Welcome to Mandapeshwar Caves, the hidden gem of Mumbai located in the bustling suburb of Borivali West. These ancient rock-cut shrines are a testament to the rich history and cultural diversity of India. And let me tell you, there is more to these caves than just their impressive architecture and carvings!
Built in the 8th century CE by Buddhist monks, the Mandapeshwar Caves were originally used as viharas, or monastic dwellings, and served as a hub for trade and religious activities in the region. These caves were a popular resting point for travellers and merchants, who were greeted with warm hospitality and teachings of Gautama Buddha by the monks residing there. Sounds like a pretty chill place to hang out, right?
But as the centuries passed, the caves underwent a transformation. Hindu gods and goddesses like Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, and Vishnu started to appear in the carvings and sculptures within the caves, indicating that the caves had been taken over by the Hindus. Later on, the caves were left deserted and were even used as a burial ground by the Portuguese.
Fast forward to the 20th century, the Mandapeshwar Caves were rediscovered and designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Today, they are a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who are drawn to the caves’ rich history, stunning architecture, and spiritual energy.
So if you’re looking for a dose of ancient history and spiritual rejuvenation, head on over to Mandapeshwar Caves.
Just be prepared for a bit of a trek to get there! But trust us, it’s totally worth it. And who knows, maybe you’ll even run into some chill monks or travelling traders along the way.