Kanheri Caves in Mumbai

Kanheri Caves are a group of One hundred and nine caves have been chiseled out of a massive basaltic rock outcropping. Kanheri Caves are located at a distance of 6 kilometers from the main gate of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, to the north of Borivali, on the western outskirts of Mumbai city in Maharashtra state, India.

Kanheri Caves dates back to the period between 1st century BCE and 10th century CE. Kanheri was a well-known Buddhist settlement on the Konkan coast those days. There are 51 legible inscriptions and 26 epigraphs inside the caves. There is an unfinished paintings of Buddh inside the ceiling of the Cave number 34.

 Prayer hall with Stupa in cave 03 of Kanheri Caves Prayer hall with Stupa in cave 03 of Kanheri Caves

Each of the Kanheri Caves has a stone plinth for a bed. Most of these caves are Buddhist Viharas with shrine and stupa. These caves were used for meditation, studying and living. When these caves were converted into permanent Buddhist monasteries, the rocks were carved with intricate reliefs of Buddha and Bodhisattvas. There are canals and cisterns that were used to channel the rainwater into huge tanks inside the caves.

How Do I Go to Kanheri Caves?

Kanheri Caves are located at a distance of 7 kilometers from Borivali Station. The caves are situated inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park alias Borivali National Park (former name of the park). It is easily accessible from Mumbai city and lies at the northern tip of Western Mumbai. Borivali is at around 18 kilometers from Mumbai International Airport. BEST Buses,Trains, autos, taxis, etc, are available from anywhere in Mumbai to go to Borivali.

Bhimbetka Rock Shelters and Rock Paintings

 Paintings in Rock Shelter 8, Bhimbetka Rock Shelters Paintings in Rock Shelter 8, Bhimbetka Rock Shelters.

Bhimbetka is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the oldest Indian petroglyph archaeological site dating back to the Paleolithic Era, establishing proof of human habitation in the Indian sub-Continent. Paleolithic Era is the period extending from around 2.6 million years back to Pleistocene Period which is around 10,000 BP (Before Present) years. ‘Present’ is taken as 1 January 1950 , when radiocarbon dating technology was available.

Bhimbetka is situated in Raisen district in Madhya Pradesh state, in central India. Some of the rock shelters in the area were dwellings to ‘Homo erectus’ (extinct species of Hominin) for more than 3 lack years ago. There are many rock paintings among the rock shelters of Bhimbetka, which were painted using vegetable colors, and stood the test of time. 30000 year old rock paintings were found in the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka. More than 750 rock shelters were discovered in the region. Bhimbetka is home to world’s oldest stone walls and floors and is among the best petroglyph found anywhere in the world..

Bhimbetka rock shelters are inside the Ratapani wildlife sanctuary and Ratapani Tiger reserve. Bhimbetka is at the southern portion of Vindhya hills and Satpura Range of hills lies south of Bhimbetka Rock Shelters. Mountain ranges of Vindhya and Satpura, the two east-west mountain ranges, divides the Indian sub-continent into North and South India,

How Do I Go to Bhimbetka?

Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh state, is the nearest city to Bhimbetka at around 45 kilometers south-east of Bhopal on the Bhopal – Hoshangabad road. Raja Bhoj Airport at Bhopal is the nearest airport to Bhimbetka Rock Paintings site.

OBAIDULLA GANJ with station code ODG, a small station where a few trains stops, is the closest railway station at around 7 kilometers to Bhimbetka petroglyph painting rocks site. (Few trains from Mumbai, Gujarat and from some other central Indian cities stops here.) Nearest major railway station is the one at Bhopal.

Badami Cave Temples – Top Karnataka Site in Tourism Industry

Badami Cave TemplesBadami cave temples

Badami cave temples are a group of four ancient temples in Badami, in Bagalkot district of Karnataka State, India. It is the top-most Karnataka site, as far as tourism is considered.

Considered to be of Indian Badami Chalukya rock cut Architecture, Cave temples at Badami were built by Chalukya dynasty kings, in between 6th and 7th centuries. The cave temples are carved in the sandstone hills.

Badami cave temples consist of four caves on a hill cliff. Cave No 1 is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Cave 2 and Cave 3 are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Cave no 4 is a Jain temple.

All the four Badami caves are simple in style. These temple’s architecture is a mixture of North Indian Nagara and South India Dravida styles. Each cave has its own Varandah (walk way), Hall, Pillars and a small square shrine.

At a distance of 2 kilometers from the town is Badami Fort, which also has a carved temple, which shows excellent petroglyph skills prevalent in those days.

The 5th century Agastya-Tirtha Lake located beneath the cave temples is considered holy due to the healing powers of its water. This tank, situated adjacent to the temple, is considered highly sacred.

Archaeological Museum is another place of interest at 5 kilometers from the town.

Cave 1 – Lord Shiva Cave Temple

‘Sivathandavam’ sculpture welcomes you to Cave 1. Lord Shiva depicted here has 18 hands! Each hand corresponds to each ‘mudra’ (hand gesture) of Bharathanatyam, an Indian classical dance. There many other sculptures also inside this cave temple

Cave 2 – Lord Vishnu Cave Temple

Cave two has two major sculptures. One is that of “Varaha”. Varaha is the incarnation of god Vishnu in the shape of a boar, to rescue goddess earth from the giant demon, Hiranyaksha.

Second one is that of “Vamana” alias “Trivikrama”, the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Cave two is comparatively smaller than the other three caves.

Cave 3 – Another Lord Vishnu Cave Temple

This the largest cave temple, among the four cave temples at Badami. Steps leading the the third cave temple takes you to a magnificent courtyard. You will become spellbound on seeing the Agastha lake and the Bhoothanath temple in the backdrop of huge mountains, from here.

The sculpture here is that of Lord Vishnu sitting at “Vaikuntha”, the celestial abode of Lord Vishnu. The pillars of the halls are having fine carvings. There are countless sculptures on the walls, ceilings, etc. Remains of Mural paintings can also be seen here in this cave temple.

It is written in this cave temple that construction of this temple was completed on November 1st, 578 AD, by Chalukya King Mangaleswaran.

Cave 4 – Jain Cave Temple

Cave number 4 is a Jain temple. The sculpture of “Bahubali” is the main attraction here.

Even though Cahaluka kings were Hindus, the subjects consisted of “Jains” also. (Jain is a caste in India.) Hence this temple was constructed for the Jain community here.

Unlike other cave temple, this cave temple has an outside wall. Those days, Jain saints were naked. Therefore, to avoid disturbances to those coming to other three cave temples, an outside wall was constructed for this cave temple.

Little Bit History About Badami and Chalukya Dynasty

Badami was originally known as “Vathapi”. It is believed that in course of time, it became Badami. Some others say that the name was derived from the color of the rocks there. These rocks are having the color of almonds, which is known as Badam in south India.

Chalukya dynasty was established by Pulikeshin I, who reigned from 543–566 AD. He choose Vathapi as the capital of his newly established kingdom. He built the fort on the hill top.

Pulikeshin II was the most powerful Chalukya king. He was the grandson of Pulikeshin I. He defeated his uncle Mangaleswaran in a war and became the ruler of  Chalukya  dynasty. He extended his kingdom across south and central India, from Maharashtra to Tamilnadu. Chalukyas reigned over two decades, across most of the Deccan plateau. Keerthi Varman II was the last Chalukya king who was defeated in a war in AD 757.

How I Go to Badami Cave Temples?

Badami is accessible by road , train, etc. You can book train tickets to Badami Railway station in the official Indian Railway ticket booking web site, irctc.co.in. The station code for Badami is BDM. Badami town is at around 5 kilometers from the Badami railway station. Auto rickshaws are available for hire in front of the railway station. Shared autos are also available.

Badami is a small town. You can walk from your hotel room to the caves. The roads are not that neat and lot of pigs roam around the roads. If you want to avoid this, hire an auto rickshaw and go to the cave temples.

It is advisable to hire a guide, as it it help in knowing full details about the cave temples, its history, etc.

The nearest town Hubli is at around 97 kilometers away. The Nearest Airport is at Belgaum.

A word of cation; moneys near the caves may snatch your bags, water bottles, eatables, etc.

Hotels near Cadami Cave Temples

Mayura Chalukya is a hotel owned by Karnataka state tourism development corporation in Badami. It is a budget hotel with a good restaurant.

There are many other hotels also in this small village.

Conclusion

Are you going to Badami, to see the magnificent cave temples there? Please leave your comments below.

Marayur Sandalwood and Stone Age Civilization

Marayur is known for the Dolmens  and Stone Age Civilization.  Marayur or Marayoor is also famous for its natural sandalwood. It is situated in the state of Kerala, India.

Marayur, the Sandalwood and the Stone Age Civilization

Dolmens of Marayoor.

The ancient unique Dolmens and rock paintings found here indicates that civilization of Marayur dates back to 10000 B.C.  It is also proof for the petroglyph skills which existed in the Stone Age Civilization days. Its the confluence of  history, culture and wilderness at Marayoor.

Sandalwood Santalum album forest, Marayoor, Kerela

Sandalwood forest near Marayoor

The Dolmens which belong to the Iron age and the caves, rock edicts, engravings, etc,  tells us the history and the rich heritage of Marayoor.  Rock paintings at Attala, in the western Marayor, has more than 90 paintings in rock, most of which are abstract designs, except for a few paintings which depicts humans and animals.  There is a rock painting of a man and a deer in the nearby Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. A new rock painting was recently discovered near to this painting.

Marayur has around 100 species of flowering plants, including medicinal plants. Sandalwood is a  highly aromatic wood, used for scents and perfumes and for herbal medicine. Processing of Sandalwood and the Sandalwood oil is the major local industry. Sandalwood oil, otherwise called Liquid Gold for its high price, is extracted from the roots and the wood of the Sandalwood tree.

Marayur Heritage Safari

Munnar wildlife division of Kerala Forest department offers Marayur Heritage Safari. It is a Jeep safari. 3 hour package costs INR 3500 for 6 persons. It covers 5 locations. Another package which covers 10 locations in 6 hours is charged INR 5000 for 6 persons.

How Do I Go to Marayur?

Marayur Town is in Idukki district of Kerala state. It is  well connected by roads to other parts of Kerala and the neighbouring state, Tamilnadu. Marayur is at 42 kilometers north of Munnar Hills, on the Aluva – Munnar- Udumalpet road, i.e. on the Kerala State Highway 17. Anamalai, the highest peak in southern India, is located close to Marayur.

Palani Railway station is the nearest one at around 68 kilometers distance. This is not on the main line and the  nearest major mainline station is Coimbatore, at around 115 kilometers distance. Another major railway staion, Ernakulam Junction railway station, is at around 156 kilometers distance. Aluva railway station (near Kochi) is  at around 144 kilometers distance. Kottayam railway station is at around 168 kilometers distance.

Cochin International airport at around 145 kilometers distance and Madurai Airport at around 169 kilometers distance are the nearest airports to Marayur.