Maharashtra is one of the most culturally and naturally rich states in India. The western state of India is full of forts, caves, natural wonders, waterfalls, hill stations, beaches, lakes, rivers and many other places of attraction. Among these, the caves are amongst the most famous places to explore. There are many caves in Maharashtra, which are important for Buddhists, Hindus and Jains.
Among the many caves, the Lenyadri Caves are among the most renowned caves in Maharashtra. The caves are located near Junnar in the Pune district. Let us explore the Lenyadri Caves - one of the best places to visit near Pune. Junnar is a city which is located around 93 kilometres from Pune.
Lenyadri Caves - Its Rich History and Significance
Lenyadri Caves are a series of 30 Buddhist rock-cut caves constructed between the 1st and 3rd Centuries CE. It belongs to the Hinayana Buddhist tradition. 26 of these caves are numbered individually, facing south and numbered from east to west.
Caves 6 and 14 are Chaitya-grihas i.e chapels for Buddhist worship, while the rest of the caves are Viharas or dwelling places. The Viharas also have several rock-cut water cisterns. They also have one or two sides with two long benches for Occupant’s use.
Cave 7 is the most famous among the caves. It was originally a Buddhist vihara but was later used for worshipping Lord Ganesha. The Ganesha here is one of the Ashtavinayak Shrines i.e the eight prominent Ganesha temples in western Maharashtra. It is one of the most famous religious sites in Maharashtra.
Cave 7: Girijatmaj Ashtavinayak Temple
Cave 7 houses the Girijatmaj Ashtavinayak Temple, one of the 8 prominent temples in Maharashtra. The cave is a Vihara in design i.e an unpillared hall with 20 cells with varying dimensions. The hall is large, measuring 17.37 metres long, 15.54 metres in width and 3.38 metres in height. The Buddhist vihara has now been converted into a sabha - mandapa for the Ganesh temple.
There are 8 flights with 283 steps built in stone masonry that leads to the entrance. These steps represent sensual pleasures, which Lord Ganesha had to overcome. The temple has an elaborate rock-cut veranda with eight pillars.
The Ganesha worshipped in this temple is known as Girijatmaj, which means either, “mountain born” or the “son of Girija or Parvati”. The Ganesha icon is located on the back wall of the cave. The features of the Ganesha icon are least distinct vis a vis the other Ashtavinayak temples.
Weather And Climate
Junnar has a hot semi-arid climate with average temperatures ranging from 19 - 33 degrees. The summers are very hot, with the temperature reaching as high as 42 degrees Celcius during April and May.
The winters can be quite chilly with temperatures reaching as low as 10 degrees Celcius at night, with the average temperature being 26 degrees Celcius. It rains quite a lot during monsoons, with 763 mm of rainfall.
Accommodation Nearby - Yashodhan Agri - Tourism
There are many accommodations in Junnar, but one of the best resorts in Junnar is Yashodhan Agri - Tourism. It is the perfect agro-resort for your weekend getaway near Pune. It is the perfect escape from the monotonous city life. It is nature friendly and surrounded by lush greenery.
The resort offers several types of accommodations such as Royal Swiss Tents, Royal Suites, Dormitory Tents and Dormitory Cottages. It is perfect for hosting weddings and other events as well due to its spacious lawns. It is also near various attractions, including the Lenyadri caves.
Lenyadri Caves is surely one of the best places to visit near Pune. The caves have a rich history and are one of those places that should be on your bucket list! Read our blogs to know more about the various fun getaways near Mumbai and Pune.
Lenyadri Caves - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Where are the Lenyadri Caves Located?
Lenyadri Caves are located in Junnar, in Pune District. Junnar is around 93 kilometres from Pune.
Which Caves Are Chaitya - Grihas?
The Caves Numbered 6 and 14 are the Chaiya - Grihas, or the praying halls for the Buddhists.
Which Cave has the Girijatmaj Ganesh Temple?
Cave No 7 has the Girijatmaj Ganesh Temple. It is one of the Ashtavinayak Ganesh temples i.e the 8 most prominent temples in Maharashtra.
When is the best time to visit Lenyadri Caves?
The best time to visit Lenyadri Caves is during Monsoons and Winters. The summers are really hot. During monsoons, the place becomes full of lush greenery. The weather is chilly and pleasant during monsoons and winters.