Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pataleshwar Caves, Pune : A Photo Feature

Pataleshwar Caves (also known as Panchaleshwar caves or Bhamburda caves ) is a eighth century rock cut cave temple carved during the Rashtrakuta period. It lies at Jangali Maharaj road, within Pune city. There is a legend behind these caves. When the Pandavas escaped the Lakshagriha fire, Bhima was said to have arranged this place as a shelter for his mother and brothers.This cave temple was abandoned due to a fault in its construction.But over a period of time people frequented the temple. Many of its idols are latter additions.

The temple is carved out entirely from Basalt rock. On entering the cave premises, one comes across a circular mandapa . It is an umbrella shaped canopy supported by twelve massive square shaped stone pillars.

This mandapa houses a Nandi Idol mounted over a rectangular seat.

There are cave rooms to the left of the main sanctum hall, which lie vacated. Before them is a platform which has a planted tree and serves as a minor temple.

 The main temple premises is supported on around fourty massive stone pillars.

On entering one comes across another fairly large and beautifully ornated Nandi statue.

The garbhagriha or inner sanctum is a stone shaped squared cave room , which houses the idol of Lord Shiva , a Shivalinga and a smaller idol of Lord Nandi outside, facing the garbhagriha. On both sides of the garbhagriha are two smaller rooms, which house the statues of Lord Ganesha and the other, probably Lord Kartikeya.

The stone hall is supported by an array of square carved pillars, with murals (said to be of the Pandavas, Shiva Parvati and a cow) on the two opposite walls. But the carvings have blunted with time and the figures are not clear.

In another corner of the room are idols of Lord Rama,Laxmana and Devi Sita. Facing them is an idol of Lord Hanumana.

One also comes across a shilalekh (inscriptions in stone) which is probably in the modi script, located on the wall next to the entrance.

[Source of text and photographs: Abhijit Rajadhyaksha ]


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