Bhaja Caves Lonavala Entry Fee

  • 15 per person for Indians
  • 15 per person for citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries
  • 200 per person for other Foreign nationals

Bhaja Caves Lonavala Phone

022 6910 7600

Rating: | 4/5 stars
Based on total 34 reviews

Bhaja Caves Lonavala Address: Bhaje Caves Road, District, near Bhaja Village, Maval, Lonavala, Maharashtra, 412106, India

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Bhaja Caves Lonavala Timings

Day Timing
Monday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wedesday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Links: | Map

Nestled amidst the serene landscapes of Lonavala is the Bhaja Caves complex. Even if it’s a lesser-known tourist place, it holds a treasure trove of ancient marvels. The architecture has survived the test of time for over 2000 years.

Bhaja Caves Lonavala is a group of 22 rock-cut wonders dating back to the era of Hinayana Buddhism. They provide a fascinating glimpse into ancient Buddhist culture.

What makes them stand out is that the cave architecture depicts a coexistence of different cultures and faiths in the region. Sculptures and religious relics found in the caves signify it was a sacred place.

It’s believed that the caves were used as living quarters and a place of worship by the monks. They have been constructed using lime mortar and local stone.

Where are Bhaja Caves located?

Bhaja Caves are located 12 km away from Lonavala, just off the Mumbai-Pune highway. The complex is on a 400-foot-high hill overlooking Bhaja village. If you love exploring historical places, this cave complex is worth visiting. The Archaeological Survey of India has declared it a protected site.

History of Bhaja Caves

Bhaja Caves belong to the earliest Hinayana phase of Buddhism. They were built between the 3rd century BCE and the 2nd century CE. Some of the images have been dated to be between the 5th and 6th century CE as well, signifying that the caves were in use until then.

These caves present some excellent examples of rock-cut caves from the era, carrying with them a rich history of the spread of Buddhism in the region. Several relics are still in the caves, kept in the stupas where they were found.

Architecture of Bhaja Caves

Bhaja Caves Lonavala are among the oldest Buddhist rock-cut caves in the region. It’s a group of 22 caves categorised into chaityas (caves 12-14) and viharas (1-11 and 15-22). Chaityas are the prayer halls and viharas are the living dorms.

Among all the Bhaja Buddhist caves, Cave 12 is the most elaborate. It’s a large rectangular hall with an arched horseshoe-shaped ceiling and glossy walls. It’s believed to be the main chaitya (prayer hall). A stupa, with 3.45 meters in diameter, exists towards its end.

Wooden architectural work on Burmese teak can be seen on the beams used to support the ceiling. Apart from that, the cave has several wooden octagonal pillars which bear the load.

Bhaja Caves also have several rock-cut viharas with pillared verandas in front. These have small cells with stone beds. Some cells have stone benches and water cisterns as well. Most of these viharas are single-storied; a few of them are double-storied viharas too.

Things to do at Bhaja Caves Lonavala

1. Trekking to Bhaja Caves – The cave complex is on a hilltop near Bhaja village. A short Bhaja Caves trek leads you to the entrance. The trail is around 2-3 km long with 200+ steps cut out for easy access to the caves. It’s popular among backpackers and hikers. The trek is considered moderately challenging because of its steep slope, the rugged terrain and the number of steps involved.

2. Marvelling at the majestic architecture – The cave complex has been standing here for over 2000 years. It boasts an intricate rock-cut architecture forming several prayer halls and residential caves. The main prayer hall (Cave 12) is the highlight of Bhaja Caves. It’s several metres high, with an arched gateway. Other prominent features of the cave are horseshoe-shaped ceiling, mythological wall carvings and wooden architecture.

3. Admiring ancient arts in the complex – Cave 12 in Bhaja Caves is one of the oldest surviving chaitya halls in India. The complex also has several other caves with a display of ancient artistry that reflects the religious beliefs of the time. Paintings and statues of Buddha, depictions from Indian mythology and animal figures are among the most prominent artistic elements in the caves. Some of them are pretty detailed with delicate carvings.

4. Checking out Bhaja Caves stupas – Bhaja Caves have several stupas within the caves and outside. The largest among them is in Cave 12. These stupas have detailed carvings and inscriptions, contributing to the overall sacred ambiance of the place. A few of the stupas also have relics of the monks who lived here.

5. Exploring other places near Bhaja Caves – The area surrounding the caves has many other points of interest that you can explore on foot. Visapur Fort and Lohagad Fort are among the most popular destinations many trekkers visit while exploring Bhaja Caves. The waterfall near Bhaja Caves is a popular spot for picnics and camping.

Bhaja Caves Timings and Entry Fee

Lonavala Khandala Bhaja Caves are open throughout the year. You can visit it any day you want. The visit timings are from 8 AM to 6 PM.

Entry fee for Bhaja Caves is ₹15 per person for Indian citizens and visitors from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries. For other foreign nationals, the Bhaja Caves fee is ₹200 per person. Kids (up to 15 years of age) can get free entry.

Best time to visit Bhaja Caves

The best time to visit Bhaja Caves is in winter, from November to February. The weather is the most comfortable during those days to complete the trek and explore the cave complex. The winter season is an excellent time to trek to many other tourist places near the caves.

If you’re a nature lover, you can also visit Bhaja Caves in monsoon (July-August). The place gets a fresh green cover in monsoon, and nearby streams are fully flowing.

Time to explore Bhaja Caves Lonavala

You need 2-3 hours to explore the caves. Trekking up the 200+ steps itself takes around an hour. It starts near Bhaja village. And when you have extra time to spare, you can also check the nearby waterfall.

Things to keep in mind when visiting Bhaja Caves

  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Carry water and light snacks.
  • People with health problems should avoid the trek.
  • Bhaja Caves has 200+ stairs.
  • Many stairs are steep and uneven.

How to reach Bhaja Caves Lonavala?

Bhaja Caves are in Malavli, 12 km away from Lonavala. It’s about 13 km from the railway station and bus stop. The nearest major railway stations are in Pune (60 km away) and Mumbai (95 km away). The airport closest to Bhaja Caves Lonavala is Pune airport, which is 64 km away.

Now, here’s how to reach Bhaja Caves near Lonavala –

By bike – Rental bikes are available in Lonavala to explore the places around. You can book one for the day and visit Bhaja Caves for trekking.

By cab/taxi – You can also book a private cab to the Bhaja Caves entrance. They’re readily available from the top car rental companies in Lonavala. These cabs take you to the parking area, from where you can walk up to the cave complex. They’re the most comfortable way to visit the place.

At Lonavala Khandala Tourism, we offer a range of all-inclusive Lonavala Khandala tour packages that allow you to explore the twin hill stations and its surrounding areas at your own pace. Our team of professionals will take care of all the logistics in the background, so you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy your vacation. So why wait? Get in touch with us today by filling out our Contact Us form and let us help you plan the vacation of your dreams.

Location Map for Bhaja Caves Lonavala