Lonavala in Maharashtraperhaps the most favored hill station of the Mumbaites, it is also famous for its ancient caves. Lonavala has always visited along with Khandala another hill station before climbing the valley to reach Lonavala. Many enthusiasts from Mumbai and Pune have taken their first Mountaineering lessons in these charming hill stations. 5-km apart from each other these two places, that straddle the Mumbai - Pune highway at an altitude of 625 meters, they are around 70km away from Pune and 90 km from Mumbai. The small towns are bestowed upon by nature to the fullest. During Monsoon the place seems to have bloomed in various shades of green. With small and big waterfalls gushing through the hills and small streams passing through at every nook and corner are a pleasure to see. The places are a great relief for the people from the nearby hustle and fast life of Mumbai or Pune.
There are many things worth visiting here. Apart from breathtaking views from every corner and the great points like the monkey hills, the tiger leap point, and the Amrutanjan point; there are huge ancient forts in the vicinity and deep lakes to create a serene ambiance. The beautiful mountains, the deep valleys, and the immense flora and fauna that have been the habitat of this place are the prime attractions. It is the most famous weekend getaway for Mumbai and Pune folks.
The ancientness of the place can be traced back to around 2nd century B.C. There are many wonderful rock-cut caves around these hill stations. They are Karle and Bhaje caves. The Bedse caves on the Pune highway are also nearby.
The Karle Bhaje caves: Around 10 km from the hill station of Lonavala on the Mumbai Pune highway is the unique caves of Karle and Bhaje. They are considered to be the ultimate expression of the Satwahan art of Hinayana sculpture. These twin caves are supposed to be the largest of the cave temples in the whole of Maharashtra cave temples. The caves cut into solid rock have 37 octagonal pillars of remarkable beauty. Each column rests in a water jar. Some of these pillars have capitals on the top. The capitals have figures of elephants kneeling on bell-shaped bases. These ancient caves are nearly 2000 years old and still stand attraction for many.