Pataleshwar Caves is a rock-cut cave temple located in the city of Pune in Maharashtra. Pataleshwar Caves also known as Panchaleshvara temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. It was carved out of basalt rock in 8th century A.D during the Rashtrakuta period, Here the shivling is worshipped as Lord Pataleshwar, the God of the Underworld, and the Pataleshwar temple is believed to be cut out of single basalt rock.
There are a number of massive pillars that add to the grandeur of the Pataleshwar Cave temple along with grand statues of Nandi, Sita, Ram, Lakshman, Lakshmi, and Ganesh and an oversized shivalingam under a single roof.
Though Pataleshwar Caves are located amidst a chaotic and congested locality in the outskirts of Pune on downtown Jangli Maharaj Road, it is a very calm and peaceful place. The rock temple at Pataleshwar Caves is actually declared a preserved monument by the Archeological Survey of India and has a cube-shaped sanctum housing the lingam or the Symbol of Lord Pataleshwar.
On each side of the sanctum, there are two smaller cells and in front of it, there is the circular Nandimandapa – a huge umbrella-shaped stone canopy supported by massive square pillars. This Nandimandapa is the unique attraction of Pataleshwar Caves that has fascinated pilgrims and visitors for centuries with its exquisite architecture and craftsmanship.
Best time to visit Pataleshwar Caves
For the location in the outskirts of the city of Pune reaching Pataleshwar Caves any time of the year is not a problem as devotees visit Pataleshwar Caves all around the year and worship the lingam with ghee and yogurt. There is also a large brass hanging just outside Pataleshwar Caves basalt entrance.
Pataleshwar Caves History
Pataleshwar Caves in Pune was left unfinished by the makers possibly because of a fault line that generated at the back of the sanctum sanctorum that made it dangerous for further sculpting though there are also some people who believe that Pataleshwar Caves was left unfinished due to some political reason.