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Karla And Bhaja Caves, located near Lonavala, are mainly Viharas and Chaityas.

Karla And Bhaja Caves

Karla and Bhaja Caves are located near Lonavala in Maharashtra. The Bhaja caves are regarded to be from the times of Hinayana phase of Buddhism, which is of 2nd to 1st century BC. These caves are also mainly Viharas and Chaityas and located just 3 km away from the main road amidst green surroundings. There is also a waterfall near the cave where tourists can refresh themselves with a dip. Lohagad and Visapur forts are not far from these caves.

Karla Cave is the largest Hinayana Buddhist chaitya (temple) in India built during Satavahana's rule. Karla is the best example of rock-cut architecture, which is believed to carve out from a living rock. Some of its 2000 year-old wooden beams are still alive. It takes nearly 20 minutes to climb up the steep way of the Karla caves. There is a 45 meter (148-foot) long Chaitya, possibly the finest of its kind in the country. A temple has been built recently built at the entrance using pillars from the Budhist period.

There is a sculpture of Buddha preaching seated on a lion-supported throne, which has magnificent carvings of three elephants. The pillars are adorned with motifs of elephants, men and riding women etc.

Nearest airport is at Pune, while nearest railway station is Malavli. Lonavla station, 10 km from Kalra is the most convenient base for visiting Karla and Bhaja caves.