist rock-cut architecture and are a popular tourist attraction in Mumbai.
There are two groups of caves (rock cut) – fifteen caves to the southeastern part and four caves to the northwestern part. The two caves among the group of four consisting of a dining place and also a dwelling place. Some broken tombstones could be found between areas of the two groups of caves. Within the fascinating monuments, there stands s small hall like an auditorium where teachers and students meet. Both groups of caves is connected by several half-broken stone steps.
Most of the caves are cell for the monks to stay which is called viharas except the ninth cave which is called chaitya and holds some Buddhist shrines. The southeast group of caves is older than the other part. The monuments contain remaining of structures and cisterns to hold drinking water collected from rain.
Feature of ninth cave
Cave no. 9 or the chaitya is the most extraordinary cave among all the caves. It is the oldest cave out of the 19th caves. There is an inner shrine along with a stupa that is enclosed within a curved wall with a latticed window on both sides. There is a small inscription in pali written over one of the window “gift of the Vihar, by a Bhramin of the Gotama gotra, Pittimba, an inhabitant of Pachi Kama”.
How to reach Mahakali Caves
The caves of Mahakali can be reached by road, train, and air. Andheri railway station as well as Jogeshwari railway station is regarded as the nearby railway terminus to the caves. Tourists coming from Mumbai can board the trains that are coming to these places. Then taxis or local buses could be hired to reach the spot. There are many bus stations from where buses leave for the Mahakali caves such as Mahakali bus station, Takshila bus stop, the Saibaba Mandir Marol Bus stop, and many more that could take you to the stop in just half an hour. The nearest airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji domestic airport and cabs and buses are available to reach the spot. So you can see reaching there is not an issue, only you have to make arrangements for that.
The caves stay open on all days of the week and visiting timing starts from 9 in the morning till 4 in the afternoon. Entering the cave requires a ticket of 20 INR. The months of October to February is regarded as the most suitable time to visit there. The cave stands on the road that links Jogeswari and Vikroli. The caves overlook this road link and there are many buses run by the government that goes through the road.
The Mahakali Caves Mumbai is a favorite destination for archeologists and history lovers. The caves are located far away from city life and therefore offer a peaceful and serene environment. The caves are there since the empire of Ashoka. Inscriptions on walls are written in Pali language which is an older language, older than Sanskrit. You can see in the image of Mahakali caves how such small cells have been carved into the rocks, a beautiful creative specimen within rock-cut monasteries. This is truly a unique archeological rock-cut monastery.
Attractions around Mahakali Caves
The Albert museum is located nearby that houses maps, archeological items, and photographs of ancient Mumbai (Bombay). It is regarded as the oldest museum in the city. There are books, paintings, ancient metals, and artifacts. The other nearby spot is the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Kanheri Caves, Film City, and Powai Lake.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park:
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a large protected area located near the Mahakali Caves. It is a popular tourist destination and is known for its diverse range of flora and fauna, including tigers, leopards, and several species of birds. Visitors can take guided tours or go on their own hiking or trekking excursions in the park.
The Kanheri Caves are a group of rock-cut Buddhist caves located in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, near the Mahakali Caves. These caves date back to the 1st century BCE to the 10th century CE and contain a number of chaitya halls and viharas, as well as rock-cut sculptures and inscriptions.
Film City is a large movie studio complex located near the Mahakali Caves. It is one of the largest film production centers in India and has been used to produce numerous Bollywood movies and television shows. Visitors can take guided tours of the facilities and see behind-the-scenes looks at how movies are made.
Powai Lake is a large artificial lake located near the Mahakali Caves. It is a popular recreational area and is surrounded by parks, gardens, and picnic spots. Visitors can go boating, fishing, or simply relax by the lake and enjoy the scenic views.
Essel World is a large amusement park located near the Mahakali Caves. It is one of the largest and most popular amusement parks in India and features a range of rides and attractions for visitors of all ages.
Activity Mahakali Caves
Visitors to the Mahakali Caves can engage in several activities, including:
- Touring the Caves: Visitors can take guided tours of the caves, where they can learn about the history and significance of the site, as well as admire the intricate carvings and sculptures.
- Photography: With its unique rock-cut architecture, the Mahakali Caves offer ample opportunities for photography, making it a popular destination for amateur and professional photographers alike.
- Hiking and Trekking: The surrounding area of the Mahakali Caves, including the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is a popular destination for hiking and trekking, and offers scenic views and a chance to explore the local flora and fauna.
- Meditation and Reflection: With its peaceful and serene atmosphere, the Mahakali Caves are also a popular destination for meditation and reflection, and provide a quiet escape from the bustling city of Mumbai.
- Learning about Buddhism: The Mahakali Caves are an important example of early Buddhist rock-cut architecture, and visitors can learn about Buddhism and its influence on the region through guided tours and exhibitions.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the Mahakali Caves in Mumbai, India is from October to March, during the winter months. During this time, the weather is cool and pleasant, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking and trekking. The monsoon season, which lasts from June to September, can be very humid and can make visiting the caves difficult due to heavy rain. Additionally, the summer months from April to June can be very hot, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C. So, the winter months are the most comfortable and the best time to visit the Mahakali Caves.