At a distance of 26 km from Lonavala Railway Station, 20 km from Lohagad Fort and 56 km from Pune, Bedse Caves, also popularly known as Bedsa Caves, are very ancient caves located near Kamshet in the Maval taluk of Pune district. These caves are 2300 years old Buddhist monuments and are considered to be one of the oldest caves in Maharashtra and also one of the top Lonavala places to visit. Bedse caves would complete the trio of Buddhist caves around Lonavala along with Karla Caves and Bhaja caves.
The history of the caves can be traced back up to 1st century BC. The caves have been crafted in the Buddhist style of carvings. There are two main caves- Chaitya (cave-7) and Vihara (cave-11). A beautiful stupa is enshrined in the Chaitya hall. This cave has four 25-feet high pillars that support a ribbed roof. This roof is also supported by orthogonal pillars. The 25 pillars of the main cave are embellished with carvings depicting elephants, horses and bulls. The Vihara or monastery consists of 9 cells and some side cells. Both caves are facing eastwards so it is recommended to visit the caves early morning, as in sunlight the beauty of carvings is enhanced.
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. Until 1861, the caves were regularly maintained and even painted. These works were ordered by local authorities in order to please British officers who often visited caves. This has caused loss of the remnants of plaster with murals on it.
Bedse Caves are comparatively less known and less visited compared to Karla and Bhaja caves. These caves can be reached through 350 steps lying on the sloppy hilly location. These caves are located at Bedse village, visitors need to do 30 min walk from the village. The trail is scenic and offers excellent views of the peaceful village and verdant nature.
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.
Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM.