Mahakali caves : historical site in the heart of Mumbai
There is a mysterious connection of the maximum city to Buddhism. The city has seen monks and monasteries since times immemorial. One of the many connections points that links today with the historical trail of Buddhism in this city is the Mahakali caves which is located in the Andheri East. It can be accessed from Andheri railway station by bus number 333. Alternatively one can reach from Vikhroli by bus number 410. Third option is to get down for Mahakali caves at JVLR. The most amazing thing about these caves is that you don't need to go into some remote located to get a glimpse of it. It's right in the heart of Mumbai.
Popularly known as Mahakali caves,it is also called Kondivite caves. These caves are a group of 19 rock cut structures which were built between 1st century BCE and 5 ACE. The caves were mostly used as monasteries by monks. While there was a chaitya chamber for meditation. As there was resurgence of Hinduism and decline of Buddhism, these structures were eventually abandoned. The royal patronage was taken away and these caves lost their value. These were marked as important monument by Archaeological Survey of India and now a perimeter stands to guard against the encroachments.
The sad part is the neglect from the government to promote the place. This area is surrounded by scrap dealers and slums which makes it not a pleasant place for tourists. Also there seems to be no push for these unlike the Elephanta caves which in spite of being located several kilometers in the sea, get more footfall and better funding too. Apart from these caves, there were other excavations all around India and lot of statues were discovered at different places. Some of the statues are located in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya - Mumbai which is located very close to the CST railway station as well as from Churchgate station. If you are looking for Buddha statues in different forms, you can also visit the Dragonfly hotel in Andheri East that has excellent collection of Buddha themed statues as well as books and paintings,carefully curated from artists. This can be great detour for visitors to the Mahakali caves as it's located within 1.5km from the caves precincts.