Kanheri Caves: Only Centre with Continuous Progression of Buddhist Faith and Architecture

  • 17 May 2022

On the occasion of Buddha Purnima (16 May 2022), Union Minister of Tourism & Culture inaugurated various amenities at ancient Kanheri Caves.

About Kanheri Caves

  • The Kanheri caves comprise of more than 110 different rock-cut monolithic excavations and one of the largest single excavations in the country.
  • These excavations were primarily undertaken during the Hinayana phase of Buddhism but also have several examples of the Mahayana stylistic architecture as well as few printings of the Vajrayana order.
  • Evidence from Inscription: The name Kanheri is derived from ‘Kanhagiri’ in Prakrit and occurs in the Nasik inscription of the Satavahana ruler Vasisthiputra Pulumavi.
  • Travellers’ Account: Kanheri was mentioned in the travelogues of foreign travellers. The earliest reference of Kanheri is ascribed to Fa-Hein who visited India during 399-411 CE and later by several other travellers.
  • Importance: Its importance is heightened by the fact that it is the only centre where a continuous progression of Buddhist faith and architecture is observed as an unbroken legacy right from 2nd century CE (cave no. 2 stupa) to 9th century CE are observed here.
  • Patronage: Kanheri flourished under the patronage of Satavahana, Traikutakas, Vakatakas and Silaharas and through donations made by the wealthy merchants of the region.