|Chaityagriha at Karla
With beginning of 2012 we decided to visit Ekveera devi Temple. On first Sunday of the year Jan 8, we decided to visit the temple. We took Manamad Pune Passenger from Panvel. The train was late by about half an hour . We got inside train at around 9:30 AM and we reached Lonavala at 10:50 AM. The journey was comfortable. The train did not have any reserved coach and it was pretty vacant throughout journey.
After getting down at Lonavala we went near bus depot and enquired about buses travelling to Karle. Next bus was after about half an hour, so we decided to travel by our favorite tumtum. The temple is at distance of about 6 Km from Lonavala. We bought some Chikki from shop in front of bus depot and then moved to locate Tumtum stand. Tumtum stand was not far. After getting inside tumtum it took around 15 minutes to reach Karle fata. From Karle fata we took another auto rikshaw to reach bottom of the mountain.
|Inside Ekveera Temple
The temple is very small. But we had to wait in queue for about 15 minutes due to crowd. After long wait of 15 minutes we had chance to see the deity. The idol of deity was decorated with blue colored saree. After having darshan we went to see the Chaityagriha, the famous caves of Karle.
The Chaityagriha stands for Conference hall in Sanskrit. The Chaityagriha of Karle was built around 2000 years before . It is one of the very few wooden Indian Chaityagrihas, which are still in good shape. At the entrance a tall pillar stands with four lions on top of it. Then there are several sculptures of couples dressed in medieval Indian costumes along with elephants. Inside the Chaityagriha there is a small stup. There are several pillars. Each of the pillar has elephant on top of it with a couple sitting on it. It is really a wonder how a wooden Chaityagriha could sustain more than 2000 years!
Chaityagrihas were built for religious discussion of Buddhist Monks. There are several other caves just beside Chaityagriha. But they don’t carry any sculptures. I guess they were being used by monks for residential purpose.
After clicking few snaps at Chaityagriha we started our journey back to Navi Mumbai. We went to Lonavala and took Bus for Kamothe. Ekveera devi temple along with Chaityagriha is located at very short distance from Mumbai. Considering the historical importance of Chaityagriha every Mumbaikar should visit Chaityagriha sometime in life. After all it is so near from Mumbai !