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Old 26th January 2012, 12:42   #1
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Default Short trip around Pune : Karle caves


AvonA7 has a well written thread and much better photographs of the same place
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post2189687 (Weekend trips - Pune)

About the caves and the route

Karle is a village near Lonavla on the Pune-Lonavla route. The caves and Ekvira
mandir are located in hills near this village. The caves are of historic and
archaeological importance. See above thread or search the web for the details.

Best way to reach Karle from Pune side is by old NH4, not the expressway. It
will be about 70km from Pune by this route.

We however had different idea. Our new Safari was running with odo a little
over 900km and first service due within a couple of days. In the first month of
ownership we had not had a run on the expressway. So we decided to take the
expressway. Was fun seeing odometer turn into 4 digits on e-way! I will post
more about car performance in my ownership thread:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ownership.html (Tata Safari GX : Buying and initial ownership)

If you come by expressway, you will have to take exit at Lonavla and turn
towards Pune on old NH4. You'll have to pay the toll again. Ironically you are
coming from Pune and paying toll in Pune's direction - so much to get a ride on
expressway!. You can pay two way toll up to an intermediate point between
Lonavla and Pune (I think it was Rs 39/- or something.) Besides e-way toll
between Pune-Lonavla is I think Rs 99/- one way.

Karle is around 10kms from this toll booth towards Pune. You will see the signs
pointing to Karle village on your right (while coming from Lonavla), though
those directions are for the village. Instead, follow "Ekvira Devasthan".
Strangely, there aren't signs labeled after such famous historic caves.

Up the hill and a crawl into chaotic parking

The road till the base point on the hill is in good condition. Just that it's
narrow and weekend crowds were overwhelming. There is no protective railing on
the valley side, which is on your left when going up. With the size of beast we
were traveling in, which I am still getting used to, I really had those scary
moments when I had to go on extreme left of the road to clear some traffic
situations. Had to just rely on people standing on the road trying to help
clear the traffic.

The parking area at the base point is very small, though there is a huge garden
like area beside it where most people park.It's not neat and flat. You have to
crawl to a slot from within gaps between trees, being mindful of large stones
etc. Was a sort of offroading! Have to be prepared to move back and forth any
number of times as same narrow route will be being used by exiting vehicles as

Not sure, whether it's usual for this place to be so crowded. May be there was
some festivity going on at the Ekvira temple, as we later saw big queues for

A fellow car owner remarked, if they charge for the parking, why can't they at
least keep it in order. Could not agree more.

Ascent to the caves

There are steps (may be around 100) to be taken up to the caves. We weren't
sure how much the distance is. Got two totally opposite answers from returning
people when asked about how much it will take to reach up. An elderly man said
"it's too long and too crowded; will take too long", while another youngster
shrugged "nothing, just 15 minutes", which comforted us.

The route is packed with small roadside shops that sell eatables, photos of
deities and all that. Besides, some of these shops keep playing loud musics
within a short distance of one another. Wasn't looking like having come to some
ancient caves. It looked more like a typical pilgrimage destination.

Top of the hill: The temple and the caves

Where the steps end, you will have to pay an entry fee for the caves. There are
no charges for still camera, though some additional charges if you are carrying
video camera.

There was pretty long queue in front of the Ekvira temple. We skipped that and
turned straight to the caves. There is a big carved entrance to the main cave
with a dome like structure inside. There are a few more caves with little
carvings on the left. But the main carvings are only in one main cave.

Some of the carvings are lit by natural light entering from the openings made
for it. Could not get good photographs of the inside area. Despite flash, they
haven't come clearly. So posting only a few.

Descent, lunch and return journey

The descent was relatively smooth as the crowds had started subsiding. Felt
much easier driving on the hill - side of the road as against the ascent
experience above! It was well past 2 and we had not yet had lunch. We were
carrying home made food, though wanted a decent place to have a go at the

Drove further towards Pune where there was a small by-lane amid lush green
fields and dense trees. Stopped under one such tree. Safari's boot doubled up
as a make shift dining area. It was fun having lunch at such a place, with
pleasing breeze forcing some smaller tree branches peep into dining area...

Had a good break post lunch here and headed back to Lonavla and then back to
Pune via the e-way.

Way to the caves from the base:

Short trip around Pune : Karle caves-waytocaves.jpg

Lions at the entrance:

Short trip around Pune : Karle caves-lionsatentrance.jpg

Small caves on left of the main entrance:

Short trip around Pune : Karle caves-cavessideview.jpg

View in front of the caves:

Short trip around Pune : Karle caves-aroundcaves.jpg

Last edited by mayuresh : 26th January 2012 at 16:44.
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Old 26th January 2012, 17:48   #2
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Default Re: Short trip around Pune : Karle caves

Note from Team BHP Support: Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Travelogue section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th January 2012, 08:04   #3
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Default Re: Short trip around Pune : Karle caves

I thought it was Karla Caves. I had been here last year. No pics as I did not have a camera. The view from the top is amazing.

Many visitors miss the "Baja Caves" which is about 5 Kms from the Pune Bombay road. This road is exactly opposite to the road which leads to Karla Caves from the Bypass. I'd recommend Baja Caves any day over Karla.
As it is much cleaner and the view from there is even more amazing , little or no crowd. Best of all is Baja is almost a mirror image of Karla , but a little smaller.

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Old 27th January 2012, 19:56   #4
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Default Re: Short trip around Pune : Karle caves

Originally Posted by motorpsycho View Post
Many visitors miss the "Baja Caves"
There are actually three of them around Lonavla. Karle, Bhaje and Bedse. I
haven't been to Bhaje and Bedse yet, though plan to.

Originally Posted by motorpsycho View Post
I thought it was Karla Caves.
An OT, though interesting:

There is great variation in pronouncing and some times writing names of places
in Maharashtra. Just like big cities Pune, Thane above places are locally
called ending in "e". There are corresponding surnames like Punekar, Karlekar
etc. And just like they say Puna, Thana sometimes colloquially, same goes with
above places. Somehow, for some places this "a" format becomes more popular as
is the case with Karla, Bhaja etc.

It's just like you spell Vileparle in Mumbai but ask a cabbie "Parla chaloge"...

There is a lesser known colloquial pronunciation of these places often used in
very native Marathi. It goes like "Punu" (pronounce trailing "u" as in u in
"mug") "Thanu" etc! Most readers would certainly be amazed to know that!

Last edited by mayuresh : 27th January 2012 at 19:58.
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