There is a entrance fee of Rs 20/- to visit the caves and forest dept has pitched small tent as collection window. Hope they maintain our heritage.The path to the cave was gradual ascend but we were all walking at our own pace, clicking pictures and with company of Sir Nanabhai who with his knowledge of botany, butterflies and creepy crawlies would share it which was making our walk quite interesting. But also with sun blazing hot after a prolong monsoon was taking toll on our body and we were sweating like hell. Only solace was that we knew the route from base village to the cave can be covered in approx 1hr.
The main cave has large entrance which is shape of fig leaf and supported by curved beams. There are many pillars with a large stupa in the cave. Sir Nanabhai gave quite interesting lecture on the caves and also pointed out that small model of the stupa which was carved on the wall. This model showed how the stupa originally was. There was anther 3D version of stupa in neighboring cave also.
One eye catching thing was life sized statue of a lady coming out of the rock. Alas the face was completely damaged but her hairs and ornaments were neatly carved in the rocks and were intact. Some thing was scribbled in old Pali language close to it but it also sported someone had scribbled own name close to it which was clearly a eye sore and showed our negligence in protecting this beautiful heritage.
Close to the main cave was another cave which might have been a sort of dining hall or kitchen with small rooms carved in the wall. One can clearly see the "BHOR GHATS" from here and we were also lucky to see trains on Mumbai - Pune route passing through the tunnel on the ghats. I must have traveled on that same Mumbai - Pune route but never saw the caves from moving train..... May be next time !!!!
One noticeable thing about the cave it had carved drainage system on the floor to sip out the water from collecting in the cave. The ceilings of the cave had some square design which Nanabhai Sir pointed that it was engineering skill to prevent the cave wall to collapse. So much of engineering in those days !!!
There are other small caves in the complex but that was nothing to watch as they were only chambers cut in the rocks. With our cave exploration complete, we couldn't wait to get in the waterfall. It was welcome respite from the hot and humid climate. We spend some time getting good massage on head and back from falling water and some photo shoot.
With our stomach calling out loud, it was time for lunch of thepla's and ladoos by chef Bharti, Potato sabji by Neha. Now it was time to say adios to Kondana caves, Dr Bharat- one of our adventures leader decided to go all the way to Manoranjan fort alone so he left for the top and we left for the base village. On the way we came across one spectacular moth, something not seen very commonly.
Reaching base village, our tum-tums were ready to take us back to Karjat and from there by train to our homes. It was small and wonderful excursion to a important heritage site, hoping that it remains a heritage site worth a visit in years to come. Hope we all strive to conserve and preserve our heritage.