Something that has been standing for 2,300 years, against rain, storm, wild wind and traveler invasion, tells stories while you are enchanted by it. The determination and artistic of the creator of these ancient caves amazed me. With too little technologies and advance tools, the labors of Bedse Caves carved the one great mountain rock into several chambers and halls with graceful willpower and strength.
Bedse Caves or Bedsa Caves is situated on the mountain in Maval taluka near Pune. As per the locals, the caves are made during 200 BC by the Buddhist monks. The craftsmen were said to come from China and Tibet. Later during the time of Ashoka the Great, Ashoka had contributed in the making Bedse Caves by adding 4 front pillars and stone crafting in prayer hall. Bedse Caves is not as popular as Bhaja Caves and Karla Caves though these 3 caves had close historical relationship. It also had a link to the great Ajanta Caves we visited when Yaseen was younger. Less people visited, Bedse Caves is less crowded, clean and perfect for a peaceful hike.
How to get there
From Pune, take old national highway toward Mumbai. Take a left at Kamshet and drive straight toward Pawna dam. After crossing under the Pune-Mumbai Express Highway, drive further about 7 km.
You may notice the board written in local language on your left. Take a right on a small road toward Bedsa Village. The road is pretty narrow and rough so be patient and enjoy the greenery on both sides.
Park your vehicle at Bedsa village, the base village of Bedse Caves, and follow the trail toward the caves. The place is pretty remote and rustic so there is no shop or restaurant available. Make sure you have water and everything you need before hiking up.
The steps at the foothill leading toward Bedsa Caves are about 1-2 km away from the village. During rainy season, the road turns muddy but the landscapes are beautiful. Velvety green leaves fill farm plots, cold water running in the streams, wild flowers and fresh leaves decorate the trail beautifully.
Rainy season is absolutely the best time to visit the caves. The air is fresh and cool, making the hike very enjoyable.
There is water pouring down from the moutian, creating beautiful waterfalls, running down the cliffs and to the farmland.
Some part of the trail is broken and flooded by powerful force of natural water. It’s cold and sparkling. We saw few village kids enjoying the splash on the other side.
The steps toward the caves are in great condition, making it very safe for hiking up. The only problem you need to be worry about is the rock being quite slippery because of the rain.
Along the steps, there are exhibitions of beautiful nature…
As you ascend, it becomes more sceneric, quiet and peaceful…
And water continue dripping down from the rock.
There’re a lot of spot to rest and take pictures,
and wild jasmine cent seems to linger in the air.
There are places the man-made steps couldn’t contain the nature force; the waterfall broke in the path, flushing down the mountain.
It’s an easy hike. 20 minutes later, we were at the entrance of the caves.
And suddenly, the layout of the caves took our breath away.
There is a stupa on the other side of the prayer hall,
and some ancient language is printed in the stone wall.
And this is the prayer hall. It was made out of one solid rock.
This beautiful crafting were said to be made in the time of Ashoka the Great.
Exquisite sculptures on such height…
with seamless strokes…
Impressive design of the prayer hall entrance
Inside the prayer hall, there are 26 pillars lined perfectly straight on both sides and a great stupa in the middle.
The wooden flower was added to the top of the stupa later during the time of Ashoka.
There are symbols carved on the rock pillars near the stupa with meaningful and powerful history behind them.
The morning light played a beautiful effect in the prayer hall, so graceful and tranquil.
We came across an architectural genius where the stone window allowed the light to pass inside the hall without being visible from the outside.
Next to the prayer hall, the vihara hall, the residential hall, served as home to the monks with 9 chambers feeding inside the stonewall, furnished with simple stone beds. It embraced light and the views of the green plain below and the surrounding hills across the sky.
One of the common and significant designs of Bedse Caves is the petal sharing flowers design.
The works were thoughtful and skillfully made in details, having perfect symmetric arrangement.
Bedse Caves are unpretentious, praising the glorious approval of nature, an architecture genius and engineering art.
The views from the caves itself were thoughtfully selected to present the nature most beautiful angle.
While stepping down, we scenery surfaced in an apparent air, picturing rich farmlands and flourishing moisture in the ground.
Visiting Bedse Caves is a humble experience. We not only learned a lot about history from the locals, but found within ourselves the inspiration to create something big and left for the world. Many great generation left something for us, grace, scar, knowlegde, arts, and something like these beautiful caves… Now, what are we going to leave for the world?