I mentioned in my previous post that I had gone ‘site’-seeing when I was in Pune last week. One of the places I went to was the 8th century, rock-cut Pataleshwar Caves.
Situated on Jungli Maharaj Road, the entrance to the Caves is through a small garden with this magnificent banyan tree.
In spite of its size, the banyan tree was homely, if you know what I mean. If the grounds had not been wet from the rain, I would have snuggled up to the tree with a book. I had to be content with just hugging the tree and moving on to the Caves.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) maintains the entire site, which includes the Pataleshwar Caves and the garden. However, for reasons best known to them, the ASI has not provided any information on the Caves apart from putting up signs at regular intervals to warn people from defacing or destroying the property.
So, I pretty much saw the Pataleshwar Caves without understanding its significance or what it was all about. And this is what I saw:
I am really puzzled as to why this is called Pataleshwar ‘Caves’. There are no caves, even though the original intention may have been to create rock-cut caves. And the lack of information available on the Caves is frustrating, to say the least. The Wikipedia page on Pataleshwar Caves is about 8-10 sentences strung together with some photographs. There are some good blog posts on the Pataleshwar Caves, like the ones here and here, but they do not throw any new light on the origins or history of the Caves. 😦
I am deeply ashamed to admit that in spite of having studied in Pune for 7 years, I did not even know about the existence of these Caves. Three of these 7 years were spent in Fergusson College, which is just a little over a kilometre from the Caves ! But a visit to these Caves has made me determined that I will explore lesser known places and share them with you, dear reader, here on this very blog.