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Karla Caves In Lonavala

Karla Caves in Lonavala, Maharashtra

Stroll along the shores of the mesmerising Karla Caves

Tourism in Lonavala

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Best time to visit
Oct - Feb
Ideal Duration
4-5 Days
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Starting from
Rs. 3,500
  • Fun & adventure
  • Ideal for friends
  • Nature

About Karla Caves in Lonavala

Karla Caves, also known as Karli Caves, Karla Cells or Karle Caves, are found near Lonavala in Maharashtra. Karla Caves are a group or complex of Buddhist Indian rock-cut caves which were discovered during an ancient time. These caves are located at a close proximity to Lonavala, at Karla which is only 10.9 kms from here. The shrines present at the caves were discovered during a period of time - from 2nd century BCE to the 5th century CE. The oldest cave shrine in Karla caves is believed to be discovered during the 160th BCE. It is also one of the most popular shrines because it arose adjacent to a significant trade route. Some of the other famous caves in Lonavala include Bhaja Caves, Patan Buddhist Cave, Bedse Caves and Nasik Caves.

About Karla Caves

A particular group of caves at Karla is believed to be one of the smaller and older of the other rock-cut caves found in Maharashtra. However, it is believed that due to “Grand Chaitya” the caves are more famous. Grand Chaitya is famous as the largest and preserved chaitya hall during the 5th century BCE. During the construction of Karla Caves, many prominent traders and Satavahana kings made significant contribution by offering the grants needed for the same. One of the most interesting facts about the caves is its location. Karla Buddha Caves are located at Karli which is the border between North and South India.

History of the Karla Caves 

The Karla Caves were constructed over two periods - the first phase from 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD while the second phase was from 5th century AD to 10th century. It is believed that the cave was created through a single design only. The rest of three excavations belonged to the Mahayana phase. Local residents and common people donated money for the construction of the Karla Caves. Some of the individuals have been mentioned on the inscriptions found in the Karla Caves. They are named Vejamti, Sopara, Munakata and Dhenukakata. 

Significance of Karla Caves

When the Buddhists became familiar about trade and commerce, they tended to situate these caves or monastic complexes near ideal geographic location which is also closer to the important trade routes. This is how trade flourished through Karla caves in Maharashtra. At present, the complex of the cave complex comes under the authority of Archaeological Survey of India.

Architecture of Karla Caves

Karla Caves constitute of 16 rocks-cut excavations, out of which eight caves are the Chaitya Grihas.

These Caves are grand in structure and bear one of the most magnificent and largest Chaitya Grihas in India.

The largest cave among the other Karla caves is 37.87 m deep from front door to its rear, 13.87 m in width and 14.02 in height.

A number of marvelous rock-cut columns with embellishments adorn this cave while the intricate carvings add a dash of culture to it.

Just behind the alley, you will find several columns which further form a semi-circular ceiling. This is also the prime object of worship here.

Activities Around Karla Caves 

An exemplary architecture of the Buddhist rock-cut caves, the Karla Caves remain one of the most important heritage spots for our tourism. Take a walking tour to explore. 

The Karla Caves are believed to be carved from living rocks. Hence, tourists can climb up these Karla caves as a part of activity here. 

Take a tour of Pavana Lake, Lohagad Fort, Lion’s Pont, Bhaja Caves, Narayani Dham Temple, Lonavala lake and Tiger’s Leap which are easily accessible from here. 

Highlights of Karla Caves

The main cave has a chaitya hall with 37 octagonal pillars and a base of water jar. 

There are beautifully decorated sculptures of men, women and animals in the caves. 

These sculptures are an important feature because they are made up of teak wood. 

An Ashoka pillar is seen at the front side enclosed by a stone façade and Tirana in between. 

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    FAQ's of Lonavala

    Read on to find out why our customers love us!

    How do I reach Karla caves?

    You can reach Karla caves from Lonavala as it is the nearest railway station to go to Karla Caves by public transport. From Lonavala railway station, take a local bus or hire an auto to directly reach Karla.

    How many steps are there in Karla caves?

    There are a total of 350 steps in Karla Caves. You have to climb these steps to reach the Karla caves from the starting point of the hill. Halfway trip comprises of only 200 steps.

    Who built Karla caves?

    Karla Caves were built during a period of time - from 2nd century BCE to the 5th century CE. Karla caves date back to the rock-cut caves of Buddhist origin which are located in Lonavala, Maharashtra.

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