Pataleshwar Temple

Pataleshwar Temple Just across the river on the Jungli Maharaj Road is a wonderful pataleshwar temple ( Panchaleshvara cave), a small 8th century temple similar in style to the much grander rock temple at Elephanta but never completed. More importantly it's an active temple. In front of the excavation is a circular Nandi mandapam (pavilion). Adjacent to Jangli Maharaj ( Lord of the Jungle) temple, dedicated to a Hindu ascetic who died here in 1818.
A visit to the temple may not be on everyone’s mind when one is out on a pleasure trip. However, when the trip is meant to include monuments and structures that are centuries old, the visit is well worth adding to the itinerary. One such temple monument is the Pataleshwar temple in the middle of hustling-bustling modern Pune.
The awe-inspiring grandeur and beauty of this rock-temple brings in visitors and worshippers throughout the year. Believed to have been constructed between 700 and 800 A.D. and bearing resemblance to the Shiva temple at Ellora, the temple of Pataleshwar (Lord of the Underworld) is an ancient rock-cut structure carved out of a single massive rock. The entire structure is in a cave formation and made up of huge pillars; a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva (known here as Pataleshwar) and his vehicle Nandi the bull.
The circular stone arrangement at the entrance to the underground temple is worth pondering over the artisan’s skills during those times. The rock-temple also has seating areas and smaller rooms. Although elaborate carving is not present on the rock-temple, the main worship area includes statues of Sita, Rama, Laxmana and other gods besides a lingam of Lord Shiva in the cube-shaped room in the heart of the temple.
There is also a museum nearby that holds an exhibit with an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. This exhibit is a grain of rice that has some 5000 characters engraved on it. Nestled in the heart of Pune city and close to the Jangali Maharaj Temple nearby, this ancient temple is visited by worshippers, tourists and occasional visitors alike, throughout the year. The busy Jungali Maharaj Road more commonly known as J.M. Road is easily reached from any location in Pune by auto rickshaws. The temple is open from 8 am to 5.30pm in the evening for worshippers and visitors.