Karla Caves Lonavala Entry Fee

  • 25 per person for Indians
  • 25 per person for citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries
  • 300 per person for other Foreign nationals
  • 0 free entry for children upto 15 years of age

Karla Caves Lonavala Phone


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Karla Caves Lonavala Address: Karla, Ekveera Devi road, Lonavala, Maharashtra, 410405, India

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Karla Caves Lonavala Timings

Day Timing
Monday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wedesday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Links: | Map

Karla Caves (also known as Karle Caves) is a complex of ancient rock-cut caves. It has 16 caves, used by Buddhist monks for the purpose of living and praying. They’re believed to be strategically built along an ancient trade route that passed through this region. The oldest of these caves were built over 2000 years ago.

Although Karla Caves aren’t as elaborate as other caves nearby, it’s popular because of its main chaitya griha (prayer hall). This chaitya griha (Cave 8) is the largest cave here. And it’s said to be the best-preserved prayer hall in the country.

Karla Caves Lonavala served as a Buddhist monastery, too. Being close to a major trade route, it also provided lodging to travelling traders.

Where are Karla Caves located?

The Karla Caves have been cut out from a rock on a hillside above Karla village. It’s just off the Mumbai-Pune highway, about 10 km away from Lonavala. During its heyday, the cave complex had been a place of worship as well as a monastery. Today, it has been marked as a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India.

History of Karla Caves

The ancient Buddhist shrines at Karla are over 2000 years old; developed in two distinct periods. The first period was between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century BCE, while the next one was between the 5th century BCE to the 10th century BCE.

The cave complex was associated with Mahasamghika, one of the earliest Buddhist schools in India, which was popular in this region. It had patrons from all over India who helped with building the caves.

One of the inscriptions here mentions this land being donated to Veluraka Samgha. It might be the possible reason behind the caves, also referred to as Veluraka caves earlier.

Architecture of Karla Caves

Lonavala Karla Caves are said to be carved out of a single rock. And they’re designed to be self-sufficient, with prayer halls and living quarters. The caves were also used as shelters for traders and travellers.

The cave complex has 16 caves altogether, with the Cave 8 chaitya being the largest. It’s believed to be the main prayer hall, and it has a magnificent roof made out of carved teak wood. The supporting pillars have sculptures of men, women and animals.

The prayer hall has a large stupa towards the end. Over the stupa, a wooden chhatri is placed, likely to protect it from the direct sunlight coming from the window.

In front of this chaitya griha lies a wide and flat open area. It’s believed to have once been used for accommodating large gatherings. Just outside the cave, there were two grand lion pillars. Now, only one of them remains. The empty space is occupied by a temple dedicated to Goddess Ekveera.

Karla Caves Lonavala also has several smaller chaityas in the complex, along with viharas. These viharas have small chambers, which were used by the Buddhist monks as living and meditation spaces.

Things to do at Karla Caves Lonavala

1. Trekking to Karla Caves – Situated atop a hill, this cave complex is accessible through a short Karla Caves trek. It’s an approximately 2-3 km long trail, with 300+ steps carved for convenient access. The trek is moderately difficult, because of its steep slope, rugged terrain, and a large number of steps.

2. Exploring the great chaitya griha – Cave 8 of Karla Caves is a massive prayer hall and the most prominent of all the excavations. Its ceiling is supported by two rows of rock-cut columns. At the far end of the chaitya is the stupa revered by the monks. At the entrance, you’ll find a tall pillar resembling the Ashokan lion pillar. Its arched entrance and the intricate sculptures are also worth admiring.

3. Checking out the cave architecture – Karla Caves consist of several other small caves. Monks used them for living and as places of worship. Each cave has beautiful carvings and sculptures. Apart from the architecture, you should also check the inscriptions at various places. They mention the names and places of donors who helped maintain the caves.

4. Visiting other tourist places near Karla Caves – Another place of interest near the cave complex is the temple of Goddess Ekveera. If you're interested in Buddhist caves, Bhaja Caves and Bedse Caves are other nearby places worth visiting. Apart from those, tourists also like to explore Visapur Fort and Lohagad Fort nearby.

Karla Caves Timings and Entry Fee

Karla Caves are open throughout the year. You can visit them any day you want to. Karla Caves Lonavala timings are from 9 AM to 5 PM.

The entry fee of Karla Caves is ₹25 per person for Indian citizens and visitors from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries. For other foreign nationals, the Karla Caves ticket price is ₹300 per person. Entry for children (up to 15 years of age) is free.

Best time to visit Karla Caves

The best time to visit this cave complex is in winter, between November and February. It’s the most comfortable season for trekking and exploring the place properly. It’s also the best season to see other places to visit near Karla Caves.

If you’re a nature lover, you can visit Karla Caves in monsoon (July-August), too. The place gets all green during that time, and the views are mesmerising.

Time to explore Karla Caves Lonavala

You need about 2-3 hours to explore Karla Caves. The complex has several chaityas and viharas apart from the main prayer hall. Climbing the 300+ stairs to the top itself takes an hour. If you have time to spare, visit the other nearby places, too.

Things to keep in mind when visiting Karla Caves

  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Carry water and light snacks.
  • People with health problems should avoid the trek.
  • Bhaja Caves has 300+ stairs.
  • Many stairs are steep and uneven.

How to reach Karla Caves Lonavala?

Karla Caves distance from Lonavala is 10 km. The bus stop and the nearest railway station to Karla Caves is 11 km away, at Lonavala. The nearest major railway stations are in Pune (58 km away) and Mumbai (95 km away). The nearest airport is Pune airport, 61 km away.

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

By bike – Rental bikes in Lonavala are easily available to explore the sightseeing places around. You can take one for the day and visit Karla Caves.

By cab/taxi – You can also get a cab for Karla Caves. Taking a cab is the most comfortable way to visit the cave complex. They’re readily available from the top car rental companies in Lonavala. The cabs drop you at the parking, from where you can trek up to the caves.

Explore the popular sightseeing places of Lonavala & Khandala by booking a Lonavala Khandala tour package with us. At Lonavala Khandala Tourism, we offer a variety of packages for you to choose from. To know more about our offerings, please fill the Contact Us form.

Location Map for Karla Caves Lonavala