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Lonad Caves and Shiva Temple in Lonad Village near Kalyan

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lonad Caves and Shiva Temple are located in Lonad Village which can be accessed via Bhiwandi and Kalyan. They are located very close to the Mumbai Nashik Highway (NH3) on the Savad Naka to Pise Dam road. Which diverts at the Kalyan junction on NH3.

Lonad Caves near Janwal Village on the Savad N aka to Pise Road

I was initially planning to do Lonad Caves with Michael on the day we went to see Mumbradevi Temple in Mumbra. But had to cancel the plan to a later day.  

We were planning to leave in the morning, but I was caught up blogging about my trip to Tikona Fort in Maval district near Lonavala and hence we had to reschedule it post noon.
Carvings at Lonad Caves
We were deciding if we should go on a shoe string budget or by car. As we were leaving in the afternoon we decided to go by car.
Manohar and Me at the Caves
As decided Manohar and I met at Ghatkopar Railway Station at 2 PM. From there were raced on the Eastern Express Highway. 
Another view of the Lonad Caves
There are two toll naka's on the way. One is at Thane and the other at Mumbra.
Hill area quarried to setup this godown
We then traveled straight on the Mumbai Nashik Highway. We need to take a right at Kalyan junction. Onto the Savad Naka to Pise Dam road.
Newly constructed Datta Mandir at the foothills of Lonad Caves

In about 5 KM, we will reach the village Janwal. Opposite the village is a cemented trail which goes uphill. There is a newly constructed Datta Mandir here. We traveled by the cemented road for a couple of minutes and finally reached the Lonad Caves.
Cemented road till Lonad Caves
First thing I noticed here, is that the hills was quarried and now a huge go down is built here by a logistics company. 
Braked for Tea and Snacks
The caves has a verandah in front of them. One of the four pillars is broken, but one of them was beautifully carved, so maybe the others were carved too. Over time they have become like this.
Shiva Temple at Lonad Caves
There is only one Cave here. This is a Buddhist cave as it had carvings on it. This is a Chaitya or Prayer Hall. No sign of Stupa nor Vihara or dwelling room here. One one side of the cave is a water tank cut in the rocks and on the other side is a huge carving painted in orange. The cave is now a temple, prayer services are conducted here. There is a orange colored flag swaying in the wind above. I guess that is highest point on the hillock. No other caves around. 
Carvings above the Main Doorway to the inner sanctum

In the rains there should be a waterfall happening at the entrance of the caves. 
Inner Sanctum of Shiva Temple

History states that these caves were built in the 5th century for monks who traveled from the port of Nala Sopara on the western coast to Junnar, which was the capital of the Satavahana Empire. 
Carvings on the wall
We traveled back by the cemented road to the Savad Naka to Pise Dam road, asked a couple of locals about the Shiva Temple at Lonad Village. We stopped to have tea at a street side vendor and he provided us with directions to Shiva Temple.
Backdrop of Shiva Temple
Shiva Temple was built in 1st century AD. The temple is in use by the locals of Lonad. The outer structure of the temple is in ruins but the inner sanctum is still intact. The pillars of the temple are beautifully carved. The doorway leading to the inner sanctum is beautifully carved too. It reminded me of the Shiva Temple in Ambernath. Though that temple is in very good shape. There is also a small elevated circular structure in the temple premises. Might have been used as a sundial.
Beautifully carved pillars of Shiva Temple
Behind the temple is a water body, on either side of the temple are houses and opposite the temple is a municipal school. Classes were on, when we visited the temple.

Just wondering what this temple would have been in its hay days, when there was nothing around it.
Rays of the sun falling on the beautifully carved pillars of Shiva Temple
We then went on to see the Pise Dam, as it was the month of March, there was hardly any water flowing from the dam. But we managed to capture this pic of Bhatsa River which supplies water to Mumbai. It was nice and quiet here. The chirping of the birds was music to my ears. The river was calm, which blue skies all around. In a distance we could see palm trees. Wondering if we could camp here. As we have camping on our minds. 
Manohar and Me at Shiva Temple
We then headed over to the Savad Naka to Pise Dam road, to reach the Mumbai Nashik Highway as that road led us home.

We managed to visit Lonad Caves near Janwal, Shiva Temple and banks of Bhatsa River in 5 hours time. The trip costed us Rs.210 each inclusive of travel, toll and light snacks.

Bhatsa River


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