Most Mumbaikars would have heard of Kanheri caves in Borivali , however , the name Mandapeshwar will probably draw a blank .
Hidden in a nook near Mount Poinsur in Borivali , these 8th centruy rock-cut shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva tell a story of a tumultous past. Hindu figurines plastered over by the Portuguese to convert it into a chapel only to be again desecrated after the Portuguese were vanquished in the Battle of Bassein by the Marathas.
When the British took over , the caves once again became a centre for Christian worship and finally with the end of the colonial rule, the worhsip of Lord Shiva was restored.
The current state of the caves is pitiful. Poorly maintained , reeking neglect , the caves are a forgotten legacy . Crores of rupees designated to restore the caves to their past glory have vanished in thin air , leaving Mandapeshwar to disintegrate and gradually disappear.
Corruption, political conflicts , public apathy and an insane number of unecessary malls mushrooming in the city…..heritage doesn’t seem to stand a chance.