Pataleshwar Caves

Pataleshwar Cave Temple
- 23 November 2012 -

In downtown Pune, Jangli Maharaj Road, is a small rock temple I set out to go see. It is truly amazing. This entire temple was dug and carved out of a singular basalt rock. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu God of Shiva, the god of the underworld. The temple was built in the eighth century AD, but apparently is incomplete. (thanks Wikipedia).

I took a walk from hotel to see the temple. Using my mobile phone and my recently acquired 3G SIM card, I headed off in the direction of the temple. Although the temple is located in Jangli Maharaj Road, I have yet to see a street sign in Pune, so for me the mobile map is essential. As I approached the site I noticed that there isn't even a board or sign from the road indicating the temple's existence. It is only as you walk into the property you see a sign. I was glad to see the sign because I still wasn't sure if I was at the right place.

In the centre of the carved out pit is a umbrella type structure, with a statue in it. There was a man sitting near on the step just outside it, first I thought he was praying, but as I got closer I saw he was playing with his mobile phone. Clearly technology encapsulates people's lives just as it does back home.

It is true to what I read, although this temple is in the heart of the city, it has a certain calmness about it. You can still here the city around you, but it is peaceful. Local's seem to come here to get away from the chaos, kids and adults alike.

Once you enter the temple you get a strong fragrance of incense burning. There is a bell which is rung when someone comes in to pray. One man that entered also sung chants of worship. When you hear this you truely feel you are in a sacred place.

There are columns of pillars inside. Makes for good photography, but it also reminds you the effort required to sculpt these pillars from a solid rock, the detail is exceptional. I did read on the Internet that this temple cave is of the less detailed and intricate, but to me it is still amazing.

In between the pillars you also find some rock drawings / carvings, I can't say how old they are though.

In the middle of the cave temple you find 2 rooms, one with a shrine and one with a water tap and statue. I don't know enough about Hindu to try and explain how it work, maybe someone can explain the significance to me.

If I lived close by, I would definitely come round here often. Even the trees look old and interesting. The temple is protected by the local government, and unlike the streets just outside, the temple is clean from litter. I'm not sure if someone just cleans up, or if people just respect the temple. I like to think it is the latter.

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