This video documents the opening and discovery of a cave in India known as Patal Bhuvaneshwar and the influence of Sai Baba in bringing it to public attention.
Below, we give a quote from Wikipedia, the Free ONLINE Encyclopedia:
Patal Bhuvaneshwar, one of the most fascinating places of the Kumaon region, is a limestone cave temple 14 km from Gangolihat in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand state in India. It is located in the village Bhubneshwar. Legend and folklore have it that this underground cave enshrines Lord Shiva and thirty three crore Gods. The cave is 160 m long and 90 feet deep from the point of entrance. Limestone rock formations have created various spectacular stalactite and stalagmite figures of various hues and forms. This cave has a narrow tunnel-like opening which leads to a number of caves. The cave is fully electrically illuminated. It is built due to the flow of water. Patal Bhuvaneshwar is not just one cave, rather a cave city. Caves within caves, steps leading to another, each one unmasking deep secrets from within. It has some cave opening and it is believed that these opening will be close as the centuries pass on. The scientific fact is that it's still being developed due to crystallization of the minerals which are dissolved in the water. As per belief, some doors which are now closed were opened thousand of years back. It's yet to be fully explored.
"He who wants to feel the presence of eternal power should come to the sacred Bhuvneshwar situated near the confluence of Ramganga, Sarayu and Gupt-Ganga."
-Manaskhanda, Skandapuran, whose 800 verses refer to Patal Bhuvaneshwar
Legend Of the Cave
The first human to discover this cave was Raja Ritupurna who was a king in Surya Dynasty who was ruling Ayodhya during the Treta Yuga. The story starts with Ritupurna and King Nala. It is said that once, King Nala was defeated by his wife, Queen Damayanti. In order to escape his wife’s prison Nala requested Ritupurna to hide him. Ritupurna took him to the forests of the Himalayas and asked him to stay there. While going back home he was fascinated by a deer which ran into woods and went after it. He could not find it and took rest under a tree. He had a dream where the deer was asking Ritupurna not to chase him. His sleep broke and as he woke up and went to a cave where a guard was standing. After enquiring about the cave he was allowed to go inside. Right at the entrance, Ritupurna met Sheshnag who agreed to take him through the cave. It carried him on his hood. He saw the marvels of Gods taking place inside. Here were all the 33-crore gods and goddesses including Lord Shiva himself. It is said that after his visit, the cave was closed for ages with a slight prediction in the Skandpurana that it will be reopened again in Kaliyuga. Shankarcharya in Kalyug, during his temporary visit to Himalayas re-discovered this cave. Since then regular worship and offering are being done at this place.
According to belief King Rituparna of the Sun dynasty (Surya Vansha) discovered the cave in ‘Treta yug’. It has been described in the ‘MANAS KHAND’ of ‘SKAND PURAN’. Adi Shankaracharya visited this cave in 1191 AD. That was the beginning of the modern pilgrimage history, at Patal Bhuvaneshwar. The journey inside the cave has to be carried in feeble lights, holding protective iron chains. The Stone formations of Sheshnag can be seen, holding earth, heaven the world beneath. ‘Havan’ (fire sacrifice) is performed in a dimly lit, solemn atmosphere, under the spell of holy chants. You’ll also be impressed by theto visit these parts form the celestial heights of His abode in Kailash.The cave, it is believed, is connected by an underground route to Mount Kailash. it’s believed that Pandavas, the ‘Mahabharat’ heroes proceeded towards their last journey in the Himalayas after meditating here, in front of Lord Shiva. The priest family, the Bhandaris are performing religious rites at Patal Bhuvaneshwar since the time of the Adi Shankaracharya. More than 20 generations in the line. They are a treasure house of legends, lores, anecdotes and information about this holy place. It is also believed that this cave is internally connected to the four abodes /seats (Char Dham).
Inscription outside the Temple
"This awesome cave is believed to be as old as the earth itself. It has been mentioned in detail in the 103rd chapter of Manaskhand of "Skanda Purana". The first human who entered this cave was king "Rituparna" of Suraya Dynasty during the "Tretayuga". It is said that during his visit, he had encountered several demons and "Sheshnaag" himself acted as his guide. In "Duaparyuga" this cave was rediscovered by the Pandavas. In Kaliyuga, Adishankar Acharya consecrate this cave and since 1191, this has been a place of visit, both for sightseeing and worship."
Places to visit
The motorable road ends half a kilometer away from the cave entrance. You have to descends nearly 100 steps into this narrow cave, to reach the sanctum sanctorum, which gives an overwhelming feeling that you’re entering the centre of the earth.
Each stone, each stalagmite within each cave or doorway, in magnificent erection revels the story of Hindu pantheon in the shapes of Gods, Goddesses, saints and known mythological characters.