I always love the hills. Even when I am busy with my life in Mumbai I make it a point to visit to the nearby hills which are at lonavala and Khandala. I love going to the Duke’s nose. It named after one of the British governors of erstwhile Mumbai. The pinnacle of the Duke’s nose is locally called Nagphani which means cobra hood. I walked up to the summit from the Khandala station.
When I went to Khandala it was drizzling. Everything was green. I loved the greenery around. The air was fresh. I filled my lungs with the fresh unpolluted air of Khandala. The air from the hills had a great impact upon me. It rejuvenated me.
Just behind the main market area of Lonavala is Ryewood Park. It is one of the popular picnic spots. This is supposed to be a botanical garden. But it is a large park. There are lawns, trees and plenty of open spaces. No wonders it is one of the most popular picnic spots. Many Hindi films have been shot here. Outside the park is an old Christian cemetery. There are more than five hundred years old grave stones here.
Bhushi dam is nestled in the forests of Lonavala. The water running over the steps of the dam creates an interesting waterfall. I sat on this waterfall with my friends. The touch of cold water made me alive again. Such was its impact.
Karla caves abut the Lonavala town. I went there with my friend on his bike. The Karla caves undoubtedly represent the best example of the rock cut caves. They are the best example of the rock cut architecture of this region. They are famous for the two rows of decorated pillars that line the main hall. Their construction was started by the Hinayana Buddhists in the first century. However they were taken over by another sect known as Mahayana. Outside the main hall of these caves stands the temple of Ekvira aai. I went to the temple and prostrated before the Mother Divine.
Then I went to the Bhaja Caves. Bhaja caves date back to the second century. These caves too are very close to Lonavala. Believe me these caves emanate very powerful vibrations. The first cave has lost its outer facade. What remains is the hall with its carved pillars and the stupa in the middle. I sat there and meditated. I found an instant connection with this place. Perhaps I had meditated in this place in some other life time. Such was the impact of the peace which I found in the Bhaja caves.
Till date whenever I think of Bhaja caves I am filled with an unknown peace and serenity. Such has been the impact of visit to Lonavala, Khandala – their green valleys, hills, climates and shrines too.
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