Mahakali Caves: A Historical Site in the Heart of Mumbai

Dragonfly Apartments, Andheri, Mumbai Mumbai Mahakali caves 3

Mumbai, the city of dreams, has a powerful and mysterious connection to Buddhism. The city has seen monks and monasteries since time immemorial. One of the many mystical links to the historical presence of Buddhism in the city is the Mahakali Caves. It is one of the most unique and unconventional places to visit in Mumbai. It can be accessed from Andheri railway station by bus number 333. Alternatively, one can reach via Vikhroli by bus number 410, or get down at JVLR.

Tourists do not have to trek to a remote location to get a glimpse of these caves. It is located right in the heart of Mumbai! They are also called Kondivite Caves. These caves feature a cluster of 19 rock-cut structures, which were built between the first century BCE and the fifth ACE. The caves were used as monasteries by monks, and also housed a chaitya chamber for meditation. Due to the resurgence of Hinduism and the decline of Buddhism, these structures were eventually abandoned. The royal patronage was taken away and these caves lost their value. The caves were marked as an important monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. In recent years, a perimeter has been placed to guard the caves against encroachments.

Unfortunately, this historical site has succumbed to neglect by the government from being promoted for tourism. The area is now surrounded by scrap dealers and slums, making it an unpleasant place to visit. Apart from Mahakali Caves, there are a lot of other statues that were discovered at different spots. Some of the statues are located at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai which is quite close to the CST railway station.

If you are looking for statues of Buddha in different forms, you can also visit the Dragonfly Hotels in Andheri East, which has an excellent collection of Buddhist-themed statues as well as books and paintings, carefully curated by several artists. This is a great addition for visitors going to the Mahakali Caves, which is located just 1.5km from the historical caves.