About Mahakali CavesAlso known as Kondivita Caves, Mahakali caves are the perfect depiction of the lifestyle of people from an early age. They are as old as 2000 years and believed to be built in the 1st and 6th centuries. The caves are made from very strong basalt rock and divided into two major groups having 19 caves in total.
The first group has fifteen caves settled in the south-east direction whereas the group two with four caves is located in the north-west direction. Group-I in the south-eastern was carved earlier than the group-II in the north-western. The caves have stone figures of Buddha and stupas and a few engraved figures of Buddha on the walls of the caves too, along with some scriptures in the language Pali.
The group-I has dwelling places along with a few verandahs, courtyards, a chapel, and a few shrines. Whereas, group-II also has a dining place. The space between these two groups of the caves have some broken tombstones along with a monument and a small auditorium serving the purpose of a school. Settled in the western part of Mumbai in Andheri, these caves depict a fair story about the residents of these caves.
Being a Buddhist monastery, these caves were the cells for the monks who followed Buddhism. They had a fine lifestyle with a separate place for living and eating as well as they gave importance to education too. Every detail makes it more and more fascinating and reveals more about their lifestyle which makes it a must-visit place in Mumbai.
Architecture of Mahakali caves:Mahakali Caves were constructed 2000 years ago from now. It is believed that they belong to the era from the 1st to 6th centuries. The name of the architecture followed by the caves is Indian rock-cut architecture. They are classic caves carved out of the black basalt rock which is the result of hardened lava after a volcanic eruption. They even have few inscriptions on the walls in the language Pali, which is older than Sanskrit. The caves are clustered in two areas with twenty entrances.
The first area is in the south-east direction where there are fifteen caves. They consist of dwelling places, verandahs, courtyards, a chapel, a significant cave number 9 and a few shrines. You can witness numerous stone figures of Buddha and stupa inside the caves. The other group is located in the north-west direction which has only four caves and one of them was used as a dining place and others as places for living.
The group-I is believed to be the older caves than the group-II. The space between these two clusters of caves have several broken tombstones, a monument, and an auditorium which appears to be made for the teacher and the disciples. This whole ‘cave society’ will present a glimpse of the lives of ancient people.
Brief About cave number 9 of Mahakali Caves: Cave number 9 of Mahakali Caves is the largest cave out of all the fifteen which is a Chaitya or a prayer hall. It contains seven figures of Lord Buddha as well as several depictions from Buddhist mythology. However, the figures are now mutilated and the only thing you can see is the silhouettes of the statues without any details.
How to Reach Mahakali Caves
From the Airport?
Mumbai airport is just 6 KM away from the Mahakali Caves. You can easily hire a cab or an auto-rickshaw to reach the caves. The autos have a meter system to charge you so you need not worry about the bills. Whereas you can also book your cab online as there is a good flow of online taxis too.
Best Time to Visit Mahakali Caves
The months from October to February is the best time to visit these caves. It is the time when the weather is pleasantly chilled. It is the perfect time to visit here as the monsoon has just poured rain to bring life back into the city. However, it is suggested to plan in other seasons as summers can be very hot and humid whereas monsoon can play as a hurdle between your outdoor tours.
Other Essential Information About Mahakali Caves
Location: Mahakali Caves Rd, Sunder Nagar, Andheri East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400093
Timings: 09:00 am to 06:00 pm
Fee: 20 INR
Tips for Visiting Mahakali Caves:
-It is ideal to travel by road as the caves are situated near the junction between the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road and SEEPZ.
-You can easily get a bus service which can drop you to the location.
-You shall consider trying a local train to reach the caves.
-It is easier and affordable to grab an auto-rickshaw as they run on a meter system.
-There is an entry fee of INR 20 at the entrance of the cave.
-Please wear light clothes in which you can be comfortable throughout the day.
-You must wear comfortably fitting sport shoes to comfortably walk throughout the day.
-It is advisable to carry a cap, hat or scarf to cover your head.
-You must carry a water bottle and some snacks.
-It is advisable to start your trip early in the morning as exploring the caves will take your whole day.