Pataleshwar Cave Temple – the oldest temple in Pune
Among the old temples of India, Pataleshwar Cave Temple is one such temple that has been built in the 8th century during the period of Rashtrakuta. Previously the temple was outside the boundary of Pune but recently with the extension of the city, the temple has been included in the city of Pune. It is now situated on Jungli Maharaj road downtown. The temple is actually carved out of Basalt rock and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The government of Pune has declared as one of the protected monument. The word Pataleshwar means lord of the underground world. At this temple Lord Shiva is known by this name.
Temple structural design
The temple is a very old one and the structure is ancient and really impressive. The sanctum of the temple houses a Shgiva Linga, which is symbol of creation according to Hindu Mythology. Other smaller rooms are there on both sides of the sanctum. The circular shaped canopy is supported by square pillars and is known as Nandi Mandapa. This structure is unique and the statue of Nandi, the divine ox, carrier of Lord Shiva is a rock cut model. It is believed that if anybody whispers his or her wishes in the ear of Nandi, it is fulfilled.
There are three sanctums in the temple complex. There are statues of Lord Rama, Laxmana and Mother Sita in the other sanctums. The cave lies a bit lower than the level of cave complex and the road giving it a appearance of patal or underground. Although the temple is a beautiful structure built by ancient architectures but it has been left unfinished due to reason. You can see the unfinished part of the complex as you notice the circumambulation path. May be due to some faults of the rock the other parts of the temple are left unfinished. The huge cave complex houses a garden and the walls of the cave have been depicted with Hindu mythological stories.
Main attractions of the cave
The temple itself is attractive with its unique features and is the best place to visit in Pune. It is something that would provide the metropolitan people a break from the hazardous regular life. The walls speaking stories of ancient mythology, the jarring electric lights, the enchanting environment altogether makes it exclusive. Major attractions are:
- The umbrella cut structure with massive pillars
- exceptional structure of the rock cut cave
- The unique sound of the hanging temple bell
- And finally the grain of rice on which 5000 letters have been illustrated
Reaching Pataleshwar Cave Temple
The airport of Pune is well connected with major cities of India is the nearest airport of Pune. Autos and cabs are available from here that would to the cave temple located in Jungli Maharaj road. The neatest railhead is Pune railway station. Local buses and autos are available that would take to the cave temple via Wellesley Road. Pune is also good in road connectivity and Nasik is at a distance of 208 km while Mumbai is just 147 km from the city of Pune.
Nearby places to visit
If you are planning to visit this awesome cave temple then you can also visit some other nearby places. Other places of interests are:
- Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park
- Jungli Maharaj Temple
- Shaniwar Wada
- Vishrambaug Samaj Mandir
The temple cave is almost 1300 years old and there is the Archeological Survey of India, Pune Department that stands just adjacent to it. The shiv linga is worshipped daily with yogurt and ghee. There is also a temple bell made of brass that hangs from the ceiling and devotees ring it while entering the temple. The Pataleshwar Cave Temple is also known as Bhamburde temple. As per the Hindu mythology it is said that the temple was carved by the Pandavas while they were spending their life in exile and was in need of a shelter. The temple is awesome and devotees come here to get some spiritual peace by connecting with the divine. Visitors are allowed to enter the temple from 8 in the morning till 5 in the evening.