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Kuda (Raigad)

The Kuda Caves are in Janjira hills facing the Arabian sea. It is known by the name of the village with the same name from the Raigad district. The natural surrounding and architectural designs of these caves together give a blissful experience.

Districts/Region

Raigad District, Maharashtra, India

History

The Kuda caves are on the western fragment of the hill around the stream of Mandad. The caves are very close to Mandad, an ancient site of ‘Mandagora’ referred to by Roman writers as a port. The caves were carved during the initial centuries of CE and Buddha images were added later in the 6th century CE.
The site has 26 Buddhist Caves patronised by the local king, his family, nobles and traders. The prosperity arrived in the locality due to Indo-Roman trade in the early years of the Common Era. Most of these caves are carved out in basaltic rock and can be dated back to the 2nd-3rd century CE. Buddhist Sculptures depicting the Sacred Buddhist Trio and some episodes from the life of the Buddha are dated to the 6th century CE. Early sculptural panels in the caves dated back to the 2nd-3rd century CE give glimpses of the early regional art.
Kuda caves consist of four Chaityas (prayer halls), epigraphs and inscriptions. The rest of the caves are the residential structures meant for Buddhist monks to stay. The viharas are modest structures consisting of one or two rooms with a verandah at the front and a cell in the wall for meditation. They are small single-room units, devoid of any ornamentation. An inscription in cave 11 is accompanied by the depiction of the Hippocampus (seahorse) as a sacred symbol. The site has many water cisterns that must have been used to store water for the residents of this monastery.
The scenic site of Kuda was located in the vicinity of a prosperous port and on the trade route linking it with the commercial centres on the Deccan Plateau.

Geography

Caves are on a hill near the village of Kuda, 21 KM Southeast of Mangaon and 130 KM from Mumbai on the Mumbai-Goa Highway. 

Weather/Climate

The prominent weather in the Konkan region is rainfall, the Konkan belt experiences High Rainfall (ranges around 2500 mm to 4500 mm), and the climate remains Humid and warm. The temperature reaches up to 30 degrees Celsius during this season.
Summers are hot and humid, and the temperature touches 40 degrees Celsius.
Winters in Konkan is the comparatively milder climate (around 28 degrees Celsius), and the weather remains Cool and Dry

Things to do

Apart from visiting the caves, one can visit the creek and a river nearby. The Murud Janjira fort is approximately 25 KM from Kuda. A visit to Janjira fort can be accommodated on the same visit if planned in advance.

Nearest tourist places

  • Tala Fort (15.1 KM)
  • Murud Janjira and tombs of Siddhis in Murud or Khokhari Tombs (20.7 KM)
  • Diveagar Beach (40 KM)
  • Kashid Beach (43.5 KM)
  • Kolad- (34 KM)  one can enjoy adventure sports like river rafting, kayaking, river crossing and ziplining.

 

Special food speciality and hotel

Seafood is a speciality in the region as it is near the coastal area.

Accommodation facilities nearby & Hotel/ Hospital/Post Office/Police station

There are plenty of hotels and homestays available in the Konkan region. A hotel might give comfort and luxury, a homestay with the hospitable locals give a genuine experience of the local culture. Recently, service apartments are also widely available in this region.

Visiting Rule and Time, Best month to visit

There are no rules for visiting caves. One should follow standard rules like no tampering with the place, no littering and keeping the sanity of the site.
Summers are hot and humid hence it can be avoided to plan a visit. The best period to visit Kuda caves is June to February.

Language spoken in area 

English, Hindi, Marathi