Whole Sahyadris was now converted into the shades of greens and we were waiting for the weekend to arrive. This time we visit the Buddhist caves of Kondana situated on the mountain of Rajmachi (Karjat – Lonavala region).
These are similar to the cave system of Kanheri (Sanjay Gandhi National Park – Borivali) but are very less in numbers as compared to Kanheri which is having almost 120 caves. Some groups use the wall above these caves for rappelling down as in monsoon it gives one a nice experience of waterfall rappelling. These caves have beautiful carvings which depict some stories of ancient times.
We started off from Dadar (central) in Karjat local at early morning of saturday. After crossing Kalyan everything looked so serene and green. We could see Haji Malang gad, Tavli, Navra-Navri pinnacles, Chanderi, Mhasmal, Vikatgad and Matheran on the right hand side. We soon reached Karjat station and had hot vadapavs with tea. After filling up our empty tummies we went outside the station and called up our tumtum rickshaw wala friend who stays near Karjat station and drives tumtum. If anyone wants his number, please comment here or contact us via the contact details.
The base village for Kondana caves is Kondhivde which is also the base for Rajmachi trek. It’s a 30 mins ride from Karjat station to the base village. We could see Dhak Bahiri and Palasdhari along with other mountain ranges on the way. There is nice river flowing by the village where you can have lot of fun after finishing the trek but be careful as its quite huge and can be risky at times. We enquired a villager for the route and started off for the trek.
Weather was pleasant it was drizzling nicely and the mountains were covered with fog. We could even see the Karjat – Pune railway route which climbs over the hills opposite to Rajmachi. The huge train seemed to be like a small toy train climbing over the mountains. The route to the Kondana caves goes from the main road of the village. After walking for approx 10 minutes you will come across a board sign on left sign which says Kondana caves. Thanks to the Archeological Survey of India to put up this board. Take this left road which becomes narrower after walking few steps. The route goes from the right side of an Emu farm, Yeaah! Emus – huge massive birds similar to ostriches. You can easily spot the Emus inside this farm. The route now starts climbing up gradually and is nicely arrow marked. You can’t get lost here and hence there is no need of taking any villager for route guidance.
The route crosses three or four small streams from which one is quite spacious and has a nice waterfall. We were not lucky to enjoy in these streams as it was not raining heavily yet and so these streams were not flowing in full fledge. We reached the steps of the Kondana caves in less than an hour. We had nice photo session of the caves. There were many trekkers and visitors at this place. Some of them were going to climb up to the Rajmachi and some were going to descend down back like us. Route for Rajmachi goes from the right side of the steps. Its arrow marked and can be easily spotted. Rajmachi is a flat plateau having a small village and twin forts of Shrivardhan and Manoranjan.
After exploration and photography we had our lunch which we carried along with us. We were too fast while ascending as per plan and so we had an hour to do something. We played few games in the caves and then descended down at 1.30 pm. We soon crossed the streams and reached down the base village. Finally when the trek ended it was now raining heavily. We were expecting this rain while trekking uphill. Anyway, we enjoyed those moments. We took a tumtum from Kondhivde to Karjat station and reached station at 3.30 pm. We took CST fast local and reached home with sweet memories from a small trek of Kondana caves.
Kondana caves can be done in any season and is a small trek with no technical difficulties. You can also go there with your family and kids.
To see pictures of Kondana caves trek click here.