Aug 8, 2013

India hosts nearly immense wealth of ancient rock-cut architecture for diverse tastes. One of the best is located in Karla Caves. This is one of the must see places to visit near Lonavala, also known as Karle caves.
If you are coming by road from Pune, you have to follow below route:
Pune (A) - NH4 - Khamshet - Malavali (Just before Lonavala) - Karli village - Karla Caves
If you are coming by road from Mumbai, you have to follow below route:
Mumbai (E) - Navi Mumbai - Follow Pune Mumbai expressway - Khandala (D) - Lonavala (C) - Malavali - Karli - Karla Caves (B)

Karla Caves Map
Train transport is cheaper either coming from Pune or Mumbai. Pune to Lonavala local train time table can be checked here. Lonavala to Pune local train time table can be checked here. 

We opted for train travel from Pune railway station to Malavali railway station. From Malavali railway station we traveled up-to the tail of Karla caves by auto-rickshaw @ INR 100. Though one can drive up-to the midpoint of the Karla caves up-to the parking area; well maintained staircase is always a preferred option in light drizzle. There are number of small shops, restaurants, bhutta (corn) and tea stalls throughout the trek. 

With my new SLR, I could not resist from capturing colorful bangles, hanging bottles, lovely garlands, hens, panoramic views of mountains and lush green grounds and whichever beautiful thing fell on the way. And it did not end there, we could also capture a few human faced and animal shaped rocks. These caves are declared by the Archaeological Survey of India as a National Monument.

It resides on a high spur of the chain of hills on north flank of Indrayani valley and approx 8 km away from the sister Bhaja caves towards south. As you enter the cave, you will find yourself near the Karla falls. Not to mention, it is possible only during monsoons! Some people also bathe and enjoy in this waterfall, but one should be very cautious, as some of the rocks become very much slippery. During monsoon, there are numerous waterfalls in the entire belt, thus making enough spots for people to stop by. The group of Karla includes total 16 excavations (One is Chaityagriha and 15 are Viharas) depicting artistic embellishment of Hinayana and Mahayana sects of Buddhism. Detailed information about Karla Caves can be found near Notice Board where we pay entrance fees.

Karla Caves Timings and Fees: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  
Indian: 5 INR; Foreign Nationals: 100 INR

Lion sculptures in top of pillar in front of chaitya, just look amazing. The hall features beautifully en-carved sculptures of people from ancient times along with royal animals - lions and elephants. There is a stupa and one can notice some interesting carvings inside the caves. The inner frontage has the sun window, ornamental arcades and sculptures, marks the culmination of the Himalaya type of Chaitya Hall. The figures of Buddha carved in relief belong to the later mahayana phase. The hall is divided into a nave and tow aisles by two rows of pillars. Inside the cave are carved a number of inscription records in Brahmi characters giving the names of donors who contributed for the excavation of this cave.

Ekveera Mata Prashannav:
Some space outside is occupied by a temple dedicated to the goddess Ekveera, where villagers and many visitors worship daily. It seems like during festive season, it attracts quite a crowd, handled in a big queue.

One can visit Karla and Bhaja Caves in a single day. In splendor these caves can be compared to Ajanta and Ellora caves but are much less popular – thus visit here is pleasant due to less crowds specially during monsoon.

Chasing the monsoon...

Other caves to visit in Maharashtra:

Worldwide famous Ajanta and Ellora caves near Aurangabad - Daulatabad
Monsoon visit to Bhaja Caves near Bhaje Village 
Lenyadri Caves near Junnar - one of the Ashtavinayak Ganpati


  1. nice info. ok place, but only good place to visit during raining season.

  2. Nothing like old world charm !

  3. Thanks for putting so much information about places near Mumbai. I love your blog. Every time I see, I found something new. Keep writing and keep helping.

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