Shivneri Caves

Shivneri
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Shivneri caves on top of the Shivneri Hill in the Junnar region of Maharashtra are believed to have been built between 1st and 3rd century AD. Out of the 200 or more caves that are located there, 50 turn out to be temples. However, for the sake of identification, these caves have been segregated into four basic groups – the Tulja Lena, Lenyadri, Manmod and the Shivneri caves. The last group, the Shivneri caves are located on the south-eastern side of the hill. Although most of the cave temples were created according to the Hinayan Buddhist tradition, some also contain images of Hindu deities of Lord Ganesha and Devi Durga.


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Technically, you could visit the caves throughout the year. But it is still advisable to avoid the monsoon because you have to go in and out of the caves all the time in the rains.

How to Reach

Bus
Regular bus services from Mumbai and Pune till Narayangaon
Train
Air
Car

Shivneri caves on top of the Shivneri Hill in the Junnar region of Maharashtra are believed to have been built between 1st and 3rd century AD. Out of the 200 or more caves that are located there, 50 turn out to be temples. However, for the sake of identification, these caves have been segregated into four basic groups – the Tulja Lena, Lenyadri, Manmod and the Shivneri caves. The last group, the Shivneri caves are located on the south-eastern side of the hill. Although most of the cave temples were created according to the Hinayan Buddhist tradition, some also contain images of Hindu deities of Lord Ganesha and Devi Durga.

 

The first group of caves consists of 12 caves that are located in the lower region of the hill and mostly consist of Viharas or monasteries. Some also contain cells that were used as living quarters for the Buddhist monks. The second group consists of 25 caves, some of which appear to have served two purposes – the upper floor was used for residence, while the lower level was used as cattle pen. Most of these caves have verandahs that provide a stunning view of the nearby surroundings.

 

The third group consists of 6 caves that are located on the western-most part of the Shivneri hill. They mostly contain prehistoric paintings. Some of these caves were also used as water reservoirs for the monks. The fourth group is interesting both from archaeological and religious angle. Cave 44 for instance clearly indicates that it was a Buddhist shrine which had subsequently been turned into a Hindu sanctuary, complete with images of Bramha, Vishnu, Saraswati and Shiva-Parvati.

 

These caves are very close to Mumbai and Pune, and so, could be a perfect getaway for any weekend.

 

How to reach: If you are driving from Pune, then you must take the route through Nasik Phata and Narayangaon. And from Mumbai, go through Kalyan, Malshej Ghat and Junnar. There is an unpaved road that can take you to these caves. There are both private and state buses that can take you close to these caves.

 

These caves are very close to Pune, and so most visitors prefer to stay in the city. You should do this as well. You won’t find any decent hotels in Shivneri caves, resorts in Shivneri caves or cottages in Shivneri caves. There is just a government rest house.

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