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Mahakali Cave

The Mahakali Caves, also known as Kondivita caves, is a group of 19 rock-cut caves. It is at Andheri, a western suburb of Mumbai in Maharashtra. It is a group of Buddhist caves with Chaitya and viharas. Some caves have beautiful sculptures and also remains of inscriptions. 

Districts/Region

Mumbai Suburban, Maharashtra, India.

History

It is a cluster of 19 caves overlooking the urban landscape of Marol on a small hillock of Veravali in Andheri. These were carved between the 1st century CE to 6th century CE. Some of the sculptural panels in the main Chaitya (Buddhist Prayer Hall) date back to the 6th century CE. The site was a major center of esoteric Buddhism in the later period. The site also has the remains of a brick Stupa above the caves, on the top of the hill. Caves 1 and 9 are important caves at the site. They are Buddhist prayer halls.
Many Buddhist and Shaivite monasteries co-existed in this region for centuries. The Jogeshwari cave in the proximity is an example of this co-existence.
A unique stupa with the sculpture of an esoteric Buddhist god from the Mahakali caves had fallen from cave no. 1 to the foothill. Now she is worshiped as Goddess Mahakali in the temple known as Juna Mahakali Mandir (old Mahakali temple). The rock here is volcanic Breccia, which is not the best type of rock for preservation. This was one of the most fertile belts on Mumbai island. The site of Mahakali caves is also known as 'Kondivate' after the neighboring village.
Paspauli is a few kilometers away from Mahakali Caves. It is mentioned in the inscription that a person from Paspauli has donated Vihara at Mahakali. The Mahakali caves were the active monastery from the 1st century BCE to at least 12th century CE. It survived on the local donations and served as the monastery associated with Kanheri.

Geography

The caves are in the western suburbs of Andheri in the city of Mumbai in Western India.

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

The complete cave is like an open museum with a collection of monuments and artefacts. One will require at least 2 to 3 hours to see the complete complex. 
Most of the caves are viharas but cave number 9's chaitya displays Buddhist sculptural panels.

Nearest tourist places

One can plan to visit following tourist destinations along with Mahakali caves, 

  • Jogeshwari caves (2.8 KM)
  • Powai lake (5.9 KM)
  • Bandra fort (14.2 KM) 
  • Elephanta Caves(30.4 KM)
  • Mount Mary Church (13.7 KM)
  • Worli Fort (21.6 KM)

Special food specialty and hotel

Being in Mumbai the restaurants serve a variety of cuisine.

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

There are basic facilities like toilets, a few small restaurants near the caves serving different cuisine and packed water. 
The Holy Spirit hospital is 850 m from the cave. There are few clinics present near the cave for basic treatment.
The nearest Police Station is Takshashila Police Station (700 m)

Visiting Rule and Time, Best month to visit

The Mahakali Cave is open from 9.00 AM to 6.00 PM
The best season to visit the site is in winter (November to February) 
Tourists have to pay for entry tickets at entrance INR 20.

Language spoken in area 

English, Hindi, Marathi