Ram Dharan Caves

Ram Dharan
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Ramdharan hill (T. Alibag), on the north side of the Karli pass about five miles north-east of Alibag. has, near the top of its south face, a group of old rock-cut cisterns and cells. The easiest way of getting to the caves is to strike west from the western mouth of the Karli pass. Near the hill top the track is steep and in the dry season the grass is slippery. The caves are perhaps about 800 feet above the sea.


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Winter

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Ramdharan hill (T. Alibag), on the north side of the Karli pass  about five miles north-east of Alibag. has, near the top of its south face, a group of old rock-cut cisterns and cells. The easiest way of getting to the caves is to strike west from the western mouth of the Karli pass. Near the hill top the track is steep and in the dry season the grass is slippery. The caves are perhaps about 800 feet above the sea.
There are altogether twelve small openings, cisterns and cells in a line facing about south-east. Beginning from the west the first is a water-cave or cistern nine feet broad by nine long and seven high. It is plain and open above. The next (II), about two feet further, has a front doorway and measures 5′ 5″ x 7′ x 7′ high. The third (III) is six yards’ further east, a broken opening 7′ 6″ x 4′ 8″ x 5′ high. The fourth (IV) is a large water cave or cistern, 25′ x 12′ x 8′, the roof supported by two roughly square pillars. The rock is bad laterite full of cracks and the front has fallen in. The cave is about half full of water which is famed for its excellence and is said to have saved the life of one of the Angres. About twenty paces further east are a pair of openings.
The first (V) to the west has no door and is entered through a round hole in the east wall. It is 7′ x 4′ 6″ x 5′ 6″ high. The next (VI) into which the last opens has an unfinished doorway. It measures 8′ 9″ x 6′ 10″ x 8′ 6″ high. V and VI seem to be the beginnings of cells. About nine feet further, across a rock in which rough footholds have been cut, are four openings. The first (VII) measures 4′ 10″x 5′ x 9′ 6″ high and seems to have been meant for a water cistern. The next (VIII), which is separated from the last by a wall of rock, is 9′ 3″ x 6′ 7″ x 8′ high at the back and 3′ at the front. The third (IX) is 8′ x 6′ x 6′ high, and the last (X) is 6′ 6″x 5′ x 6′ 10″ high.
The whole are plain without ornament, inscription, or statue. The’ site of the caves is well chosen. It is on one of the passes through which in old times traffic must have set to and from the great seaport of Ceul. It also had the advantage of excellent water, -and of, a third requisite of a settlement of monks, a beautiful view. In front, to the south-east, are the steep slopes of the Karli pass covered with teak. Beyond the pass the broad broken tops of the Karli hills, with thickly wooded hollows and open glades, rise to the flat thinly wooded plateau of Sagargad.
To the north-east, beyond the Karli pass, stretches low rice land brightened by the Nagothana creek, then the flat uplands of Pen, and in the distance the Sahyadri hills. To the south, across the wooded valley of the Dhondane or Alibag river, are the broken crest of Rasani, and, in the distance, the level lines of the Roha and Janjira hills. To the west, beyond a long stretch of rice land broken by trees and ponds, are the broad winding mouth of the Alibag river, the deep green fringe of palms and casuarinas, the island rocks of Kolaba fort, and a wide sea brightened by sails. What seems to have prevented the Ramdharan settlement from rising to importance is the badness of the rock, a brittle laterite crossed by seams of trap. The caves can be seen from the west entrance, to the Karli pass. They are in the black hollow, forty or fifty feet from the hill top, in front of which layers of boulders are laid like a rough staircase.
Ref: Gazetteer department of Government of maharashtra.
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