Saturday, June 29, 2013

Karla caves, ancient Buddhist rock-cut caves, India

Prayer hall 
Tucked away a midst the beautiful sylvan hills near Lonavla, Maharashtra, are the Karla caves dating back to the 2nd century BC to the 6th-7th century AD. This cave overlooks the Indrayani valley.
There used to be a monastery in the Karla cave complex dating back to the 2nd century BC. In the complex there are viharas or places where monks lived. The artistic decoration of the caves is of the Hinayana and Mahayana sect of Buddhism.

It is a modest climb to the cave and well worth it. On the way to the cave, you will come across waterfalls, and the view from the top is absolutely amazing. The cave has a huge prayer hall where the Stupa is situated and there is a veranda in the front. There are beautiful sculptures of men, women, and animals in the cave.

The most interesting part of the caves is that the roof of the hall is fitted with actual wooded ribs. And the wood is absolutely intact!

Donations and support from many individuals, a prince of a Marathi family, merchants, monks, nuns, and other lay people, helped in setting up this complex.

View from the caves
Entrance to the Karla

To the prayer hall
Prayer hall with
the Stupa

Sculptures on the
Pillars inside the prayer hall

Inscription on the wall
Sculptures on the walls
of the veranda

Living quarters
of the monks
Sculptures in the
living quarters


magiceye said...

Nice post about an amazing place!

Arun Prasath said...

Prayer hall of the cave is really superb.

A small suggestion - The "Label" widget you use on your blog is looking to be a long list & is making the readers not to reach the "subscription" and "Blog Archive" widget which is really a needed one to get more traffic to your blog. You can remove the labels widget. :)

Malini said...

Yay! Been here on a rainy day! Mesmerising place.

Sabyasachi Patra | Tales from Wild India said...

Interesting reading. Nice to see some inscriptions and artwork in the cave. I haven't been there, may be sometime will go there.

Krishna Rao said...

Close to the Karla caves are the Bhaja and betva caves also. They are on the east side of Malavali station. Karla is on the west. The climb to these is steep and slightly tough. hardly anyone goes there but its worth visiting someday.

Rajesh said...

You have covered it beautifully,

Ranjana Jha said...

Thanks so much @ Rajesh, @magiceye, @Malini, Yes it is a lovely place especially during monsoons, @Sabyasachi, you must visit this place, you will like it.

@Krishna Rao, I went to Bhaja caves as well but not the betva caves, my next post will have the Bhaja caves.

@ Arun, thanks so much for your feedback. I have been thinking of de-cluttering this blog. You motivated me to remove the labels:)