Located in the east of Bhubaneswar city, Panchu Pandav Caves was always going to be on my list of places to see as I have a bit of a thing for rock-cut Hindu and Buddhist caves.
I really wasn’t expecting too much, which was just as well as there isn’t an awful lot to see here in truth. Don’t visit this place if you are expecting something of the magnitude of Karla, Bhaja, or Elephanta Caves. Here things are lot more simpler.
Recently renovated to some degree by the ASI, the site consists of three sets of rock-cut excavations in a row, all with a modern brick-built porch and painted a deep red. They are thought to have been created sometime in 5th or 6th century A.D. Two of the caves are completely empty and locked, seemingly used for storage purposes.
The final cave has been converted into a temple dedicated to Shiva. Unfortunately, this was also locked so my visit here was a very short one.
Legend has it that the five Pandav brothers (Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva and Yudhisthira) stayed in these caves during their Mahabharata era exile. An almost identical legend is associated with the Panchu Pandava Temple in Ganeswarpur, 50km north-west of here.
The caves adopted their name from this legend, as has the local area in Bhubaneswar which is known as Pandav Nagar.
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