Forty years ago, the town of Lonavala (also spelt Lonavla), 110km southeast of Mumbai and 62km northwest of Pune, was a quiet town in the Sahyadri Hills. Since then, the place has mushroomed to cope with hordes of weekenders and second-home owners from the state capital, and is now only of interest as a base for the magnificent Buddhist caves of Karla and Bhaja, some of the finest rock-cut architecture in the northwest of the Deccan region. Though not as impressive as Ajanta and Ellora, they have some beautifully preserved ancient sculpture.

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