The Enchanting ” KARLA CAVES” …
Karla, Ancient named as “Valuraka”, is oneof the most famous centers of early rock-cut architecture excavated about 100Mtrs. on a high spur of the chain of hills on North Flank of Indrayani valley & just 8km away from another Buddhist rock cut caves of Bhaja towards south.
Located in Karli near Lonavala,Maharashtra, the caves are on a major ancient trade route, running eastward from the Arabian sea into the Deccan. Karli’s location in Maharashtra places it in a region that is the division between North India and south India.
Buddhism, having become identified with commerce and manufacturing through their early association with traders, tended to locate their monastic establishes in natural areas close to major trade routes so as to provide lodging houses for travelling traders.
This complex of well-preserved, Theravada Buddhist caves is built on the difficult terrain of a rocky hillside. The complex also happens to be one of the finest examples of the ancient rock-cut caves found in India. The large Karla caves were excavated by hewing out the rock. Great windows light the interiors.
The main cave has a magnificent Chaitya with huge pillars and intricately carved relief’s dating back to the 1st century B.C. There are well carved sculptures of both males and females (see picture), as well as animals, including lions and elephants (see picture), a testimony to the skill of the artisan builders. Within the complex are a great many other magnificently carved prayer halls or chaityas as well as viharas or dwelling places for the monks. A feature of these caves is their arched entrances and vaulted interiors. Built in the time of the Theravada Buddhists, these caves do not actually show the image of Buddha. The outside facade has intricate details carved to imitate finished wood. The central motif is a large horseshoe arch. There is a lion column in front, with a closed stone facade and torana in between.
During this period it is likely that thousands of caves like Karla were excavated in the Sayadhari Hills.
Karla caves, 11 km off Lonavla, house a monastery dating back to 2nd century BC. The monastery was once home to two 15-meter grand pillars. Now only one of these exists and the remaining space is occupied by a temple dedicated to goddess” Ekaveera.”
The group of karls includes 16 excavations depicting artistic emblishment of Hinayan(theravada) and Mahayan sects of Buddhism prevailed from 2nd century B.C. to to 6th-7th century AD.Of them one is chaityagrah & rest15 are Viharas
It can be seen that people have written their names on the walls ..which damages our historical heritage…
This is the entrance or we can say “Verandha” of th main structure(above).
The carvings depict ancient lifestyle of people…..
In the vicinity:
The place actually is famous for Ekveera Temple (ekveera devi)..ther’s lot of rush near the temple….But if u ask me then i wouldnt suggest you to go to temple..(at least on holidays)..coz u will have 2 wait for at least 2-3 hrs.
This carvings show an elephant with his master.
The inscriptions on the pillars are of BRAHMI LANGUAGE,whish is a ancient language.
Thepillars are executed with great ingenuity & vigour,which depict sculptural art of the period.Roof of aisles is flat while the pillars of the nave support a simple architrave over which rises a barrel vaulted roof,which ends in a semi-domical over the stupa in rear.
This is the main part of he architecture..it cosists of “stupa” in the centre.
The roof is fitted with actual wooden curve ribs & longitudinal rafters.The caves were caused from the donations & support of a group of assorted individuals.
This picture depicts the carving of lions
the caves are located at 30-40ft from the basemaents.
This is an top view from the fort.we can see the village located at feet of the hill.
If you want to have the feeling of being there then click on this video link
Thats all frnds..hope you enjoyed the sculptures & ancient carvings!!!
Have a nice day !!! 🙂