August 1, 2012

Pune Monsoon of 2012, has really been keeping us on wheels. After Alibaag, and Shirur, it was time for a trek to Bhaja caves, Lohagad fort and Lonavala; which was again an adhoc plan. This time Phani, Tara, Anmol, Anuradha, Komal, Meenal and the energetic kids Divit and Chetan were in our gang. If you are coming by road from Pune, you have to follow below route:
Pune - NH4 - Khamshet - Malavli (Just before Lonavala) - Bhaje village
If you are coming by road from Mumbai, you have to follow below route:
Mumbai - Navi Mumbai - Follow Pune Mumbai expressway - Khandala - Lonavala - Malavli
Train transport is cheaper either coming from Pune or Mumbai. Pune to Lonavala local train time table can be checked here. Lonavala to Pune local train time table can be checked here

Bhaja Caves Map
After four wheeler trip to Alibaug, 2 wheeler ride to Shirur, we preferred multi-wheeler train for this trip. :P We kick-started our trip with the early morning 6:30 am local, which took us to Malavli. To our luck, it started raining heavily! Tempted for hot tea and snacks, we took shelter in a small tapri outside the Malavali Railway Station. This is where we gathered some info on further route and relevant expenses. Our next vehicle was a 3 wheeler, which took us to Bhaje village, at the rate of INR 50 per auto. Unlike us, some of the groups had opted for a walk (2.5 km - 30 mins walk). 

Once you are here at the Bhaje Village, you feel like being at the entrance of heaven. The scenic beauty of place will leave you speechless for a few moments during monsoon. Shades of green, with white patches of clouds, topped with beauty of multiple waterfalls is really a treat for ones eyes. We had the chance to click some quick snaps at this place and climbing up and down the hill. What else do you wait for! Our lenses were all set to capture glimpse of this place. Further, you can see the stairs leading to Bhaja Caves. If you keep following the straight path (rather than going upstairs) you will reach Lohagad and Visapur forts. The inscritions and cave temple is declared as a protected monument, and listed in the archaeological survey of India. These caves will remind you of Karla and Bedsa Caves in Lonavala, if you've been there, and the smaller version of famous Ajanta and Ellora caves.

Bhaja Caves Timings and Fees:
9:30 am to 5:30 pm;  
Indian: 5 INR; Foreign Nationals: 100 INR

Bhaja caves consists of 22 rock-cut excavations and situated on a hilltop of Bhaja village, Maval Taluka in Pune district near Malavli. The excavations here consist of chaityagrahas, viharas and podhis. These are one of the important Buddhist centres of Hinayana faith in Maharashtra. The chaityagraha is a large hall having a stupa and 27 pillars in tow. The entrance of the hall is completely open and one can notice some interesting carvings inside the caves. 

We took some more group snaps at the smaller caves, besides the main hall. One irregular excavation is identified as a cemetery, which has fourteen rock-cut stupas, five inside and nine outside. If you keep going till the last cave, you will find yourelf near the Bhaja falls. Not to mention, it is possible only during monsoons! Some people also bathe and enjoy in this waterfall, but one should be very cautious, as some of the rocks become very much slippery. This water flow falls into a small pool at the roadside.  

Lush green meadows, mountains covered with clouds, sun playing hide n seek, cool breeze and serene climate, makes this place worth multiple visits during monsoons. There are two Maratha forts, Lohagad (Iron) fort and Visapur fort nearby hills. After enjoying quite a while at this historic place we continued our trek to Lohagad Fort

Visit the famous Ajanta and Ellora caves in Maharashtra


Anonymous said...

charo taraf hariyali hi hariyali, good place during monsoon, last weekend hi visit kiya.

Unknown said...

Visapur Fort and Bhaja Caves is one of the best short treks. A must visit for trek lovers.

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