The rock-carved eighth-century Pataleshwar Cave Temple would be worth a visit for its evocative architecture alone, but the real wonder is that it even exists at all—hidden off a busy main road, it’s easy to overlook it entirely, until you step past the entrance and descend into the temple’s unexpected sanctuary. Pay a quick visit to admire the structure’s ancient bones, then join the seemingly endless queue for a traditional Maharashtrian buffet at nearby Hotel Shreyas. Fill up your thali platter with authentic maharashtrian dishes. There are about 5-6 vegetables (dry and with gravy) along with a variety of side dishes, Roti, Rice and Daal —a splendid feast, all for a mere 400 rupees (around 6 US dollars).
The caves and Hotel Shreyas are about 15 minutes west of Conrad Pune. There’s no admission for the temple, and while you don’t need a reservation for Shreyas, you might need to wait—it gets really packed at lunchtime.
PATALESHWAR CAVE TEMPLE: Jangali Maharaj Rd., Revenue Colony, Shivajinagar
HOTEL SHREYAS: 1242B Apte Rd., Deccan Gymkhana; +91-20-2553-2785; hotelshreyas.in