Bedse Caves, Kamshet, India

Day 2:

The Bedse caves are one of the smaller cave complexes around the Lonavala area, it consists of one tall, and well decorated, Chaitya hall, one large vihāra, each room of which contains one or two stone beds, and some smaller chaitya and vihāra caves, and cisterns.

The Bedse caves are less visited than some of the better-known cave groups in this area. At the foot of the hill is a broken down ticket-booth which was not in operation, probably because of lack of custom, and there was no charge for entry.

The main site is quite a steep walk up the hill, but with good views out over the countryside, so it was possible to stop and rest on the way up, and absorb the atmosphere of the sleepy countryside. This is one of the smaller sites in the area, but by no means the smallest, as there are a number of isolated cells with no Chaitya around also.

Bedse has only two major caves: the Chaitya hall and a vihāra for the monks. The Chaitya hall is carved directly out of the hill, and has very elaborate carving at the entrance way, but inside the hall itself it is quite plain, with columns of either side and a simple chaitya at the end of the apse.

The main vihāra is a large open structure, rounded at the entrance, like the Chaitya hall, with around eight cells. Inside they had stone beds, sometimes one, sometimes two. The vihāra shows signs of Hindu encroachment, as part of the back wall had been carved with figures of deities, and was covered with saffron paste where offerings had been made.

Only a caretaker and his friend were there during our visit, and I don’t think the site is properly protected or maintained, but it is also not in bad condition, perhaps saved by its remoteness. As the site was very quiet and suitable, we spent some time there for meditation, which seemed to evoke times gone by.




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