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Karla Caves

Kevin Standage

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The enormous 1st century chaitya cave at Karla is also known as Karli and Karle. It’s considered to be the best preserved rock cut Buddhist prayer hall in India, although in my mind the examples at Ellora and Ajanta come pretty close.

Karla is 28km south of Matheran, on one side of the Mumbai-Pune expressway. It’s not easy to locate, we had to keep stopping to ask for directions. Upon arriving at Karla take the track up the hillside until you reach a large car park. From there it’s a steep 20 minute walk ascending around 500 steps to reach the caves, with fine views and the obligatory stalls selling you…well, I’m not quite sure, in Oct 2013 most of them appeared to be closed !

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Upon arriving at the court in front of the caves, there’s a small blue Hindu shrine to the right of the entrance. This intrigued me…

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