(Last Updated on : 03-04-2015)
Karla Caves are another section of caves that are located in the mountain
ranges of Lonavala hills near Mumbai
. These are popularly known for rock- cut architecture
and temples. Karla caves are the oldest and well maintained caves of Buddhist tradition which have been one of the important tourist spots of Mumbai. The Karla Caves have also been one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in India
. With their unique features, these caves include a prayer hall which is common in all the Buddhist monasteries of India. As one of oldest historical sites in India, it attracts a number of tourists every year.
Location of Karla Caves
The caves are located at the centre of the mountain range. They are situated in between Mumbai and Pune
. They are 120 kms from Mumbai and 55 kms from Pune and are easily accessible by train. The ancient Karla caves are one of the popular tourist sites of Mumbai which are closely situated with three hill stations of Mumbai namely Lonavala, Khandala and Matheran.
Architecture of Karla Caves
Karla Caves as mentioned earlier are one of the oldest caves of Buddhist period. The Karla Caves had been one of the important centers of spiritual growth and education
. These caves include one principle cave that is 15 km wide and 16km high. Decorated with well carved sculptures of male and females, these caves define Buddhist art in India. Along with this, it also includes the sculptures of some animals
. These are among the oldest caves of India which are saved from weather erosion. This maintains the sculptures of the cave in a better condition. Apart from other features, these caves are also popular for the arched roof which is supported by the wooden beams which has survived for the last 2000 years. The entrance of the cave is well decorated with choicest pillars with sculptures along with lion capitals which are similar to the lions of Ashokan pillars of Sarnath
. At the entrance of the cave there is the temple of Goddess
Ekveera which is considered to be a popular local pilgrimage. Karla caves also include a wooden umbrella which has been unique in these caves.