Bike Trip To Karla and Bhaje Caves

Karla Caves

The Karla caves are one of the lesser known places near Pune and for history loving guys its a must visit places near to Pune. The place is hardly 65kms away from Pune while on route for Mumbai via Old Mumbai-Pune highway. Reaching there is quite easy due to the well maintained highways.Once you reach there you will hardly find any tourist crowds as it has somehow gone off the grid from the list of ‘places to visit near Pune’ . The place is so untouched that even the natives of this place are not aware of the existence of this place.

The ancient Buddhist caves here are believed to be built some 2300 years ago by the Mauryan emperor, Ashoka popularly known as “Ashoka the Great”.The Karla cave complexes have primarily two caves that are facing eastwards along with the numerous rock-cut beds,  called the viharas. In the ancient times when these caves might have been inhabited . And the viharas might have served as resting place for the Buddhist monks.The caves were made very aesthetically and the presence of numerous small waterfalls throughout the route was soothing to the eyes .

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Front view of the caves

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View of the vast fields as seen from the 1st floor of the cave complex

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The chaityas/Viharas

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BHAJE CAVES

Next Stop was at the foothills of the Bhaje caves.One has to cross over a small bridge over the New Mumbai Pune Expressway Highway to reach to the other side ,from where its hardly 4kms till the foothills of a huge rock mountain I parked my bike and went up the rock cut stairs to reach the upper region of the mountain where the caves were .The caves here were much more elaborate than the Karla caves and were quite impressive with their size and carvings on its faces.

The chaitya in cave number 12 is the biggest of all and the main attraction of the cave complex. These caves are  architecturally pretty simple though they are a work of sheer beauty. The height of the pillars at the entrance is around 5.9 meters and there are many Buddhist symbols carved beautifully on these pillars with the columns beautified and sculpted with humans and deities with animals like the bull, the horse or the elephant. The use of wood is one of the distinctive features of these caves. Some of the wooden parts, however, are now in ruins.
Below are few more picture of the cave complex.
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The pillars in the entrance

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The wood works inside

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Intrinsically carved walls

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Up close

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