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Maharashtra: The Karla Caves
Karla Caves, about 11 km away from Lonavala, on NH-4, can be accessed by climbing 365 stairs. The prime entrance of the cave is located at an elevation of 500 meters.
Even 160 years before the birth of the Christ’s child, the Buddha Chaitya, the rock-cut Cave, at an altitude of 650 meters, was carved for Buddhist monks by Bhutpal. It’s said to be a Hinjan Buddhist cave.
The best and exquisite enticement of the cave is its 16 meters tall Chaitya Hall (45*15). It’s an ancient evidence of excellent architectures and pretty carvings. It’s also the largest of all the Buddha chaityas of India. The three lion idols, on a pillar, placed right at the grand entrance of the cave, had been constructed even before carving the cave.
All the 37 pillars inside the cave depict an impressive architectural flair and panache. Two elephants are residing on their knees atop the pillar. Idols of women and men are also engraved artistically and creatively on the walls of the cave. The cave roof was made up of Segun wood. Sunlight use to come inside through windows and illuminate the entire cave. The well-thought-out architectures and plans behind the construction, surprise even the modern architects. Besides the idols of human beings and a colossal elephant, other pretty idols are engraved on the walls as well. The deity, Buddha of 5th century, is residing in the cave.
The deity, Shri Ekvira is protecting the cave residing right at the entrance of the newly built cave. The ambiance around, however, has affected the grandeur of the entire area of the caves. According to a very old ritual, devotees who visit the spot to watch the holy facade of the deity, dedicate nuts to her while worshiping and ask for her blessings. It is believed that pilgrims get the answer from the deity then and there.
Not many still know about the solemnity and splendors of Karla. Hence, 10 other captivating caves are still away from the usual limelight. 2 of these caves are 3 storied where as another one is 2 storied. Tourists mostly assemble on the premise from Mumbai and Pune in weekends. Many love this place as a fastidious picnic spot.
Plenty of novice rock climbers congregate here to learn their lessons on rock climbing, thanks to the initiative of the Maharashtra Tourism.
For enjoying boating, amidst wonderful natural settings, visit the lake, located in the middle of the resort. For a charming experience watch the sumptuousness of the natural locale around thoroughly.
How to reach: The nearest railway station of Karla is Malavali, about 4 km away from Karla. But, getting a vehicle from Malavali to Karla would be difficult. Hence, it is advisable to visit Karla from Lonavala. Buses to Karla are available from Lonavala railway station.
Where to stay: Peshwa Holiday Resort, Holiday Resort, Rest House and Hotel Karla.
Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.