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Mumbai's Kanheri Caves get touristic upgrade, including ‘interpretation centre’

Meanwhile, the ASI is also working on a 3D virtual tour of the entire monastic complex
Last Updated : 16 May 2022, 13:15 IST

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A group of tourist amenities at Kanheri Caves was inaugurated on Monday by Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of the North Eastern Region G Kishan Reddy. The inauguration coincided with the occasion of Buddha Purnima.

Kanheri, which has over 100 caves, comes under the purview Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Among the various facilities inaugurated is an Interpretation Centre, which would facilitate visitors’ engagement.

Apart from that, existing buildings such as the visitors' pavilion, custodian quarters, and booking office have been upgraded and refurbished. Landscaping has been done along the area from booking counter to custodian quarters. The upgraded tourist infrastructure at Kanheri has been, in part, provided by the Indian Oil Foundation that has entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the ASI.

Meanwhile, the ASI is also working on a 3D virtual tour of the entire monastic complex.

Kanheri Caves are located deep inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and are one of the major tourist attractions on the outskirts of Mumbai. Chiselled out of a massive basalt rock outcrop, the cave complex demonstrates Buddhist style of art and architecture.

The caves contain Buddhist sculptures and relief carvings, paintings and inscriptions dating from 1st century CE up to 10th century CE. Chinese Buddhist monk and traveller Xuanzang is said to have briefly stayed at Kanheri.

Kanheri comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Krishnagiri’, which means black mountain.

“Kanheri Caves are part of our ancient heritage as they provide evidence of evolution and our past. It is a privilege to inaugurate the works that have been carried out on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. Buddha’s message is relevant even today in addressing challenges such as conflict and climate change,” Reddy said in his inauguration address.

The minister, in his address, also emphasised that it was citizens’ moral responsibility to contribute to the preservation of India’s rich historical heritage.

As the caves fall in the core area of the forest, electricity and water supply are not available. However, arrangements for electricity have been made available through solar energy sources.

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Published 16 May 2022, 13:15 IST

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