Monday, July 09, 2007

Waterfall Rappelling at Kondana Caves !

Set in the valley of the Ulhas, at the foot of the magnificent Rajmachi, is this charming group of 8 Buddhist caves of the Hinayana Buddhist tradition and a small tank of water. While most of them are simple Viharas and caves in less than superb condition, the highlight of this settlement is the enormous Chaitya we first see as we approach.

A massive doorway with intricate carvings, a stupa flanked with the pillars typical from that era and interesting sculptures of dancing men and women are the highlight of this location. The style of carvings, and the octagonal design of pillars suggests that this cave may have been created some time around 200 BC - 100BC.This cave group brings to life a world of its own in the monsoons, when the unrelenting rain and misty weather turn it into a world of rich green visions from a period when it may have been inhabited. A waterfall forms a curtain of water isolating this world in our imagination further from the rest of the region as we view it through a veil of water. It is believed that during an earthquake in the early 1900s, a large portion of the front, floor and stupas were damaged, leaving the pillars in the chaitya suspended like huge stalactites from the ceiling.
I boarded the private Mini Bus from Dadar near Chitra Cinema. We reached the Kondivade village near Karjat by 10:30 AM and set off for the caves, accompanied by the Nature and Adventure experts from "The Explorers". This was an easy hike-and-nature-trail. We reached the top of the cave from a path which cuts left a short distance before the regular path. We had some time for rest and then started the waterfall rappelling activity.


While descending from the rope the scene down there was fantastic, it really gave a very different view of the beautiful Hinayanpanthiya Caves. The other visitors near the caves were cheering from down below and then came to congratulate everyone who came down rappeling as if we were back from a journey to the Moon.

After clicking a couple of photographs, we returned for a late, but huge lunch, followed by some free time to digest it. We headed back home around 6:30 pm but due to a flat tyre we were stranded neat Karjat. We utilised the extra time by chit-chatting and sipping hot tea at a small dhaba kind of a place near Karjat and were back in Mumbai (Dadar) around 10:30pm.

To enjoy the pictorial journey please visit my online album on :
http://picasaweb.google.com/harishdixit/kondanacaves

Cheers !
Harish.

2 comments:

soni said...

Hey....Harish,

Too good yar.
Keep going like this.

Regards,
Bhakti Baandal.

anish said...

hey gud one dude...finally pics are on the post...shakaal wala bhi daal diya tune. :)