A Walk around the breath-taking Bedse Caves
Situated at Maval Taluka in Pune, Maharashtra, the Bedse Caves or the Bedsa Caves are a group of Buddhist rock-cut monuments at about a distance of 9 km from the Bhaja Caves. The Satvahana period of the 1st century BC can be traced from these caves. Notable locations to visit these caves are Rajgir, Sankassa, Shravasti, and Vaishali. Places like Amaravathi Chandavaram Devadaha, Gaya Kapilavastu Kesaria, Kosambi Nalanda Pataliputra, and Pava Varanasi also attract tourists of Pune.
A Brief About the Bedse Caves
Chaitya and Vihara are the two caves of Bedsa. Chaitya is well known for the large Stupa and is considered to be the prayer hall of those times. On the other hand, Vihara, the second cave is a monastery. Popularly known as Chaitya arch motifs, the decorative gavashkas mark the Vihara with stunning looks.
The Holy Hall of Prayers
The hall of prayers or the chaitya hall is led by a narrow rocky path into the caves. The verandah facing the north has two pairs of columns which are elaborately dotted with horses and respective riders at their respective capitals. It is considered to be of “solemn grandeur”. Besides these, the walls of the chaitya are marked with low-relief gavakshas and latticework representing architectural railings. In contrast to this, the chaitya hall itself is lightly decorated with simple octagonal columns. The decorative ribs on the roof made actually with wood are lost now. Unlike Bedsa, other caves have stone replicating wooden architecture.
Vihara – The Monastery
The vihara has a typical unusual shape. The main chamber resembles a chaitya, with a rectangular plan and a rounded apsidal far end, with a vaulted roof at the top. This monastery originally had a wooden screen that marked its boundary. But later on the screen has been theft and the monastery lies open to the outside. Approximately nine doors with a relief chaitya-arch surround the Vihara from all sides.
Other Attractions around Bedse Caves
Other attractions include a small stupa just outside the main caves. Until around 1861 the caves were regularly maintained – even painted to impress British officers who often visited caves. This has resulted in major loss of the history of our country along with remnants of plaster with murals on it.
When and How to Visit
Facing the east the beauty of this caves are enhanced in early mornings during the sunrise.
Bedse Caves can be reached from Pune via Kamshet. Upon reaching Kamshet Chowk there’s a path that leads straight to Bedse Village where the caves are located. An alternate route is from Somatne-Phata on the Pune-Mumbai NH4 Highway.
Bedse Caves are quite unpopular as a tourist place and one can see that less number of travelers comes to see these caves. The trilogy of the caves (Karla – Bhaje – Bedse) in Mawal Region can’t be completed without Bedse. An easy upward journey through 400 steps leads to the Bedsa caves.
Want to know about the best time to come to see these Bedse Caves? The rainy season! The hills look mesmerizing with beautiful green fauna and flora. Also, many small waterfalls are created that can only be enjoyed during the rainy season.