Pataleshawar Cave Temple, Pune, Maharashtra

The Pataleshawar cave Temple is a famous rock-cut cave temple located in the heart of Pune city (Though the main shrine was originally built outside the Pune city but due to expansion of the city limit the temple is considered to be a part of the city), Maharashtra. The temple also known as Panchaleshvara or Bamburde was built in the 8th century and dedicated to Lord Shiva. The rock-cut ancient temple features a Shiva linga, a circular Nandi Mandapa and massive pillars. The Pataleshwar temple is considered to be one of the most venerated temples of Shiva and enormous devotees often flock down the premises to offer prayer to the Lord. Due to its importance and historical significance, the sacred temple has been declared as protected monument by the Govt. of India.

The temple is an epitome of rock-cut architecture dated back to the 8th century. It was erected under the supervision of many  architects and bears resemblances to that of the famous Elephanta Caves. The temple is carved out from basalt rock and houses a cube shaped Sactrum placed on each side. The Sacred Shiva linga is positioned inside the sactrum. A circular Nandi mandapa with umbrella shaped canopy found in front of the cave temple reflects the acute sense of art and sculpture. Supported by massive pillars and columns, structural design of the temple is quite delicate and awe-inspiring. Most of the rocks and bricks that used in the cave temple dates back to the 700-800 AD. One can also find beautiful decorations and artifacts of lord Rama and his brother Laxman along with other deities.  The cave temple also includes a museum comprising old manuscripts and various sculptures. Though the temple was left incomplete due the fault line found at the back of sanctum and which made the further sculpting unsafe. But still the sacred linga is anointed with ghee and yogurt.

The tourists can visit the temple anytime during the day. The cave temple remains open to the tourists from the morning 8am to the evening 5:30. It is a piece of advice for the tourists not to visit the location during the summer and rainy season as scorching hot and sudden cloudburst often take place and left everything drenched. The post monsoon weather especially in between the months October to March is ideal to visit the temple as weather remains pleasant and leads no sudden downpours. Tourists can also go to Jangali Maharajah temple located near to the temple and dedicated to Hindu ascetic. As the temple is declared as protected monument, tourists visiting the place will have to be a little careful and any kind of photography is strictly prohibited inside the shrine. Tourists are also requested not to spoil the environment by throwing wrapper, food wastes, fruit peels and water bottles etc inside the protected area.