If you are looking for a place to explore the ancient history and culture of India, you should visit the Karla Caves. The Karla Caves are a group of rock-cut Buddhist monuments located in the Karla hills near Lonavala in Maharashtra. They date back to the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD and are among the oldest and finest examples of Indian rock-cut architecture. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Karla Caves, including their location, timing and entry fees, how to reach them, things to do and see, their significance, and some frequently asked questions. Visit during Mumbai to Lonavala One day trip by cab
Karla Caves Location, Timing and Entry Fees
The Caves are situated about 12 km from Lonavala, a popular hill station in Maharashtra. They are easily accessible by road and rail from Mumbai and Pune. The caves are open to visitors from 9 am to 5 pm every day except Mondays. The entry fee is Rs. 25 for Indian citizens and Rs. 300 for foreign nationals. There is also a parking fee of Rs. 10 for two-wheelers and Rs. 50 for four-wheelers.
How to Reach Karla Caves
The best way to reach the Karla Caves is by car or taxi from Lonavala or Pune. You can also take a local bus from Lonavala or Pune that stops near the caves. Alternatively, you can take a train from Mumbai or Pune to Malavli station, which is about 3 km from the caves. From there, you can hire an auto-rickshaw or walk to the caves.
Things to Do / Must See Karla Caves
The main attraction of the Karla Caves is the Great Chaitya, which is the largest and most impressive cave in the complex. It is a hall with a vaulted roof that houses a stupa (a dome-shaped structure that contains relics of Buddha or other saints). The hall is decorated with carved pillars, sculptures, and paintings that depict scenes from the life of Buddha and his teachings. The hall also has a large wooden arch that is said to be the oldest surviving wooden structure in India.
Another must-see cave is Cave 10, which is also known as the Vishvakarma Cave or the Carpenter’s Cave. It is a smaller hall with a flat roof that has a carved image of Buddha in the center. The cave is named after Vishvakarma, the divine architect of Hindu mythology, who is believed to have carved the cave with his own hands.
Other caves in the complex include Cave 3, which has a shrine dedicated to the goddess Ekveera; Cave 8, which has a circular chamber with a stupa; and Cave 9, which has a small hall with a stupa and sculptures of elephants.
Apart from exploring the caves, you can also enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding hills and valleys from the top of the hill. You can also visit the nearby Bhaja Caves and Bedse Caves, which are similar in style and age to the Karla Caves.
Significance of Karla Caves
The Karla Caves are not only a marvel of art and architecture but also a testimony of the rich history and culture of India. They reflect the religious diversity and tolerance of ancient India, as they were built by different sects of Buddhism and Hinduism over centuries. They also showcase the influence of trade and commerce on Indian art and culture, as they were located along an ancient trade route that connected India with Central Asia and Europe. The Karla Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national monument of India.
How old are the Karla Caves?
The Karla Caves are estimated to be around 2200 years old. They were built between the 2nd century BC and the 5th century AD by various dynasties such as the Satavahanas, the Kshaharatas, and the Guptas.
Who built the Karla Caves?
The Karla Caves were built by different groups of people who followed different sects of Buddhism and Hinduism. Some of the caves were built by monks and nuns who lived in them as places of worship and meditation. Some of the caves were built by merchants and traders who donated money and materials for their construction as an act of piety and charity.
What is special about the Karla Caves?
The Karla Caves are special because they are one of the oldest and finest examples of Indian rock-cut architecture. They have exquisite carvings, sculptures