History of Bedse Caves
The historical references say that the caves might be the work of the 1st Century B.C. In the ancient times when these caves were inhabited, the Viharas comprised of nine smaller cells that served as dwellings for the early Buddhist monks. According to legend, the Buddhist monks known as the Bhiku often stayed in the Viharas during the monsoon, which was around 4 months every year. Even after ages the caves continue to enchant the visitors and this speaks for the artistic excellence of the hands that created this work.
Architectural Specifications of Bedse Caves
The caves have been crafted in the Buddhist style of carvings. There are two main caves. The best known cave is the ‘Chaitya’ a prayer hall with comparatively large stupa; the other cave is monastery - Vihara. Both the caves contain some carvings although are less ornate than later caves. Both caves are facing eastwards so it is recommended to visit the caves early morning, as in sunlight the beauty of carvings is enhanced. There is also a small "Stupa" outside to the right of the main caves.
During the British Rule, the caves were maintained properly. Artists with a skillful hand were appointed for painting these caves. This was the situation until around 1861. The British officers who were also the art lovers used to frequent the place. The maintenance of the caves was one of the ways used by the local authorities to please the British officers. The result of this excessive painting in the caves, however, has been the loss of remnants of plaster.
Both the caves, the Viharas and the Chaitya, exhibit astounding and breath-taking stone carvings and architecture. There are five columns designed with simple jewels. There are numerous ancient inscriptions in the caves left by their benefactors. The cave entrance is constructed using two pillars and two columns, each one of these columns are beautified and sculpted with humans and deities with animals like the bull, the horse or the elephant.
Apart from the two caves, there are a lot of minor caves with an additional cave that is primarily meant for meditation. The entire area is cooled naturally by the spring-water tanks that are placed below the caves give a cooling effect.
Nearby Attractions at Bedse Caves
Also close to the Bedse caves are the famous foursome of Lohagad, Visapur, Tung and Tikona forts adjoining the Pawana Dam that can also be visited while trekking to the Bedse Caves.
Best time to visit Bedse Caves
The best time to visit Bedse Caves is the rainy season as the hills are filled with lush greenery during that time. Also many small waterfalls are created that can only be enjoyed during the rainy season.
Accessibility to Bedse Caves
The Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai is the nearest airport which is 110 km from Kamshet. Pune domestic airport is 60 km away from Kamshet. The nearest railhead is Lonavala railway station which is at a distance of 16km. It is connected to Mumbai and Goa. Many Government buses of Maharashtra are operating between Kamshet and many cities nearby.