Kanheri monastery, (near) Borivli, Maharashtra, IN

Raw data

This site consists of 112 caves near the town of Borivli (42 km from Bombay). 107 have been identified as monk's cells. The earliest caves date from the 2nd century BCE and have no Buddha imagery. More and more caves were added and the later caves were larger and contained Buddha imagery. Mahayana sculpture was added in the seventh century. The largest of the caves accommodated twelve monks. A guess might put 300-500 monks at the site at its height. Tthere are important inscriptions at this site, some of which show inter-regional patronage and one which records the arrival of a Japanese monk. The site was occupied until at least the tenth century as an inscription of that period records a donation.

See D.C. Ahir, Buddhist Sites and Shrines in India: History, Art and Architecture (Delhi: Indian Books Centre, 2003) p.194 - 195.
See also Sukumar Dutt, Buddhist Monks and Monasteries of India: their history and contribution to Indian culture (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd. 1962), p.152 - 157. Pg. 158 -159 summarizes an extensive donative inscription by a high official, c. 100 - 125 CE.

An inscription at thie site records a donation by a merchant from Sopara on the west coast of India.

See Himanshu P. Ray, Monastery and guild: Commerce under the Satavahanas (Delhi: Oxford University Press: 1986), p.60.

Src: IN
Input by: SG Mar 31, 2009

"The Kanheri Caves are located north of Borivli on the western outskirts of Mumbai, India, [in] the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Kanheri Caves are sign of Buddhist art and influence in India. [..]
These caves date from 1st century BCE to 9th century CE The earliest are 109 tiny rock-cut cells, carved into the side of a hill. Unlike the elegant splendor of Elephanta Caves nearby, these are spartan and unadorned.
[…] Kanheri caves is located deep inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park which is in Borivli East. Once you get there, you need to pay a certain entry fee at the gate. The caves are quite a distance away from the entrance, about 5 kilometres (3 mi)."
Input by: tmciolek, 24 Jan 2009

Detailed description in http://www.indianetzone.com/55/kanheri_caves.htm
Input by: tmciolek Apr 12, 2012

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 03 Jun, 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Kanheri monastery, IN.

General location of the Kanheri monastery, IN.
lat=19.207 long=72.9072
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Kanheri monastery

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • India:State of Maharashtra

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

  • [missing data]

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag: <=0200 - tmciolek 03 Jun 2013
  • <=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32p 0933-66p 0967-99p dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • The caves were active till 9th century CE - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanheri_Caves
  • The site was occupied until at least the tenth century as an inscription of that period records a donation. - Ahir (2003:194-195)
  • MBM chrono-tag: 0900-32p 0933-66p 0967-99p - tmciolek 03 Jun 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • Inscription records the visit of a Japanese monk - (Ray 1986:60).
  • Stylistical similarities with the Vajrayana stupa at Pale monastery - Mitra (1984:97)
  • Stylistical similarities with the Vajrayana stupa at Kondivte monastery - Mitra (1984:97)
  • Stylistical similarities with the Vajrayana stupa at Panhale Kaji monastery - Mitra (1984:97)

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Archaeology, inscriptions

16. Additional notes

  • Accommodations suggest 300 - 500 monks

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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