Sunday, December 26, 2010

A forest trail and the Kanheri caves

This is a favourite watering hole for the fast dwindling forest denizens, and yes, panthers too! They have also erected a watch tower nearby.
 Apart from the solitary woodcutter, we encountered a group of students with large sketchbooks and a shooting crew! But of course, you are bound to run into shoots anywhere in Mumbai, even schools, polytechnics or the suburban railroad stations:)

We left the trail and went up to the Kanheri caves. Originally called Krishnagiri or black rock, these are a group of 108 caves carved out of basaltic rock from the 1st to 9th century A.D. They were all very industrious buddhists

A Chaitya hall with pillars, which served as the congregation hall for Upasana, or worship. The Stupa in the far centre usually contained some relic.

One of the earlier caves, quite bare. Most of the caves have a stone platform for bed. Later day caves have stone carvings, reliefs. They also had a system of water ducts and storage, and some inscriptions speak of royal donations. 
The Kanheri caves were a centre of Buddhism in the western India, a centre for learning and Atish Dipankara, the sage who carried Buddhism to Tibet, came here for studies.Over the next ten centuries, Buddhism might have disappeared from India but it remains ingrained in us, having been absorbed into the Indian way of life and thought. 

One hundred and ten years ago, Swami Vivekananda came here and meditated on the hill.  

1 comment:

  1. Breathtaking photos, sculptures, caves and informative and interesting. Just wonderful. Thank you so much. Too exhausted to write more.........later, kiddo!