The word Kanheri originates from the Sanskrit word Krishnagiri. Krishna generally stands for black color. The other name in vogue was “Khaneri” which means black mountain. The following three inscriptions in the caves mention “Krishna-saila”, “Kanha Shele”, & “Krishnagiri” in cave nos. – C. No. 21, 98, & 101 respectively. These caves are dated from 1st Century B.C. to 9th Century A.D. Most of them are the Buddhist Viharas which was meant for their residence, study, and meditation. A few Chaityas are seen containing rock-cut stupas meant for congregational worship. The large number of Viharas obviously prove a well-organized existence of Buddhist monks’ establishment, which was also connected with many trade centers such as the ports of Sopara, Kalyan, Nasik, Paithan and Ujjain. Kanheri was a well-flourished University center at that time.
The record of Purna in Sopara (225 B.C.), 20 kms from Kanheri was a prominent seat of literary activity to which Arjuna – one of the greatest epics of Hindu religion (Mahabharata) – had visited while on the way to Somnath in Kathiawar (Gujarat) from the holy place Shurparak or Sopara. The king who ruled this area of Kanheri and Sopara was King Nahapan (78 A.D.), who used the word Krishnagiri on many occasions.
The Portuguese were the rulers of the west area of Kanheri about the year 1534, the Maratha ruled from 1760, and lastly, the British in 1774.
The caves are known as “Buddhist.” The highest cave is situated at a height of 1500 ft above sea level. The location of the caves is 45 km from main Mumbai city and 10 km from Borivali railway station. The way to the caves leads through the most beautiful and best natural surroundings of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The zigzag concrete road is fascinating and one enjoys walking the road with natural surroundings (7 km from the Park’s entrance. The atmosphere and the scenic beauty is simply enchanting and one is tempted to be in a close vicinity of this place forgetting all the hubs of the Mumbai city.
Wish to see the different locations of each cave per the numbering made by Archeological department?click here.
Every year on the occasion of Dassera festival, all trekking community around this area come to visit the place, perform puja, offer prayers for the long life of the cave, and then start their routine climbing practice. A good day to start any new venture, why not climbing the rocks of the cave as well??
We are happy by the mere thought of getting good response day-by-day to our Nature/Adventure programs. Thanks to all the entuziast and nature lovers who are participating in activities organized by us.
This present event was a half-day workshop of Basic Rock Climbing & Rappelling for Bhramanti & guest members at Kanheri. Despite the change of venue from Kanheri to Gandhi Tekdi, it was as per scheduled.
Every year at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali, the Forest Authority executes a census of birds & animals, and it turned out to be the same day as our scheduled day for workshop – 27th April. Basically, that was the reason for change of venue. Though the place is comparatively dirty due to the frequent visitors, the rock patches were with a variation of length (smaller than the ones at Kanheri), which is a good exposure to quality climb. Another advantage was that of the place being close to the main gate of the Park. Due to this, we saved almost 3 hrs of up & down journey. Thanks to the Census!!
We gathered at 7.30 a.m. at SGNP gate, left the place by 8.00 a.m., and started our activity by 8.30 a.m. We had an introductory session by myself (Rajan). Deepak & Milind worked in parallel fixing ropes & anchoring. Sandesh gave a rappelling demonstration. Harshal was on the belay all the time. We fixed one rope for climbing where all of us tried his own tricks to climb the rock successfully. We practiced for some time. After sweating until the last drop, we started winding up our equipment & dispersed by 2:00 p.m.
Most remarkable thing was the participation of 2 youngsters, Aditya Gawali & Ritika Jairam both aged 7, although not aware of the patch length, rappelled successfully for the first time from a height of 75 ft. The moment Aditya completed his rappel, he started bugging me to find out the exact length of the patch which was not told to him. Though I was busy organizing the workshop, he made me feel that he had a great lust to know what venture he did today. He didn’t realize he did something different today; maybe he was looking forward to a greater achievement! But just for once, he did mention while traveling back that he can go further than this. Whatever it is, as an adventure lover these words gave me a good feeling of encouragement in organizing such workshops. The way of thinking big starts here and if it started early in life, the success rate is always higher.
|Silondha Trail Date: 18th Feb 2001
After a gap of almost one month we had a nice enjoyable trail. A trail to Silondha. This was unexpected to me but fortunately two of my colleagues Mr. Milind & Deepak wanted to have some different type of trekking experience on the early morning of Sunday 19th Feb 2001.
To know little about how this happens, let me tell you a little story. Two week back I had applied for the search & rescue mountaineering course at NIM which will be starting from 20th March 2001. Since this course is very tough with reference to field work concerned, one must be physically fit to complete the course successfully. This includes weight carrying of approximately 25 KG during the course as well carrying the casualty for a long stretch is one of the key exercise. So to keep myself upto the level I carried two 15 pounds dumbbells & other required kit in the sack(appox 25kg).
We all three met at Borivali National Park Gate & started at 9:15am.
We took left turn towards the Sinlodha gate, one can find a iron road divider an iron poll painted with white & green colour. It was a cool & undisturbed area. As soon we entered the gate we found to our good luck, a snake almost 5-6 ft. long whitish in colour resting on the Bamboo mesh. Initially we thought it might be a Bamboo Pit viper, but as per our experienced colleague Mr. Deepak it was not a viper since his under belly portion was with parallel lines. We had spent almost 10 min. to observe the snake completely, while doing so we’ve reached the other side of the bamboo mesh where we find an Maruti 800 hidden in the bushes with some live activity. After our arrival the activity got a halt. We ignored it & started exploring the snake activity. Till this time he had gain some height on the Bamboo mesh. So we quit from there to start our pre-planned activity. We all three got some mental satisfaction that our trail will be a great one.
After continuous walk of almost 35 minutes from the last snake spot on the way suddenly we found a quick & flick movement of someone with sound of dry leaves & grass. We all turned to see what is happening. At the very instance when the movement was happening our colleague Mr. Deepak was on the right side of the root got shocked. Finally we could able to follow up the movement & found once again a long 6 ft. snake yellow in colour. He also moved to the Bamboo mesh & slowly moved to the higher side of the mesh to hide from us. It was not easy to trace out since he was camouflaged by the surrounding. After spending some time we carried forward our journey. We found one man made water spot made for all animals on the way.
Hardly after five minutes of journey we found a very interesting scene, a bunch of small sized butterfly gathered & flickering around the small one feet bush offcourse the bush must be having their sweet food. While observing & indicating the same to all partners, almost 50 ft. behind below a tree their was a couple deep inside. We all wondered how people can dared to come deep inside just for fliterning. While indicating the butterfly scene to my colleagues the couple who were sitting deep inside thought that we are calling them since all three of us were facing in the same direction. After watching the scene we waved them to indicate that go ahead don’t get disturbed be their.
Till this time the root was quite OK & traceable. As we were moving deep inside root got vanished & we were forced to follow the way like configured software programme. We were sure that we will be finally reachnig to Kanheri. We decided to keep on moving towards diagonal right side of the jungle so that somewhere on the way we’ll be connecting to the main road(tar). Almost another 35 minutes of trace we found a motorable unlaid route. One end goes towards the last ashram & other end leads towards the forest house. We have selected the one which goes towards the Ashram. It took another 40 minutes to reach the spot. We found the building is no more since the forest department had bulldozed the construction for some reason. From there we took right turn towards a spot called Chimney & from there to main entrance of the Kanheri. We had our food as little refreshment & then started our returned journey by regular tar road. Every year on the occassion of Mahashivaratri thousands of people visit this area as devotion to the lord shiva. We all hope that all those people shuould maintain the cleanlyness of the jungle since as our experience is concern it’s sencond phase of the Forest authority to clean all dump created by the people. I hope anybody who is reading this article must have received my message.
Written by: Rajan Rikame
7th Nov 2004.
Trek into interiors of National Park On the 7th of November 2004, we a group of 17 gathered at 5:30 AM at the gates on National Park Borivli. Amogst the 17 was Mr Kannan who has been a regular visitor to National Park, going for daily walk at 5.00 in the morning and has ventured into almost all the interiors of National Park. He was to guide us to the High Point, known as A1 point which is supposed to be the highest point of Mumbai city at 1200 feet.
After having collected out passes out group started the walk. Kannan was sharing his knowledge about the history and geography of the national park. We could find many walkers and runners already returning back after having completed their walks and joggings.
After having trekked for about 2 hrs, we reached the high point. From this point we could see the Mumbai partly, well almost whole of it. We saw the Tulsi lake, Vihar lake and Powai lake adjacent to one another. It was a beautiful sight. Far away we could even see the Powai – Hiranandani. Also to the left we saw a mountain range with peaks, which is ‘Mama (uncle), Bhanja ( nephew), Mulund top etc. I am sure Rajan Must had a thought of Mama-Bhanja since his nephew was accompanied with us. He is 10 yr. old. It was his first ever such long trek and at this height most of the time in front of the all of us while walking with plenty of energy.
After having had a satisfying view we started our journey back, this time from a different route. That route first took us to the Goumukh temple and ashram ruins. Its said that there was this temple and ashram, but seems there was some illegal activities being carried out and hence the ashram was pulled down.
After the break we restarted out journey which took us to the back side of Kanheri, which overlooks a huge valley. There are cliffs which are overhangs and there are fittings put in for artifical climbing practise. Then we reached Kanheri caves. After having our food we decided to do some bouldering ( climbing practise of boulders). Rajan (our lead ) guided us and taught us the basics of climbing. After a practise of an hour, we decided to wind up. Though some of us were of the opinion that we should take the bus back to the main gate ( National park runs a special bus right from the main gate to the Kanheri caves), after waiting for the bus for about 20 mins we started having doubts whether it was better to start walking.
Finally 10 yr old Aditya made the decision :). He started walking and led by Aditya we all decided to finish the trek in style. In between we had the a view of some shooting going on – I meant film shooting with rumors that Isha Kopikkar was the star. Anyways we reached the main gate after an trek of an hour. It was about 5.00 pm and everybody dispersed after a satisfying Sunday.
We realised something that we had never known before. National Park was a national treasure. Said to be the largest green cover in the asia inside urban areas, I heard it has a great collection of flora and fauna. For example I was told that National Park has more species of butterflies than that can be found all over UK. Its also a great venue for bird watchers. Check out this site for all details about the national park and we will come to know how little we know about our own backyard, instead we go trekking to thousand to miles. http://www.borivlinationalpark.com/ But the biggest regret is that the lungs of Mumbai city is slowing losing its strength to the encroachments from all sides of the jungle and very soon there might not be much of National Park to be preserved.
Written by: Krishnadas Warrier