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Karla Travel Guide

KalraThe Buddhist Karla caves lie in the western ghats, about 114 kms. Away from Mumbai. They were carved out almost 2,000 years ago - and have a large collection of Chaityas ( halls ). Although as exquisite as the more famous Ajanta and Ellora caves, these caves are less crowded and make for an extremely pleasant outing. While at karla, the bhaja and Bedsa caves are worth a detour. The beautifully carved and Vikaras ( monasteries ) take you on a journey back in time, narrating stories of the past.

The Karla caves are centuries old and probably have the largest collection of Chaityas. The caves with viharas were excavated for the Buddhist monks, who used to gather here during the monsoons, Built in the time of the Hinayana sect, during the Satavahanas rules, these caves do not actually show the Buddha. A steep 350- step climb leads to the caves . At the entrance is a recently built temple; accompanied by a pillar from the Buddhist period. The façade of the caves is formed by carved temple screens, sculpted with railing ornaments and human couples. Outer and inner screens form an antechamber to the main cave.

The panels of the wooden doors an windows are finely decorated with intricate sculptures of couples embracing. You will also come across a 45-metres (148-foot) long Chaitya, possibly the finest of its kind in the country. By the seventh century AD, the Mahayana sect took over and representations of the Buddha became more common. By the central doorway,Kalra you'll find sculptures of the Buddha preaching while seated on a lion-supported throne, along with magnificent carvings of three elephants. On each side, fifteen pillars separate the narrow aisles from the central arch. The pillars are adorned with motifs of elephants, men and women riding, etc. All three caves also abound with finely carved Viharas and Chaityas.

Places of Interest:
A few kilometers away, are two ruined forts . Lohaghad - the Lorn Fort and Vispur . Both forts are 18th century structures with splendid views. Two popular hill-stations (Khandala & Lonavala) are also located close by.

Lonavala Points :
The Lonavala Lake, Bushi Dam, Tiger's Leap, Barometer Hill are a must-see, if you do make it to Lonavala. The Valvan Dam is lovely for an evening stroll with its picturesque garden and wonderful view. Another beautiful spot is Tungarli Lake, 3 kms. Away from the station. On the way out, be sure to pick up some of Lonavala's trademark chikki ( a local sweet.)

KalraKhandala Points :
Famous points at Khandala are Rajmachi Point and Duke's Nose (named after the Duke of Wellington, for its uncanny resemblance to his nose). Halfway between Khandala and Lonavala, on the highway, in Kune Point. Another breathtaking view on offer.

Kurla Travel Info:

Climate : Kerla enjoys a pleasant climate all round the year.
Language Spoken : Marathi, Hindi and English.
What to Wear : Comfortable casual wear, like loose cottons. Although during winters, warm clothing is preferable. Swimming costumes are recommended for people indulging in water sports.

Places of Interest: Water Sports, Khandala, Lonavala , Lohaghad.





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