The Temple Trail of Pune: Meeting the Mystics and More!

Pune is modernized. Concrete. Buzzing. Busy.
And yet,
Pune is also tranquil. Quiet. Peace.
Calming, like the waters of a gentle river.
Enigmatic, like a contemplative yogi in a trance.
Captivating, like a gleaming shell of the sea.

This, inner layer of the city, is what I call 'The Peaceful Pune'. Because it is all what I just said above and more. This Pune is quaintly ancient mirroring an era that has held its tidings and refused to gather dust over time, no matter the urbanization. Yes, it’s got a lot of temples in it, and it might well be THE temple trail of Pune, but what makes it remarkably distinct is that it is not just-any-ordinary-temple-trail manifested in rituals and reverences, rather these temples are a living lesson in humanity, they are gala celebrations of art and skill, the epitome of what spirituality actually means.

This is the spirit of the city that I love. I may not always be able to tap this aspect about her, in entirety, but still, never fail to grab a share of it, however small it may be.

The ancient Shree Ram Temple of Tulsibaug is one such temple we have already seen in this Pune yatra series of ours, let’s take a look at the other ancient temples of Pune that are nothing less than treasures of a mystical world:

Pataleshwar Temple (also called Panchaleshvara or Bamburde):

Pataleshwar caves temple is incredibly quiet for a protected national monument standing bang in the middle of a crowded locality. Dating back to the 8th century and dedicated to Lord Shiva – the God of the Underwater World - the caves bear a similar semblance to Ellora caves of Mumbai or the Konark Temple of Orissa, inspiring awe with its spectacular rock cut sculptures redolent of the Rashtrakuta dynasty.

While I missed making it to the temple this time, I have visited it several times in the past and each time, the experience has been spiritually uplifting. These pictures below are from a previous trip of taken around 5 years ago.

The Pataleshwar cave temple in Pune, Maharashtra
The Pataleshwar caves is an ornate rock cut temple dating back to the 8th century.
The temple room, an ornately pillared dark cave house, encloses the sanctum with the ancient Shiva lingam and His vehicle bull, the Nandi besides Lord Ganesha and Goddess Parvati.

Lord Shiva in the Pataleshwar cave temple in Pune, Maharashtra
Lord Shiva in the dark sanctum of the cave.
Lord Ganesha in The Pataleshwar cave temple in Pune, Maharashtra
Lord Ganesha, draped in deep orange, sits near His father.
Lord Rama, Laxman and Sita at the Pataleshwar cave temple in Pune, Maharashtra
Lord Ram, Goddess Sita and Laxman right out of a scene from the grand epic Ramayana.

The stony artistic landscaping (left incomplete) coupled with the historic antiquity of the structure truly confers a mystical enigma over the entire setting, making this temple a gem of a place not to be missed in the hubbub of the city!

How to reach: The temple is centrally located just across the Mutha river, on the Junglee Maharaj Road (J. M. Road) in Shivaji Nagar. Quiz the auto rickshaw drivers or the locals and in most cases, they shall help you in getting there. A passage through the Junglee Maharaj Temple located adjacent to the caves, also leads you to the temple.

Temple timings: 8.30 Am to 5.30 Pm

Junglee Maharaj Temple:

Adjoining the Pataleshwar caves temple is another oasis of peace and an equally compelling place – Junglee Maharaj Temple - so silent that I have often find students busy studying for their exams in the premises. At other times, people prefer chanting mantras or just sitting in meditative silence. Such is the calming aura that emanates from the Samadhi Sthal of a 19th century Spartan Yogi more popularly known as Jangli Maharaj or the Yogi of the Jungle by the common folk.

Ascetic Yogi Jangli Maharaj, Pune

Junglee maharaj – an ascetic yogi, an unusally tall man of more than 7 feet in height - was a disciple of Swami Samarth of Akkalkot.

The best feature of the temple is the subtle message one receives in the huge brass bell hanging at the entrance along with a lotus carving – it seems to say - ward off the evils inside you, lift your spirits to the spiritual plane and open a new door to joy and happiness.

How to get there: It’s situated on a road by the same name: Jangli Maharaj Road or J.M. Road which is a pretty busy road of Pune.

Osho Commune:

The Meditation dance in Osho Commune, Pune
Photo credit:
Don’t move the way fear makes you move.
Move the way love makes you move.
Move the way joy makes you move.

The words - Meditation and resort – are rarely used together but with Osho, they do! The Osho Meditation center in Pune is a must visit if you are a follower of His teachings and quotes. Even otherwise, this place leaves you amazed with the sight of the maroon robed Swamis and Ma’s roaming around in the campus. Also, with the swirls and twirls of splendorous sufi and soul-soothing zen that promise to engulf you in a trance.

The great mystic in Pune - Osho

I have been to this retreat, a few years back and though I don't really remember taking a thorough tour of the place, it still managed to charm its way in for all the enigma it holds.

Address: Osho International Meditation Resort,
17 Koregaon Park,
Maharastra - 411 001.

Phone: +91 20 6601 9999
Fax: +91 20 6601 9990

Parvati Hill

Touted as city’s oldest heritage structure, Parvati Temple sits coyly nestled in the emerald lap of the Parvati hills, 2100 mtrs above sea level. You have to climb around a hundred steep steps to reach the top which besides being a place close to the divine, also proffers great views of the city buzzing below. The temple architecture is remnant to the Peshwa dynasty and houses deities of Goddess Parvati - Her Husband Shiva and two sons Ganesha and KartiKeya along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Ram.

Parvati Hill Temple, Pune, Maharashtra
Atop the hill - The ancient Parvati temple in Pune
It is one temple I am yet to visit and I can’t wait for the day when I will be there someday.

Timings: 4 Am to 9 PM

Good time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon when the touristy crowd is less.

Previous Posts from Pune:

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  1. The place I have mostly frequented among all this is the Parvati temple. Very calm and peaceful up there and also for the good exercise one gets on the way up there.
    Its sad that there was a fire yesterday which gutted most of the shops around Tulsibaug.

  2. Never been to Pune but love your version of the city ! :) definitely visiting next time I'm in Mumbai .

  3. It's so serene and a must visit. Thanks for sharing, Arti.

  4. Interesting places of worship and meditation. Informative post.

  5. As interesting as it is informative, thank you.

  6. Brought back memories of my stay in Pune, Arti:)

  7. I have been to Pune only once and that too for a day. So I guess it's time to explore PUNE - the real peaceful Pune. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  8. Parvati Hill looks absolutely amazing!!! :*

  9. Such a beautiful and divine temple Arti thanks for sharing with all your viewers including me ...there are so many places worth visiting , temples shrines which are known only to people locally living there ....thanks for the informative post :)

  10. There is something about Pune... despite the million fold increase in traffic, noise and pollution, there is still something that is nice...

  11. I am impressed by the Pataleshwar Caves... I always love anything historical :)

  12. Interesting post Arti as usual..Junglee Maharaj - You meant 7 ft , I guess.. not 7 inch..

    1. Thanks for the heads-up sir, corrected it now :)

  13. Nice post, Peaceful Pune. The Parvathi Hill looks amazing.

  14. Your post really brings the serenity and solace of Pune alive.Wonder how you were allowed to take pictures of idols as it is mostly prohibited in hindu culture .

  15. There is a beautiful ancient temple on lax I road as well. I forget the name...

  16. I enjoyed reading your blog post! Thanks for sharing!


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