Lonad caves Bhiwandi along with Shiva temple frequently attracts many tourists. These caves are situated near Kalyan city in Thane district of Maharashtra.
Location: Near Janwal Village, Kalyan Region, Thane District, Maharashtra (India).
Best Time To Visit: Tourists can visit Lonad caves in Bhiwandi throughout the year.
Formation: 5th to 8th century AD.
Lonad Caves Bhiwandi Information
Lonad is a village approximately 11 km away from the Kalyan city of Thane district. Caves along with a Shiva Temple is a set of interesting tourist attractions. This is a group of rock-cut sculptures in the mountain near Janwal village of Kalyan region. They are very easily accessible from the National Highway-3. These caves are dug into hills 4 km outside the village.
Lonad caves in Bhiwandi lie just outskirts to Mumbai. So it is a nice option for a quick one-day trip near Mumbai & Thane. Caves of Lonad are among the 206 spots under the protection of Directorate of Archaeology & Museums. It is one of the popular caves in Maharashtra.
History & Architecture
These caves sculptures date back to 5th to 8th century AD. Buddhist monks were used to live in these caves who traveled from Nala Sopara port on the western coast to Junnar (capital of the Satavahana Empire). Lonad Caves in Bhiwandi exhibits rock cut Buddhist temple sculptures and Hindu sculptures. A chaitya Grih (Large Prayer Hall) is the main sculpture of these caves. The chaitya griha sets to the south-west sides. There are also 2 – 3 rooms which are in an incomplete state. Caves are adorned with the nice designs & stone figures.
The outside verandah is destroyed due to land sliding. There were total 4 nicely carved pillars in Cave. Out of 4 pillars, 1 pillar damaged and others are also in not so good shape right now. There are two sculptures in Lonad caves covered with vermilion powder (sindhoor) and a picture of Gajanan Maharaj. There is also an ancient sculpture filled Ram Temple.
What To See
- 3 square-shaped columns and 2 pilasters at the entrance.
- The temple inside caves complex which has a hall, double verandah along with the incomplete carved idol.
- The inscription of Vessantara Jataka is there on the main beam around a doorway of Lonad caves Bhiwandi. Vessantara Jataka is basically a tale regarding one of the past lives of Lord Buddha.
- There are also flat consoles of the family goddess – Haritti and god of affluence – Panchika. In the recent times, the Buddhist idol of Lonad has been converted into Hindu idol.
- Cave has images of Mahishasura Mardini and Khandeshvari.
- One rock-cut water cistern is there near Chaitya Griha.
- The central doorway takes you to the interior hall and is bordered by images of caryatid Yaksha.
- There is a magnification of Vessantara Jataka on a panel on the right side of the Lonad caves where there are sculptures of king and queen and their council. Vessantara’s father (King) is seating on a high seat amidst courtiers and attendants and determining whether to exile the princess Vessantara.
Lately, this interesting cave-complex has developed cracks due to blasting at an illegal quarry at the base of the hill on which the caves are located. Few people have ruined the sculptures by painting the walls indiscriminately.
Apart from Lonad caves, Shiva Temple in Lonad is also a popular spot. Shiva Temple of Lonad was constructed in the 1st century AD. The local people of Lonad regularly worship the deity of this temple. The temple structure is in bad shape but the inner sanctum is in good condition. You can notice beautiful carvings on the pillars & doorway of the temple. Further, there is a small elevated circular structure in the temple complex.
Other Caves In Maharashtra:
- Elephanta Caves
- Kanheri Caves
- Ajanta Caves
- Ellora Caves
- Aurangabad Caves
- Bahrot Caves
- Pataleshwar Caves
- Kondana Caves
IMPORTANT TOURIST INFORMATION
Timing \ Opening Hours: Caves remains open 24 hours a day.
Time Required: 1 hour is enough to see cave premises properly.
Entry Fee/ Ticket Charges: Not Applicable. Entry is free to everyone.
How To Reach Lonad Caves Bhiwandi
Caves are just 29 km away from Thane & 47 km from Mumbai. You can easily reach there via Mumbai –Agra (NH-3) Highway through Bhiwandi bypass. After crossing Kalyan-Bhiwandi junction on NH-3 there is a right diversion 10 km ahead at Yewai Village. This right turn is just before HP Petrol Pump. Then proceed via that turn till caves. You can also reach there via Sonale-Bapgaon Road instead of Yewai Village. Sonale-Bapgaon Road is 2.8 km ahead of Kalyan-Bhiwandi junction on the right side towards Nashik direction.
- By Road: It is possible to reach Lonad Caves in Bhiwandi by taking an ST bus from Bhiwandi or Kalyan. Caves are 11 km away from Kalyan & 17 km from Bhiwandi city.
- Nearest Railway Station: Kalyan is the nearest railway station to reach here. ST buses are available from the station to Lonad. You can also catch private vehicles from the station.
- Nearest Airport: Mumbai airport is the nearest airport to Lonad. The distance between caves & airport is about 47 km.
Restaurants Nearby: There are plenty of dhabas and hotels on Mumbai –Agra (NH-3) Road and Bhiwandi-Kalyan road. You can have your food at any hotel of your choice!
Accommodation / Staying Options: It is one-day trip from Mumbai or Thane so actually there is no need to find a hotel.
Map To Reach:
A trip to Lonad caves Bhiwandi and Shiva temple can be easily achieved within 1 day from Mumbai as well as from Nashik. It is a good place to spend some time with family & friends!