In the 8th century in the Rashtrakuta Period, a massive basalt rock in India was carved by the Pandavas into what has become the awe-inspiring Pataleshwar Cave. The monolith is also known locally as Panchaleshvara or Bamburde Temple and is dedicated to Lord Pataleshwar, the God of the Underworld. Pataleshwar is one of the 1,008 names paying tribute to Lord Shiva (“Auspicious One”). The stone cave in Shivaji Nagar is one of the oldest monuments in Pune, Maharasthra. Although left incomplete and now an ancient remnant in a bustling city, it is a massive achievement celebrated with important festivals. Pataleshwar Cave Temple is often compared to the more popular Vivekananda Rock in Kanyakumari in terms of magnificence. Learn more about this singular monument with a guide to Pataleshwar Cave Temple, Pune.
Things to do / Highlights
Jangli Maharaj Temple
The samadhi (funerary monument) of Sri Jangli Maharaj and Pataleshwar Cave are within the Shriller Jangli Maharaj Mandir campus in Shivaji Nagar. You may witness rituals and worship being conducted when you visit. It is a quiet place dedicated to the spiritual sage Sadguru Jangai Maharaj who lived in Pune in the 18th century. The temple invites meditation and reflection, and many who visit the Marathi temple find themselves wanting to return.
The complex is lower than the level of the road, and you can sit down on the lawns and under the trees in a relaxing environment. The site is protected, and the entire complex is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. A massive rounded canopy and square pillars of Nandi Mandap dominate the courtyard. Nandi Mandap is a circular black stone structure with an umbrella-shaped canopy and sturdy square pillars. It is dedicated to the divine bull Nandi, Lord Shiva’s vahan (vehicle). Nandi is the mount of Shiva and the gate guardian of Shiva’s abode, Kailasa.
The temple, made of basalt rock, is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The sanctum—a cube-shaped room about 3 to 4 meters (10 - 13 ft) on each side—houses a linga (the symbol of Shiva), and there are two smaller cells on each side. Pataleshwar Cave Temple is beyond a small gate, and you will know you are inside the cave because of a sudden drop in temperature. The rectangular space is a welcome respite from the persistent heat of the sun. The roof of the cave is supported by stone pillars. The walls present intricate designs, some of which remain unfinished. The cave has three sanctums in all, with the two smaller temples located on either side of the biggest one. Shiva Temple is a square structure measuring about 3 to 4 meters (10 - 13 ft) per side. It is situated at the center of the cave and is the main shrine. It houses a Shiva lingam (linga), which is an abstract representation of the deity and is considered evidence of the existence of God. The Shiva lingam in the cave’s sanctum sanctorum is the primary cult image of the temple. Within the cave, pilgrims and visitors will find likenesses of other Hindu deities, including Lord Ganesh, Lord Ram, Lord Lakshman, Goddess Lakshmi, and Goddess Sita.
Grain of rice with 5,000 letters
The rock wall and roof are reminders of the hugeness of the monolith, but there is another item within the temple that warrants attention. This one is quite small—literally, a grain of rice that was inscribed with 5,000 letters. This grain of rice in Pataleshwar Cave is listed in Guinness World Records.
Mind the provisions of AMASR Act of 1958
You must take to heart the fact that the complex you are visiting and everything within is protected. Any act of vandalism and damage caused to structures and exhibits would entail a specific fine or imprisonment. Respect everything you see lest you face charges under Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958. AMASR Act is implemented strictly by Archaeological Survey of India.
Find serenity beyond busy JM Road
Pataleshwar Temple is open daily from 8am to 5:30pm. It is located on Jangali Maharaj Road, near the bus stop of Jangali Maharaj Mandir. JM Road is a busy thoroughfare, and many find it surprising that a serene and magnificent cave can be found a short distance from it. Yet it is there as it has stood since the 8th century—a place of fortitude and serenity in the midst of a bustling city.
How to get there
From the airport
Shivaji Nagar is a populous locality of Pune. From the airport, you can rent a car or take a taxicab, which will bring you directly to JM Road. It takes an average of 30 minutes to get there.
From the rail station
If you are coming from Pune Railway Station (Pune Junction), you can take a local bus, a taxicab, or a car for a 15-minute ride to Pataleshwar Cave.
From other Pune destinations
Should you happen to be sightseeing elsewhere in Pune and wish to visit Pataleshwar Cave, you can rent a scooter, brave the narrow streets and busy intersections, and park directly in front of the main gate of the temple complex.
Pataleshwar Cave Temple information
Pateleshwar Cave Temple
Address: 1170/15B, Kushabhau Jejurikar Rd, Revenue Colony, Shivajinagar, Pune, Maharashtra 411005, India
Department of tourism: Maharashtra Tourism
Opening hours: 8:30am - 5:30pm (daily)
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