Karla monastery, (towards) Lonavale, Maharashtra, IN

Raw data

This group of caves is on an opposite hill to the Bhaja caves, 12 km from Lonavala on the Bombay-Poona Road. A feature of the site is the largest Buddhist assembly hall in India. The early excavation and occupation was the first century BCE. Inscriptions suggest occupation mainly by the Mahasanghika sect. Later occupation 4th - 6th centuries CE was by Mahayanas. A good number on inscriptions connect the site to places inside and outside Maharashtra.
See D.C. Ahir, Buddhist Sites and Shrines in India: History, Art and Architecture (Delhi: Inian Books Centre, 2003) p.196.
Inscriptions at the site connect it to merchant donors from the port of Sopara on the west coast of India.

See Himanshu P. Ray, Monastery and guild: Commerce under the Satavahanas (Delhi: Oxford University Press: 1986), p. 60.
Src: IN
Input by: SG, Apr 1, 2009

"Karla and Bhaja Caves - About 15 km outside Lonavla (on the way to Pune) are several Buddhist rock-cut caves and forts worth visiting. From Lonavla you can take an auto or local train to Malavli Station. From Malavli, Bhaja lies on the right side of the tracks and Karla on the left (when facing Pune). From the station you may walk or catch another auto to the base of either of these caves.
The Karla Caves represent the best example of rock-cut architecture in this region, famous for the two rows of decorated pillars that line the main hall. Started by the Hinayana Buddhists in the 1st century BC, these caves were later taken over by the Mahayana sect. […]

"There was another centre of the school [i.e. of the Mahasanghika] at Karle, in the Bombay Presidency […]" - Dutt (1998:63)

Coordinates: 18.7832 N 73.4691 E
Address: Asia, India, Maharashtra, Pune district, 8 km north-east from Lonavala
Age: 120 BC - 10th century AD
Input by: tmciolek Apr 16, 2010

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 17 Sep 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Karla monastery, IN.

General location of the Karla monastery, IN.
Lat 18.783142 Long 73.4701
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Karla monastery - Ahir (2003:196).

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • India:State of Maharashtra

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Karle monastery - Dutt (1998:63)

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 18.783142 Long 73.4701, based on the visual recognition of Karla site in satellite images, maps.google.com - tmciolek, 16 Apr 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

  • Lonavale

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

  • [missing data]

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Mahasanghika - Ahir (2003:196), Dutt (1998:63)

11. Date-early

  • 100 BC and later - Ahir (2003:196).
  • MBM chrono-tag: <=0200 - tmciolek 13 Dec 2012
  • <=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32p 0933-66p 0967-99p dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • 300s AD - Ahir (2003:196).
  • Later occupation 4th - 6th centuries CE was by Mahayanas - Ahir (2003:196).

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag: 0900-32p 0933-66p 0967-99p - tmciolek 13 Dec 2012

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • archaeological, inscriptions, art history

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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