Briefly, this mesmerizing location may look like a dark jail; but when you go a bit near the picture changes. You will see large cave entrances and pillars. The Lenyadri Caves are beautiful caves which can be dated back to several centuries located just at the mountain side. Today we aim to explore this legendary cave in Pune, Maharashtra.
Lenyadri Caves Represents 30 Amazing Buddhist Rock-Cut Caves
Lenyadri caves are in the Junar region of Pune district Maharashtra state. There are 30 caves out of which 26 caves are serially located from east side to west side. The caves numbers six to fourteen are small rooms of worship (chapels) also known as chaity-grihas and rest of the caves are like big houses also known as viharas for Monks. These viharas are crafted in form of cells with a couple of water cisterns crafted from the rocks.
The word Lenyadri is being derived from word Lena which means caves in Marathi and ADRI means stone resistance in Sanskrit. The cave no. seven accommodates Hindu temple dedicated to lord Ganesha i.e. the main attraction of these caves now. This shrine is having eight sets also known as Ashtvinayak in the western part of Maharashtra. These caves are associated to Hinayana sect of the Buddhist religion.
A Little On The History
As the history dates back, these caves belong to 1st century to 3rd century, but the temple of lord Ganesh belongs to 1st century AD. The date when Buddhist cave was converted to Hindu temple is exactly not known. Buddhist created these caves for the purpose of living and praying. Viharas were used for the purpose of living whereas chaitya grihas being used for praying or meditating.
These caves can be reached by road rail or by air. Pune is the nearest airport to reach there. The city is connected to all parts of the country by all modes. From Pune one can take a bus or cab to reach these caves. One can board the bus from Thane in Mumbai too.
The best time to visit these caves is from November to February. Lenyadri caves are situated on the northwest banks of river Kukadi. It is having large steps which are carved to climb and reach the beautiful dark caves. These caves are a combination of spiritual as well as scenic beauty.
There Are Many Places To Visit At Lenyadri Caves.
1. Girijatmaj Temple
One of the famous ashtavinayak temples located in the caves. It is the sixth in ashtavinayak series of eight temples and always remains crowded by the devotees all the year. The idol of Ganesha is said is not man made but is swayambhu, upon reaching you will notice a series of caves like in this range. The hall of this temple is fifty feet wide and sixty feet long carved from single rock with no pillars in between. On way lined up are many monkeys always ready to snatch things from your hands.
The next in this series is Ozar temple of ashtavinayak-vigneshwar- Ganpati at Ozar. The temple was built in 1833 is famous for Deepmala and its golden dome made under the supervision of Chimaji Aapa the brother of Bajirao Peshwa. At the top are 8 different idols depicting ashtvinayak and on extreme top is Vigneshwara Ganpati. The temple has some beautiful carvings at the gate of the temple. Here lie the idols of Yama and Dama and on the back is there is a large courtyard.
3. Shinneri Fort
Being the birthplace of Shivaji Maharaj, it is one of the most significant sites. The fort is very well maintained, and all the spots are well marked. The surroundings are very beautiful.
4. Bhimashankar Temple
The route on way is very cool and jaw dropping. In front of Lord Shiva’s sanctum lies a temple of Shani Devta that has a large bell attached which was gifted by Chimaji Appa in 1729.
The other destinations that are located in close proximity to Lenyadri caves are Bhimshankar wild life sanctuary, Bhimshankar jyotirlingam,Malshej Ghat and Bhandardara hill station. These places are worth seeing. There are several attractive destinations to visit.
Lenyadri caves are a proof of the presence of different religions under one roof that too in utter wilderness. This is totally fascinating, isn’t it?