In the line of cave temples of Ajanta, Karla, Kanheri and Bedse comes our ‘Bhaje caves’ which is known for its majestic and royal gesture till date. The most amazing thing about the caves of Bhaje is its architectural dignity. The design and carving style belongs to 2nd century BC, which is quite unbelievable. This grand monument is located eastwards of Arabian Sea; to say precisely it belongs to Pune district of Maharashtra.
How to reach?
From Pune, a road towards Mumbai called ‘NH4 – Old Mumbai-Pune highway’ can make you reach the destination ‘Bhaje caves’. Travel can be started from Magarpatta of Pune. Head towards Mumbai for about 6 – 7 km. There will be a left exit towards the place called ‘Malvali’, which is before Lonavala. From Malvali, it would be around 2 km to reach the village of Bhaje. From Bhaje, trekking can be started towards Bhaje caves (for around 30 min), which would be simple and easy.
The entire trekking could be amusing as it should be filled with scenic views of valley and beautiful greenery everywhere. So the best time to visit Bhaje caves is during monsoon season (July – October).
About Bhaje Caves
The caves are located approximately 400 feet above the Bhaje village. It is formed as a composition of 22 caves which were carved 2200 years ago. There are totally 14 stupas in the caves. Out of 14, five stupas are inside the caves and 9 outside the caves. The stupas are relics of resident monks, who died at Bhaja, and display an inscription with the names of three monks, Ampinika, Dhammagiri and Sanghdina. And two of the stupas have a relic box on their upper side.
The carvings in Bhaje caves are extravagant because of the elaborate design of headdress, garlands, jewellery, etc., These caves are protected as a national monument by the Archaeological Survey of India vide notification no 2704-A, dated 26/05/1909.
Cave No.12 called ‘Chaityagrha’ is 26 feet 8 inches wide and 59 feet long, with wooden shafts separating the gigantic aisles. The dogoba is 11 feet diameter at the floor. Also some caves have restrooms which might be used by monks. And we can see the staircases connecting to the first floor like carved caves, which even contain windows, pillars and verandah. Then several carvings can be seen all over the caves like Lord Surya riding a chariot, Lord Indra riding on elephant, Tabla playing woman, Dancing woman, etc.,
One more attraction is the presence of waterfall besides the last cave. During monsoon season, broad waterfall can be witnessed here.
The view of the caves along with a silent valley on other side will truly be a mesmerizing one!!