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Karla Caves

Ray of light peeping out, all of a sudden from behind the dense leaves or drops of rainfall after a long hot spell. Perhaps one of the best experiences, which is delightful to everyone as a change from regular.

Now try to recall, when was the last time you felt elated on getting a surprise day off or just a half day off from your official duties? Most of us prefer to go home and relax or settle for an outing with family. But some out of mind boring people think of driving to some nearby locations. For a long time, I had been hearing about ancient rock cut caves near to Dolvi, which had became a weekly visit affair for me. Subconscious mind was always craving to make a trip, however business routine always used to shackle my spirits/ my legs whenever I dared thinking about to explore this spot.

One fine day, got a surprise when all the business formalities got finalized without much discussions and I realized that I have got a few hours for myself. Around 65 km. from Dolvi would have been slightly difficult on my feet or by public transport to return back by night, so requested a friend for his bike. He obliged and also informed me about the route. What a feeling it was gearing the bike🏍 after a long! My spirits, legs, hands and eyes; seemed everyone was also craving for a break. That was it; the lone ranger has started the drive to Karla Caves, the much cherished spot. 

65 km. separated me from the Karla Caves, a complex of ancient rock-cut caves located at Karli near Lonavala. It took me around 1.5 hours to reach the spot. Not just a spot, it is a grand example of Indian architecture expertise, for which even mighty mountains were just a canvas.

View from outside, for a moment turned me into Indiana Jones and so was ignited the curiosity to explore the interiors and unwind some ancient secrets – 

There is no definite information on the timelines of these caves, but believed to have carved around 2nd century BC and thereafter 5th century AD. A grand hall is the first one you come across on entering inside the caves. Large open space must have been a gathering place. This is probably the biggest temple hall I have come across in such constructions.

While walking around the place, at times I was thinking about the meeting which got concluded early and I got a chance to visit this architectural wonder. However in reality I was actually thanking the Gods for these few moments. I was feeling great, but also realizing that this is life, we should enjoy whatever we get and just forget about everything else. 

I just noticed that inside of the caves is well lit. For a moment started thinking about lighting arrangement; integrated windows ensure interiors are well lit. 

It is one of the best tourist places near to Lonavala and is also among well known historical Places to visit near Mumbai & Pune. Maintained by Archaeological Survey of India, the Cave Complex consists of 16 rock cut caves. The architecture here is not just stone cutting; the pillars are well carved.

And a full wall carving, just think how much efforts would have been out to create this masterpiece from the mountains. Remember there is no scope of error here.

Within the complex there are small rooms, probably for visiting traders or for visiting monks coming from this way.

Nearby statues of Buddha riding on elephant, point towards Buddhist connection with these caves. Buddha statue in Western region, especially in this part is surprising. 

Tried to search the probable reasons behind this, was unable to get any clear answer. However the most probable argument which seems reasonable is that this place was in the vicinity of ancient trade routes. So most likely this spot was developed as a stopover for traders and visiting Buddhist monks. Distance from the coast and crafted out of the mountain, this place served as a night stopover as well as ensured safety from robbers/ invaders. Perhaps the crafted windows also served as a watch place for the guards to keep a watch on rogue elements. 

At the entrance of the caves, is a temple dedicated to the goddess Ekveera, who is worshipped notably here.

Highways have number of eating options, so need not worry about food. I spent around 2 hours here and while returning to my accommodation in Alibaug, I was feeling awesome and as a blogger was feeling awesome to live in a country as diverse as India. May God almighty be benevolent enough on me to let me explore this great country in one lifetime.  

While scripting this article, was thinking about rich heritage of India and also post COVID we should try to nurture domestic tourism. Remember only tourism can ensure connectivity till last person in our economy. 

Keep exploring Guys. 

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