Friday, July 12, 2024

The Rock Cut Cave Temples Of Pataleshwar

Pataleshwar Caves are 8th century cave temples dedicated to Lord Pataleshwar, God of the Underworld.

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Mystery Of India
Mystery Of India
Mystery of India is a culture and society website that presents facts about India, that have been erased from history. It updates regularly about matters related to India (like history, festivals, temples, sacred places, Culture, tradition, archaeology), the latest developments in Indian society and religions.

Pataleshwar cave temple is one of the most popular rock- cut cave temples of India. This temple is a reminiscent of Ellora and was carved out of a single gigantic basalt rock during the Rashtrakuta dynasty in the 8th century.

It was originally built outside of town but due to the expansion of the city frontiers over the years, it is now situated in the downtown Jungli Maharaj road in Pune. The temple is dedicated to Lord Pataleshwar (God of Underworld) and Lord Shiva. The entire cave temple is below the ground level, making ‘Pataleshwar’ an appropriate name (‘Patal’ is an underground civilization as per Hindu mythology).

Pataleshwar cave temple provides the perfect example of rock cut architecture. The entire temple is hewn out of a single block of stone, and houses gigantic pillars, a shrine of Lord Shiva and a Nandi bull.

Pataleshwar Caves Internal Temple Corridors
Pataleshwar Caves Internal Temple Corridors. – img source

The construction of temple is left incomplete, but the original plan was to build something on the lines of elephanta caves.

It is believed that the construction of this temple remained unfinished, may be due to the presence of a defective line, detected at the back region of the sanctum, or due to the political turmoil that resulted in financial loss. Still, the architecture and the elegance of the temple surprise the visitors every time and remind them of how difficult it was then to build such a beautiful monument.

The Pataleshwar cave temple has an exotic arrangement of circular stone at the entrance. The entrance is a sight worth seeing, as it highlights acute sense of geometry of these architects.

The temple also has the seating arrangements for the tourists along with small rooms. Most of the rocks in the cave, dates back to the 700 – 800 AD. One can see  few ornate carvings on the black rock, which are simply amazing.

Pataleshwar Caves 04 - img source
Pataleshwar Caves 04 – img source

The architecture of the temple cave looks similar to that of the Elephanta caves And Ellora caves. The shrine of Lord Shiva forms the main attraction of the temple. The pillars of the temples are extremely beautiful and unique.

A linga, the symbol of Shiva, is housed in the sanctum, which is a cube-shaped room about 3 to 4 metres high. On each side of the sanctum, two smaller cells are present.

There are a number of massive pillars those add to the grandeur of the temple along with grand statues of Nandi, Sita, Ram, Lakshman, Lakshmi and Ganesh and an oversized shivalingam under a single roof.

Diwali lighting at Pataleshwar Caves Temple Maharashtra
Diwali lighting at Pataleshwar Caves Temple Maharashtra. – img source

There is a museum in the cave temple that is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. In the museum, there is a grain of rice which is believed to have around 5,000 characters inscribed on it.

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