Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Thursday, December 7, 2023

Mahakali Caves




Suburbs of Mumbai hide several groups of unique monuments - ancient rock-cut temples. One of such monuments is the ancient Kondivita Caves - nowadays more often called Mahakali Caves.







"Kondivita" is more exact name - it comes from the nearby village. Name "Mahakali" in turn comes from the Hindu temple nearby - thus it is somewhat misleading regarding this ancient Buddhist monastery.


Mahakali Caves are 19 rock-cut caves built between 1st century BC and 6th century AD. They are cut in black basalt. Unfortunately this material here has not been too persistent and many of caves have collapsed. Most caves are in a low lying hill, rising just a few meters above the surroundings. Site also contains several rock-cut cisterns.






Caves form two rows - 4 caves from 4th- 5th century AD on the north-west face of long hillside and 15 caves in the south-east face.


Caves are small and for most part - very simple. Ancient dwelling of monks -viharas and cells are devoid of ornamentation. Exception though is the main shrine -chaitya - Cave IX in south-eastern group.








Source: http://www.wondermondo.com/Countries/As/India/Maharashtra/Mahakali.htm