Roadtrip to Karla Caves, Lonavla

During our recent stay at Hilton Shillim Resort near Lonavla, we visited the ancient Buddhist Karla caves. It is located on top of a hill in Karli, which is about 15 minutes drive from Lonavla town.

Karla Caves

Karla CavesAlthough the hill was easy to find (thanks to Google Maps), our heart was in our mouth as we drove up the steep narrow road leading to the hill. It was then followed by climbing up about 400 steps to reach the hilltop. As we reached the top we were huffing and puffing but the first glimpse of the magnificent caves made us completely forget about our troubles.

The balcony like structures on the cave wall

The balcony like structures on the cave wall

Stone carving outside the viharas

Stone carving outside the viharas

The Karla caves are ancient stone cut caves, considered to be one of the oldest in India dating back to 2nd century BC. The cave exterior has a number of small balconies like structures, which are the viharas, designed for the Buddhist monks to reside and meditate. The small caves of the viharas have multiple pillars and one can walk around the open space to have a closer look at the carvings. However, it was disappointing to see that the stairs leading to the balcony was closed for public viewing.

Outer facade of the Chaityagruha

Outer facade of the Chaityagruha

Pillars inside the prayer hall

Pillars inside the prayer hall

Karla Caves

Karla Caves

The Chaityagruha

The Chaityagruha

Wooden ribs on the ceiling of the prayer hall

Wooden ribs on the ceiling of the prayer hall

The Stupa

The Stupa

The main arch

The main arch

Karla Caves

Ancient inscriptions

Ancient inscriptions

The other part of the cave comprises of Chaithyagruha, which is large prayer hall with a Stupa located in the centre surrounded by carved pillars forming an apse. The hall is one of the largest Chaithyas in India and gives a clear picture of the remarkable designs of the ancient Indian architecture. The ceiling of the hall has natural curved wooden ribs forming a beautiful sight alongside with the semicircular room. The external façade has a large pillar with lion carving on one side and a Hindu Ekavira Temple on other.Karla Caves

Carving on the outer wall of the Chaityagruha

Carving on the outer wall of the Chaityagruha

Karla Caves

Karla Caves

Karla Caves

Karla Caves

View from the Top

View from the Top

Karla CavesWith not many visitors to the caves, we were able to walk around the cave premises in a leisure pace and experience tranquil atmosphere of the place.

Entry to the cave costs INR 5/person for Indians and INR 100/person for foreigners.

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5 Comments

  1. July 8, 2015    

    Thanks for these wonderful photos – they helped me to refresh my memories from the trip to Lonavla.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      July 9, 2015    

      Hi Antonina, Lonavla is a beautiful place. We are glad that our post brought back the fond memories from your trip

  2. July 22, 2015    

    wow Beautfiul caves

    Ananya Fashions and More

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      July 23, 2015    

      Thank u Ananya 🙂

  3. September 18, 2015    

    You gave a lovely tour of the caves(:… I am amazed they got these worship places inside caves… good you saw a glimpse of history here… its odd to see they were free those days… they had no need to wear cloths, it’s odd to see them now… but nice carvings… and I can imagine the road trip on the mountain where your heart was on yer mouth(:

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