The state of Maharashtra has some of the most well-known Buddhist cave-temples in the world. Among the many such places that tourists can visit during a holiday India are Kanheri Caves, numbering 109. Studies have suggested that they were excavated from the 3rd century BC onwards and people lived there till at least 11th century AD. These sites are of two types: chaitya griha, serving as Buddhist temples and viharas, acting as the residence of the monks. Inside these excavated chambers are various inscriptions, mentioning cities, such as Sopara, Nasik, Chemula, Amaravati, Dhanyakataka and Kalyan.
Most of the rock-cut chambers are small and contain a single room, approachable through a pillared verandah. Many of them are simply built, containing a carved cistern where water was stored and their wall and pillars do not contain any paintings or decorative carvings. Site number 3 is the grandest in the complex and has a spacious hall, containing a stupa in the centre, a balcony and an open courtyard in the front. The central hall is divided into a big room and galleries by a row of 34 pillars. A barrel-vaulted ceiling tops the room, while the ceilings of the galleries are plain. There are three doors into this temple and on the walls between them are carvings, depicting two human couples. A window, with no decorations, allows sunlight to come inside and illuminate the interior walls, containing sculptures of Lord Buddha and other divine saints.
Cave number 11 has a balcony in the front and a hall inside that further consists of a shrine on the rear wall and cells on the sides. Here, tourists will see rock benches, a seated idol of the primary deity and four inscriptions from various periods. Avalokitesvara is the other deity, whose sculptures can be seen inside the caves. In one of them, he is depicted as teaching his devotees and another statue shows him with 4 arms and 11 heads. Travellers who want to come here will get the option for booking cheap holiday packages in India available with tour agencies or online.