Photographer's Note

Pictured here is the Pataleshwar Cave temple located in the city of Pune in Maharashtra, India, which has a long history dating back to the 8th century AD. The word Pataleshwar translates as ‘The God of the underworld/underground’ (Patal = underground, Eshwar = God). A linga, the symbol of Shiva, is housed in the sanctum, which is a cube-shaped room about 3 to 4 metres high.

The basalt construction is believed to have been chiselled out of a single rock. It surely is one of the most obscure of the heritage sites since very little seems to have been recorded about it. The Wikipedia page on Pataleshwar Caves has a few sentences and some photographs and the few blogs that I found do not throw any new light on its origins or history. Another intriguing feature is the presence of several unfinished sculptures on the walls and an unfinished portion of the temple itself. The popular belief that a fault line was found at the back of the sanctum sanctorum, which made additional sculpting unsafe. does not sound very convincing since many of the sculptures are located far from the sanctum.

On entering the cave premises, one also comes across a circular ‘mandapa’, an umbrella shaped canopy supported by twelve massive square shaped stone pillars. This houses a Nandi (Bull) idol mounted on a rectangular seat. I have posted a photo of the idol as a workshop.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) maintains the entire site and there are signs at regular intervals warning people from defacing or destroying the property. But very few people (none that I have met) must know the significance of the temple or what it is all about.

But what made my trip to the temple worthwhile was the absolute calm that prevailed and the feeling of being transported back in time to a different world.

(right click and view image)

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Additional Photos by Satya Ghosal (photographer_sg) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 302 W: 2 N: 690] (4414)
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