Bhaje caves - near Mumbai and Pune
Bhaja caves or Bhaje caves is a group of 22 rock-cut caves dating back to the 2nd century BC located in Pune, near Lonavala, Maharashtra. The caves are 400 feet above the village of Bhaje, on an important ancient trade route running from the Arabian Sea eastward into the Deccan Plateau (the division between North India and South India). The inscriptions and the cave temple are protected as a National Monument, by the Archaeological Survey of India per Notification No. 2407-A. It belongs to the Hinayana Buddhism sect in Maharashtra. The caves have a number of stupas. The most prominent excavation is its chaityagrha (Cave XII), demonstrating prototypes of wooden architecture and a vaulted horseshoe ceiling. Its vihara (Cave XVIII) has a pillared verandah in front and is adorned with unique reliefs. These caves are notable for their indications of the awareness of wooden architecture. The carvings prove that tabla – a percussion instrument – was used in India for at least two thousand years. The carving shows a woman playing tabla and another woman performing dance. **** Source Wikipedia
Place to Visit around here:
Celebrity Wax Museum
Celebrity Wax Museum was founded by Sunil Kandaloor. A 38-year-old wax artist from Kerala. Located at a distance of 5 km from the destination in Lonavala, the museum was inaugurated by Minister Ramesh Shendge. At the museum, tourists can view wax images of Rajiv Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Michael Jackson, Adolf Hitler and Oscar winner, Rasool Pookutty. The museum is also home to images of Saddam Hussein, Indira Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi and MS Subbulakshmi. Image of Chhatrapati Shivaji is the highlight of the museum. In addition to these, the museum is also home to images of Shirdi Sai Baba, and Jawaharlal Nehru, along with wax models of many famous musicians, politicians and social workers.
Lonavala Lake is located at a distance of 1.5 km from the city. Known as the Monsoon Lake, the lake gets dried up during the winters and gets filled with water during monsoons. Built around 1876, the lake and the adjoining area are popular picnic spots. Indrayani River is the source of water for the dam. Owned by Central Railway and encountered on the way to INS Shivaji, the lake enables tourists to enjoy a relaxing picnic.
Rajmachi village (Shrivardhan and Manoranjan forts)
Rajmachi is located near Lonavala. It height from sea level is 2710 feet. It offers an amazing view of the Sahyadri Mountains and the backwaters of Shirota Dam. Rajmachi is an ideal fort for camping. There are 2 caves on the fort provide accommodation for 40 persons, one can stay at Kalbhairavnath Temple aswell. Rajmachi is situated on the route that leads to Lonavala from Khandala and is situated at a distance of 20 km from the city. Trekkers who wish to reach here can also follow the trekking route that starts from the Tungarli Lake.
A monsoon tourist attraction located between Lonavala and Khandala, has seen 28 deaths by drowning in last four years. But shockingly, this place, visited by thousands of tourists every day, has just two ‘life guards’ – one who runs an eatery and another who owns a photo studio next to the dam. Neither the Central Railways, which has the jurisdiction on the dam, nor any other authority has ever deployed life guards at this tourist spot that has around 5000 people visiting it every weekend from Pune and Mumbai during the monsoons.
Ample space with greenish lawns and playing grounds for children. The park is home to numerous varieties of trees, which are believed to be decades old. Once a botanical garden, the area today functions as a park. The park is thronged by tourists wishing to enjoy a relaxing picnic with their kids and companions. In the park, there is also an old Mahadeo Temple.
Lion's Point is a cliff that is located midway between Bhushi Dam and Amby Valley. Located in the Sahyadri Ranges at a distance of 20 to 30 km from the Amby Valley Project of Sahara Group, the site offers an aerial view of Bhushi Dam. After climbing the cliff, tourists can also get an aerial view of the Tungarli Lake and Dam.
This dam is built across River Kundali, originating from the Western Ghats. The water impounded by this dam forms a beautiful artificial reservoir, which is named as Valvan Lake after it. A lush green garden is situated next to this lake, where locals as well as tourists gather for picnics. Surrounded with a scenic landscape, Valvan Dam is a perfect place for peace lovers and solace seekers.
How to reach
By Air - The nearest airport are at Mumbai (120 kilometres). The Mumbai airports are connected to different parts of India and world by Major Indian and International airlines.
By Rail - The nearest rail heads are at Pune and Mumbai, at a distance of 40 and 110 kilometres respectively. However, a local train can also be taken to Malavali, 2 kilometres from the Bhaje caves.
By Road - The Bhaje caves can also be reached by bus, coach and taxi from other places such as Lonavala (12 km), Pune (40 km) and Khandala (14 km).
Best time to Visit
These caves can be visited anytime in the year; however monsoon season is the best time to visit this place since the greenery view is beautiful.