Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Trip To Bedse Caves, One Of The Greatest Trips I Ever Had

Bedse caves near Pune is a tourist place very few people know. It is comparatively closer to Pune as well. The internet mentioned only a couple of Budhist caves there and nothing else. So on the morning of 24th July, Sunday, 2011, we started on our bikes thinking it will be just one of those short trips, just to break the monotony of the daily life. But when we reached there we found out internet barely did any justice to the place. And it became one of the best trips I have ever had.

Bedse Caves are about 45 Kilometers from Pune in Bedse Village and on the old Pune-Mumbai highway (National Highway 4). So after we started off from Wakad , we took the road to Nigdi and was soon on the NH4. It started raining after about 15 minutes on the highway and it made the journey interesting. We were hoping for rain and got loads of it. Had to stop quite a few times because of heavy rain but the scenic beauty on both sides of the roads was awesome so it was really enjoyable. Clouds hovering over distant hills are my all time favorites and we got plenty of it on the way to Bedse caves.

hill on the way to Bedse caves

Going straight along the highway for around an hour or so we reached Kamshet chowk. We had to take a left from there and went under a metal arch. Road was bad from there and Bedse village is around 9 KM on the inside. On the way towards village the scenic beauty of the route was mind blowing. The hills had come down to the roads at some places and at some places it really felt like we were riding through the lap of nature. Rains kept the hills lush green and the waterfalls gushing. There is a ghat called Bore Ghat on the way to village which is one of the most beautiful ghats I have ever seen. The roadsides can be great picnic spots if one is interested.

After the sign of Bedse village, the village is another 1.5-2 KMS inside from the main road and you have to do some off-roading over there. Once we reached the village we parked our bikes outside a temple. The road towards the hill starts just to the right. There is no designated road from the temple to the foot of the village and sometimes non-existent. We had to walk through mud and water to reach the foot of the hill. There are farms on the both side of the muddy road. The view of the distance hills from here was quite breathtaking. The waterfalls coming down from the top of the hills makes one feel like running to that place.

waterfall at bedse caves

After reaching the foot of the hill, there are well laid out stairs to the top making the climb quite easy. We were at the top in 20 minutes. However there are small waterfalls and lush greenery on both sides of the stairs (thanks to the rainy season) so we stopped and took in some of that beauty as well. I strongly suggest visiting Bedse Caves during the rainy season. Otherwise I am pretty sure you will miss at least 60% of its charm. The water is drinkable as well. These small waterfalls can be tracked back upwards to some extent as we did but the rocks being wet and slippery you have to be extremely careful.

Chaitya at bedse caves

There are two caves at the top. One is a ‘Chaitya’ or meditation room and the other is ‘Vihara’ or quarters of the Buddhist monks. The Chaitya has very close resemblance to the Buddhist architecture seen in Ajanta caves. The sculptural prowess is just as graceful and attention to minuscule details just as scrupulous. The cave and surroundings are litter free as not many tourists visit these Caves. The meditation room really calms the mind and makes one feel he is thousand miles away from civilization. If you really want to meditate, it is the place for it. Next to the ‘Chaitya’ is the ‘Vihara’. There are 9 small rooms 7 of which accommodate 2 persons each. It is almost unbelievable that people can stay in such places day in, day out only meditating and thinking of Lord Buddha. And it shows what the human mind and body can achieve once it has set its mind upon something.

a small stupa

There is a small ‘Stupa’ next to the ‘Chaitya’. Small statues and interesting carvings are visible in and around the meditation cave. They resemble the ‘Kinnar’ and ‘Gandharva’ statues of the Ellora caves in Aurangabad . However according to local legend, many of the carvings were destroyed due to human foolishness. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it-“Until around 1861 the caves were regularly maintained – 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.”

The view of the valley from the top of the hill is breathtaking. The constant drizzle made it look even better. One can stand there for hours and feast his eyes on this splendid scenery. I was certainly feeling like going to the top of those hills and sitting there for hours. It reminded me that mother nature has given us so much to cherish but we spend our days running after goals that do not really matter, and leave a bad taste in our mouths even as we achieve them. Rain was coming down with full force by that time so we decided to delay our return. We went inside the small rooms of the Vihara and sat on the rocky beds that belonged to the people who created these caves from nothing many thousand years ago. We were lucky to feel a little of what they might have felt spending their time there on those stony beds, talking among themselves and listening to the rain drops outside.

beautiful view from atop the hill

On the way down we almost camped at a small waterfall. The water was fresh and warm, the force was strong and letting it flow over our legs was utterly satisfying. Not bringing extra clothes was lamented as we really wanted to roll into the flowing water. We spent considerable time there as our legs were pretty tired. Just sitting on the rocks and dipping our feet into the flowing water did wonders. I ventured a little upward to find the root of the stream, but thick foliage prevented my climb in short course. The rain had slowed down to a drizzle by that time and chirping of birds had started. The calmness,pleasure and relaxation almost hypnotized me. I started to feel if there was ever any nice way to die, it will be sitting here like this and slowly drifting of to that eternal sleep. Alas! all good things must come to an end and so was this beautiful trip was coming to. We started descending drenched on the outside but warm inside, tired but satisfied, hungry but calm. The descent was a little difficult as the stairs were slippery from constant water flow over them. But we were at the foot of the hill pretty quickly.

mangal murti morya idol

It would have been nice if our trip experiences ended there. But that day had something else to offer. On the way back through NH4 , to the right of the road there is a Ganapati temple made by the Birlas. We decided to pay a visit to that as well. The statue situated at the top of a small hill. Ganapati here is called ‘Mangalmurti Morya’. The statue is huge and the detailing are unbelievable. According to the notes there, the statue took 2 years to finish. As ‘9’ is considered lucky and auspicious number in Hindu Religion, the statue is 72 feet tall(7+2=9), the seat of the statue is 18 feet high(1+8=9) and the seat is 45 feet in width(4+5=9). It is a really nice place to spend your evening at. The unhindered 360 degree view of the city below is something to cherish as well. We spent around half an hour there before deciding it was really time to leave.

Evening fell as we rode into our places. It was time for a little snack and to start preparing for next day which was a Monday of course. But even as I got busy in my daily chores, I knew inside that, that day I saw a rare beauty of the nature that I will remember for a long time to come.

How To Establish Google Authorship Markup For Your Blog

Not too long ago I was trying to establish Google Authorship Markup for my blog. I always think that author information and picture in Google result is a pretty cool way to feature yourself and and your blog/website. But when I set out to do that, I hit a number of roadblocks. The primary problem that I faced was that there were not too many tutorials that listed the steps in a simple manner.

Almost all the articles that I found were encumbered with too much detail. It felt like a
ll of those article writers were somehow trying to establish how complicated this thing was. It is almost like they do not want to share such a treasured piece of knowledge on the internet. But since they are being compelled to do exactly that, they are trying to be as vague as possible. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who just wants to establish the markup and not know the inner workings of Google.

I have finally established the Markup for my blog (Thank God) and now intend to write a simple step by step tutorial for people who wish to do the same. It is a basic tutorial without any unimportant explanation of the technique. All you have to do is follow the steps exactly as they are listed here. If you want to know about it in detail, I am pretty sure you will have no shortage of information on the internet. So, here it goes:

There are multiple ways to establish authorship markup for your blog.

1) 3 Link Method 

3 Link

2) 2 Link Method

2 Link

3) Email Verification Method

email method

I personally prefer the 2 Link Method so let’s start with that:

2 Link Method:

a) Visit your Google Plus profile page and add a picture of yours. This is the picture you wish to see in search results.

b) Go to Profile -> Add Links -> Contributor To and add your Blog Homepage URL.

Contributor to

c) Copy your Google Plus Profile URL it should look like this. Make sure the URL has unique 21 numbers. That is your ID.

profile URL

d) Visit the Author Biography page of your blog. I am assuming your blog has a Author Bio Snippet on each content page.

e) Add the following link inside the Author Bio snippet:

<a href="https://plus.google.com/121212121212121212121?rel=author">Google+</a>

Replace "121212121212121212121" with your Google Plus profile ID.

3 Link Method:

a) Follow steps a) through c) mentioned above.

b) Add the following code to your Author Bio snippet:

<a href="https://plus.google.com/111111111111111111111?rel=author">Google+</a>

Replace "121212121212121212121" with your Google Plus profile ID. 

Notice "rel = author" has changed to "rel = me"

c) Edit the source code of Author Bio on each content page with:

<a href=”{AuthorBiographyPageURL}” rel=”author”>Author Name</a>

 

Email Verification Method:

Note: This method only works if you have an email address hosted on the same domain s your blog. So if your blog is “WWW.ABC.COM” your email address needs to be “SOMEONE@ABC.COM”.

a) Make sure each content page of your blog has By “Your Name” in it. The name has to be identical with your Google Plus profile name. Hyperlink your email address to the author name in the manner shown above. You do not need “rel = me” or “rel = author”.

b) Follow this link. Add your email address to the field and click on “Sign up for Authorship”.

authorship email verification

c) Once you get a mail from Google, click on the provided link for verification. You will also get an option to add the Blog domain to the “Contributor To” section.

Once you have implemented authorship for your blog, it is time to check if it is working or not. Go to Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool to find out. Put the URL of a content page there and click “Preview”.

authorship testing

If the result looks like above then you have successfully implemented Authorship Markup for your blog. If the results show a lot of red or do not look like this, go over the instructions again and find out what went wrong.

It might take a while for your picture to show up in Google results. Exactly how much time? Nobody knows. For some people it appeared within a few days while it took almost 6 months for some people. Give it at least a month or two. If it still does not work, try changing your picture. It is known to work for some people. Remember all you need to do is follow the step as it is. All the best!