|Location:||Bharat (India): Uttarakhand state: Naini Tal district: Gangoli pargana: Baraun / Bel patti: Vyas / Kali valley: Gangolihat area: Howalbah: Sunerakot village, near (N29°40', E080°05')|
|Dimension:||L=250m, VR=27m, A=1200m asl|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1884||The cave at Bhubaneswar is identified by Atkinson with the Pátála-Bhuvanesvar of the Manasakhand.|
|27-SEP-1941||E. Aubery Glennie inquires the Deputy Commissioner, Almora, for caves.|
|09-OCT-1941||The Deputy Commissioner, Almora, informs Glennie about Patal Bhavaneshwar.|
|~1942||visited and explored by Swami Pranavananda.|
|1989||installation of an electric illumination.|
|1989||Karnavor, willing helper of the Andhra Pradesh based "Lord of the Universe in the form of Sri Sathya Sai Baba" believes that the god wallah 'exposed' the cave and 'brought it to the light' in 1989, «…probably the greatest of all blessings from Bhagwan Baba.».|
|1991||Uwe Scherzer visits, explores and maps.|
|1993||Bruno Ducluzeaux publishes the map by Scherzer.|
|07 to 08-MAY-1994||Professor G.K. Karnavor and nine others, including General Kanti Taylor, visit the site.|
|1994||The Sri Patal Bhuvanswar Charitable Trust, a Sai Baba foundation, intents to built an ahsram.|
A modified natural cave used by pious pilgrims as a temple and by tourists as a sightseeing spot. Situated above the village "Hat" (=Gangolihat) in the patti Bel of the pargana Gangoli. Atkinson (1882-1886, 11; reprinted 1981, 2, part 1: 318-323) locates the temple (and cave?) in patti Baraun.
Atkinson (1882-1886, vol. 12; reprinted 1981, vol. 3, part 1, page 232): «…Bhubaneswar with its cave… are some of the best known of the [Gangoli pargana, Kumaon] district.»
Deputy Commissioner (1941, an informal manuscript, dated 1941 October 9, replies to E.A. Glennie's lost (?) "Memo 9218/orgl." of 1941 September 27): «The only other interesting cave is at Patal Bhavaneshwar, near Gangolihat I have marked its approximate position in map No 62c, with a circle. It is a big cave, with some fauna. Gangolihat is three marches from Almora + has a good DAK Bungalow. The stops are: Almora to Panuanaula 14 miles, Panuanaula [Panwanaula]to Naini 10 miles, Naini to Gangolihat 11 miles. Patal Bhavaneshwar is 3 miles from Gangolihat towards Berinag [Verinag]. The cave is used as a temple + there may be some difficulty ###### European going in it, but some judicious tipping of the priest might do the trick.»
Pranavananda (1949, page 94): «Patala-Bhuvaneshvar is 6.5 miles [10.5 km] from Gangolihat. Here are three ancient temples. At a distance of one furlong [200 m] from the temple is an interesting cave, the entrance to which is very narrow. While traversing it one shall have to go sometimes sitting and crawling. Several images are engraved on the walls to the cave inside, which are believed to depict the anecdotes of Mahabharata. The cave is cold and damp and at places where there are stalagmites and stalactites with water trickling down from the roof… The Pujari of the temple, a Kshatriya, would guide the visitors to the cave.»
Scherzer (personal correspondence 18-AUG-1991): A 250m long cave in karstified limestone is used as a sacred (sacrifice) temple- and showcave. Mentioned in the Vedas. Electric illumination since 1989. A tight rift descends 20m to an ancient rivercave, now dry, with passage dimensions of 5 by 5m and 2 by 12m [«250m lange Höhle im Karst / Kalk, die als Schau- und Puja- (Opfer-) Höhle genutzt wird. Erwähnung des Ortes in den Veden. Elekrische Beleuchtung seit 1989. Eine enge Kluft geht 20m tiefer und trifft dort auf eine alte Flußhöhle, heute trocken, mit Gängen im Format 5 auf 5m und 2 auf 12m].
Ducluzeaux (1993): «Grotte de Bubaneshwar…Ills'agit de la seule cavité touristique du Kumaon. Il s'agit d'une cavité fossile présentant une vaste galerie, avec des déspôts d'argile surcreusés et un important concrétionement fossile.»
Karnavor (1994, 1995: 26-27) advertises the south Indian god wallah Sai Baba, reports an altitude of 1200m, a 1m wide concrete path leading to site, a small platform with an edifice of a temple in front of a 1m wide entrance with iron gate, a generator room, electric illumination, and an interior sooted by torches and pyre: «Since the entrance is very narrow, one has to crawl with the support rendered by he projecting stones. It is a real struggle to go through the passage which is almost vertical…Two types of people visit Patal Bhuvaneshvar. Some of them are not properly educated and reach there as curious tourists, interested in the geophysical aspects of the whole setup. Such visitors are fortunately very few… and do not affect the sanctity of the place. The second type… comes as pilgrims… prepared to worship Lord Shiv. The bliss they enjoy and the personal experience they gain… may be proportional to their faith… divyadrishti (divine eyes) are necessary to witness all the scenes.»
Text from the: South Asia Cave Registry (2001). With kind permission by Daniel Gebauer.