Around 15 kms from Lonavala is Karla, a serene town famed for its caves said to be dated as old as 200 BC. I had promised in my last post about the Lonavala visit that I would blog about this next, but didn’t get to it till today. Editing visuals and deciding which ones to share, got a bit of an onerous task and then I finally decided that I’ll share more than a few today and make this a visual journey for you.
Karla caves are 4 kms interior into the town. After a winding drive uphill, the vehicle stops at a parking area and we proceed rest of the journey on foot, over a hundred steps up through a winding path, surrounded by souvenir shops on both sides. Some local women sell lemonade called “shikhanji” on the way and other paraphernalia for offering to the temple which is also situated there.
We didn’t stop but climbed upwards. After ten minutes climb we reached an open space with the caves and also an ancient temple next to it. You can’t take footwear inside the compound and another set of enterprising women had set up an open “shop” to deposit your footwear.
The caves were everything I had imagined to be and much more. The inner sanctum was cool and quiet, the stillness only disturbed by the occasional gasps from the tourists or excited cacophony as the stone marvel was experienced. The Wooden rafters on the ceiling were interesting shaped and I wondered the sense of architecture that prevailed.
While all pillars looked identical, close observation revealed differences in the figures and orientation of the elephant. This visit was in my to-do list for a long time. I was intrigued to visit them after seeing a beautifully intricate print in the Museum , made in 17th century. This month, that image got to life and I got to touch the stones weathered over time, but intact in their position.
This is Mumbai. Ok, not actually Mumbai, but a a suburban part. Migratory birds have discovered this part faster than some of us. Every winter Siberian birds and many others travel upto this niche which they have made their home for the winters. While the black headed ibis forages through the muddy shore by completely submerging its beak in the mud, other shore birds make themselves comfortable eating the the frogs and other sea creatures. The loud noises of the jetty engine doesn’t seem to have much impact on the egrets, but the flamingos have distanced themselves from this part of the shore and taken refuge in another less accessible area. Hope next time the flamingos are there too. A noisy flock of rosy starlings were also present but quite at a distance.
The Ganpati festival spanning 10 days has begun in Maharashtra. On this day “Ganesha” , the elephant-headed God is said to descend on earth. Amidst fireworks and resounding drumbeats, a neighborhood Ganpati is marching towards its “Pandal”, a temporary worship place created by the community for the days of Puja (worship), atop a colourful truck here.