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Karle Caves

The cave at Karle is a cluster of 15 ancient Buddhist caves. It is approx. 11 KM from Lonavala and very easily accessible by road. Cave 8 is the main chaitya (Buddhist Prayer Hall) here and is considered as 'the largest and best preserved' chaitya from its period.

Districts / Region

Pune District, Maharashtra, India.


The 15 caves at Karle were made between 1st century CE to 6th century CE. The site is on an ancient trade route connecting the port cities on the Western Coast with the commercial centers on the Deccan Plateau. There is a multistoried cave which is a unique attraction for the tourists.
The main Chaitya Cave at Karle is ornamented with numerous sculptural panels. The panels of the donor couples in the verandah of the cave are masterpieces of the early Deccan art dating back to the early years of the Common Era. The chaitya has a beautiful monolithic stupa with the wooden umbrella dating back to the 1st century CE.The pillar capitals in the caves decorated with animals and animal riders display the influence of Gandhara Art. Verandah of the chaitya cave has sculptural panels dating back to the 6th century CE of Buddhist trio and miracles performed by the Buddha. There are some traces of the paintings on the pillars in the chaitya hall. The grand monolithic pillar at the entrance of the cave is an architectural marvel.
Numerous inscriptions at the site talk about the donations given by monks, nuns, traders, kings and their family members. An interesting inscription records the donation of agricultural land from a nearby village.
At the entrance of the main chaitya cave at Karle; there's also a medieval shrine dedicated to a very popular folk goddess - Ekveera.This medieval complex comprises a temple dedicated to goddess Ekvira and the Nagarkhana (drum house). Most of the visitors visit the site mainly to pay homage to the goddess.


Karle caves lie in Sahyadri hills in Maval, Lonavala. One has to climb around 500 steps to reach the caves. These are adjacent to Mumbai - Pune highway, and approx. 10-11 KM from Lonavala, 58 KM from Pune and 94 KM from Mumbai.

Weather / Climate

Pune has a hot-semi arid climate year-round with an average temperature ranging from 19-33 degrees Celsius. 
April and May are the hottest months in Pune when the temperature reaches up to 42 degrees Celsius.
Winters are extreme, and the temperature can go as low as 10 degrees Celsius at night, but the average daytime temperature is around 26 degrees Celsius.
The annual rainfall in the Pune region is around 763 mm. 

Things to do

  • Visiting various caves in Karle caves is itself an enjoyable experience. 
  • Witness the way full of greenery and beautiful landscapes from the top 
  • Lonavala and Khandala are popular hill stations among tourists. 
  • One of the most worshiped Ekvira Devi temples situated in front of Karle caves.

Nearest tourist places

  • Lohagad Fort (10.3 KM) and Visapur Fort (10 KM) are the nearby Forts for visiting and trekking.
  • Bhaje caves are at a distance of 8 KM. The nearest and best camping spot in western ghats is Valvan Dam [9.9 KM] 
  • Bhushi Dam is a tourist attraction [16.7 KM]
  • Raywood park is another beautiful picnic spot in Lonavala [11.9 KM]
  • Bedse caves are also in the vicinity of Karle. (21 KM)
  • Pune city and surroundings (58 KM)

Special food specialty and hotel

Being situated in the Western Ghats and Lonavala, one can taste several seasonal fruits throughout the year. The restaurants here serve local Maharashtrian cuisine as well as a variety of cuisines. Lonavala is famous for different types of chikkis (sweet snacks) and fudges. 

Accommodation facilities nearby & Hotel / Hospital / Post Office / Police station

There is no bed and breakfast available.
Numerous Hotels are available at Lonavala.
The nearest Police Station is City Police Station, Lonavala - 12.2 KM
The nearest Hospital is Primary Health Center, Karla - 3.5 KM
The nearest Post office is Post Office India Post, Lonavala - 12.4 KM. 

Visiting Rule and Time, Best month to visit

The caves open at 9:00 AM and close at 7:00 PM.
The rainfall is pretty heavy in this region, hence October to May are the best months to visit here. 

Language spoken in area 

English, Hindi, Marathi