On a drive from Mumbai to Lonavala, we unexpectedly discovered this small hidden gem, Karla Caves. This wasn’t really on our plan and neither we knew much about it, but in hindsight I am so glad we made this decision and today I am writing about it on my blog. This is part of a road trip I did with my colleagues back in India, we love driving in monsoons when the Konkan coast looks absolutely green and stunning.
Karla Caves are rock-cut caves dating back to 1st to 2nd century B.C. They have records of a Buddhist monastery here. The entrance of the caves has a large arch window and some beautifully sculpted walls and ceiling.
The main cave is called Grand Chaitya with a large prayer hall. Its a fine piece of architecture with tall columns and sculptures on top of it of men, women, animals . The arches of the hall is its main highlight giving it a grand and somewhat illusionary look.
The ceiling is carved out of teak wood and it is absolutely stunning.
Karla is a small hamlet, over 2 hours from Mumbai. You can easily locate it on the Mumbai-Pune expressway near Lonavala. There is a car park available, however the caves are at an altitude. You will have to climb up 350 steps. We were all fit enough to do this, enroute the steps we bought Indian sweets and kept our sugar levels exceptionally high. There is a temple adjacent to the caves, called Ekvira Temple, which is also worth a visit. Rather most of the crowd scaling up the hill are for the temple than the caves.
While we spent barely 30-45 min in the caves, as there was nothing much to see other than the prayer hall and some nice views from the first floor, it was a small yet powerful surprise for us. I love architecture, so it was definitely a very interesting location and a great find for anyone looking for weekend break options from Mumbai or Pune