India · Mumbai

Dear Kanheri Caves,

Dear Kanheri Caves,

The monsoon Caves
The monsoon Caves

Mumbai has always been a paradox to me, and I guess anyone who has lived here will agree with me. There are of course very few places where one would find solace here. Kanheri caves would always hold a special place in special place in heart. While Mumbai is considered as the modern-day city it has Buddhist caves dating back 10 century CE. Somehow these caves still define Mumbai.

If you were to see an ancient city and Mumbai, you would understand the city is not elegant at all. It has haphazard tall skyscrapers and chaotic slums. The suburban Mumbai is filled with unplanned resident buildings. Kanheri caves too are not very elegant structures. They are made of Basalt and nothing compared to Ajanta and Ellora caves, and yet when one sees the caves, they are awestruck.

As I said earlier, Mumbai is mecca of paradigm shift. It is in this cosmopolitan city one will find a shortcut to everything. You may find a shortcut to salvation too. Very few people know that there are still people who convert to Buddhism in Mumbai. People from distant villages travel to Mumbai and convert to Buddhism. The low-caste people find a way to feel like an equal in this city. Little did Buddha know that people would find his way of living as an escape to cruelty.

Amidst the muddled sentiments Kanheri caves stands tall to anyone who seeks amity in this confused era. The caves are away from the human habitation in Sanjay Gandhi National Park. When I first went there all I could think that how can this possibly be here in this city. I climbed up the hill and looked around and I could see the deep green forest. While I ate my energy bar I finally deduced, that sometimes things go well when they are not planed. As I leave this city, I will miss this piece of heaven- a holy cave inside a jungle and amidst eleven million people.

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