Pataleshwar Cave Temple

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Timings : All days of the week: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Time Required : 1 to 2 hours

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

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Pataleshwar cave temple, Pune Overview

Situated on the Jangli Maharaj Road in Pune, Pataleshwar Cave Temple is enshrined by Lord Pataleshwar- the God of the Underworld, who is a form of Lord Shiva. Carved out of a single magnanimous rock, this spellbinding monolithic find is located right in the heart of the city and is a revered Hindu shrine which is thronged by hundreds of devotees and pilgrims on an everyday basis. What is more, the temple has an exuberant architecture with elaborate carvings on the walls and miniature paintings. Other than Lord Shiva, the temple is also dedicated to Nandi and has idols of other Hindu gods and goddesses as well including Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshmi, Lakshman, Ganesh etc. The construction of the temple was inspired by the majestic Elephanta Caves but it was left incomplete. For the same reason, the temple has no real entrance; the only major entrance iis next to a banyan tree in the courtyard. The temple is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

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Etymology of Pataleshwar Temple

Pataleshwar Temple is dedicated to and named after Lord Pataleshwar which is another name for Lord Shiva. The word ‘Pataleshwar’ translates to Lord of the Underworld i.e. ‘Patal’ meaning ‘Underworld’ and ‘Ishwar’ meaning ‘Lord’. The temple is also known by the names of Panchaleshwar or Bhamburde. It is also believed in the mythologies that the temple was built in just a few hours by the Pandavas when they were exiled and needed shelter.

History of Pataleshwar Temple

The temple is also known by the name of Panchaleshwar or Bhamburde and is believed to have been built during the Rashtrakuta Period, sometime between 8th and 9th Century AD from a monolithic excavation. It was carved out of a single rock and was aimed to be constructed like the magnificent Elephanta Caves. The cave temple also bears strikingly similar architectural patterns also to the Ellora Caves near Aurangabad.

Architecture of Pataleshwar Temple

The Pataleshwar Temple has been carved out from a huge basalt rock with several enormous pillars to support the roof. There is a massive circular stone, a stone Shivalinga i.e. phallus of Lord Shiva, a statue of Nandi the bull etc. Once inside, you will be awed to watch a beautiful rotunda roof backed by finely crafted pillars leading to the central section which is the Nandi Mandapa. The Nandi Mandapa is enshrined by the vehicle of Lord Shiva- the bull with the name Nandi. Right in front of this Mandapa is a small dainty cave where the Shivalinga has been installed. This cave is flanked by tinier cave like structures on the side which has idols and statues including Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Lakshmi and Hanuman etc.

Museum at Pataleshwar Temple

The Pataleshwar Temple also has a tiny make believe museum that houses a single grain of rice. This grain of rice is known to have 5000 letters inscribed on it. For the same reason, it finds a place in the Guiness Book of Records.

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