Checking out Buddhist caves near Lonavla (Karla Caves)

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ernest Hemingway

It was two weeks after I visited Dudhsagar waterfalls with my buddy Asad. We had a hectic week and to add fuel to the fire we just had one holiday on Sunday that weekend. I was working on a task which he had to release soon and Asad was also working on an important task. We both needed a break. The traveling bug bit us again and I already had a place on my mind. I thought we’d check out two Buddhist caves near Lonavla. Karla Caves & Bhaja Caves. They both are pretty close to Malavli, which is just one stop before Lonavla. The good thing was that we didn’t have to book train tickets in advance, nor did we have to arrange a bike. Both of the places are easily accessible by auto / walking. We decided we’d hire an auto for Karla Caves and we’ll walk to Bhaja Caves. None of us had any idea how the trip would go.

The plan was to catch the 9.55 am local train to Lonavla on Sunday morning. We were going to meet at 9 am at decided spot. I reached there at decided time and waited for Asad. He said he’d be there is 5 mins. It was getting late and I was getting anxious. I kept calling him and he was not answering. It was 9.15 and I thought we’d better call it off because we might not be able reach the station in time. Finally, he showed up at 9.20 and when I asked him about what happened, he said he almost left his room and his tummy got upset 😀 We got into an auto and we told him to drive fast. Like really fast. When we reached the station, I rushed to get our tickets and Asad paid the auto guy. So, we reached the station in time, got the tickets and we literally ran to board the train. Thank god the train didn’t depart. We got a place to sit 🙂 Phew! The trip was on \m/

Because we boarded the train at the last moment, we jumped on the first coach we came across and the engine was just ahead that coach. My god, it was loud. If that wasn’t enough, there was a group behind us who started singing songs and we just wanted to get out of there. Luckily, Asad managed to borrow his friend’s DSLR cam and we experimented with it on the way to Malavli and after some time as we were about to reach there we moved to a comparatively more quiet place. We stood near the door of the coach and enjoyed the breeze. I just love those breeze moments 🙂

We reached Malavli station and from there we headed to visit Karla Caves. It is ~7 kms from there and we thought of getting into an auto. It was just two of us and we told him that we’d like to share the ride with someone else. Fortunately, we got 2 more people real quick and we were off to Karla Caves. The guy dropped us at the base from where we’d have to trek all the way up to the caves. It didn’t seem like much distance from the base. We started walking and within a short span of time we realized it was not getting easier. It was an uphill road, but it was sunny and humid that time, so our energy was getting drained faster than we thought. However, we kept trekking and on the way up we just made one or two halts to click some pics. We hoped for some clouds and within minutes there were not only clouds, but the rain too! Mother nature never misses an opportunity to surprise us, does it? Well, time to put our raincoats on.

As it was Sunday, there were a lot of people visiting to the caves that day. On the way we had to find make ways through traffic. However, we made it. After trekking for about half an hour or so we reached the caves. There is also a temple at the top and there was a big queue outside. We just wanted to check out the caves, so we went there, spent a lot of time clicking pics and also rested for a while. Have a look at the pics.

We trekked this mountain. The caves are somewhere on the other side of it.

Let the trekking begin!

Why so serious?

Taking a look behind while trekking. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Green is good 🙂

A small waterfall outside the caves.

The temple outside the caves.

Carvings at the entrance.

Identify the object 😉 That’s a pillar near the entrance.

The main cave features a large, intricately carved chaitya, or prayer hall, dating back to the 1st century BC.

Zooming in. This is among the largest rock-cut chaityas in India, measuring 45 metres (148 ft) long and up to 14 metres (46 ft) high.


That moment when you get a crowded place empty for a while ;)

That moment when you get a crowded place empty for a while 😉

I guess it must have been after 1.30 pm and we were still at Karla because it was raining heavily outside. We wanted to leave as soon as possible so that we could visit Bhaja caves and return to Pune in time. We decided to leave when the rain almost stopped. We took a different route while returning from Karla. It was better than the one we took in the morning. We were climbing down the steps and we didn’t have to put a lot of effort. We sort of ran while came down the stairs and it was fun. You should definitely try it (at your own risk :P).

Then we went to Bhaja caves. Continue reading.


3 thoughts on “Checking out Buddhist caves near Lonavla (Karla Caves)

  1. Pingback: Goodbye 2014! Thanks for all the awesomeness :) | Jay Shah – Musings & Memoirs

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