The main temple, as it stands today, was built by the third Peshwa, Shrimant Nana Saheb in the year 1749 A.D. The history of the temple is linked with a miracle. It is believed that Kashibai, the mother of the third Peshwa was suffering from a severe ailment in her right foot. One of her advisors informed her about a temple of Goddess to the South of Pune which was famous for its miraculous healing power. Kashibai went to the temple which was located on top of this hill and prayed for her recovery. She vowed that if she was cured of her ailment, she would build a temple there. She soon recovered and her son built a temple on the hill. This was the famous Parvati temple.
Another belief is associated with the temple of Parvati. Chhatrapati Shri Shahu Maharaj, the ruling king of the Maratha Empire and the grandson of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was pious, kind and a man of high moral character. He had special affection for his minister, young Nana Saheb Peshwa and he entrusted the entire business of the empire to him. The young Peshwa won the confidence of the king and was bestowed with his faith and affection.
The correspondence stands evidence to the fact that for the aged king, the young Peshwa was almost like a son. The death of King Shahu Maharaj was a personal loss to Nana Saheb. As a sign of rememberance, he brought the ‘KHADAWA,’ the wooden footwear of the late king and also an icon of Shivalinga with him from Satara to Pune and placed them underneath the Shivalinga of the main temple of Parvati. Though there is no evidence in writing about this episode but three events point out to the truth of this belief. Firstly, Nana Saheb Peshwa called the Shiva of Parvati hill temple by the name “Devadeveshwara” i.e.”Lord of Lords” – suggesting its supreme position in the divinity. Secondly, Nana Saheb Peshwa paid personal attention to the Parvati temple. Thirdly, when he became seriously ill, he preferred to remain near his favourite deity, than to stay at his usual place. Noted historians have also pointed this fact that Nanasaheb Peshwa had special respect and love for Devadeveshwar at Parvati Hill.
It is true that the magnificant temples which stand today on the hill were built by the Peshwas. However, the hill of Parvati was known much earlier even in the days of Chhatrapati Shri Shivaji Maharaj. In a letter of grant (Inam-patra), granted under the seal of King Shivaji Maharaj, to one Brahmin Mahadbhat, son of Mudgalbhat Purandare, there is a clear reference to Parvati village (for ref. see Selections from the Govt. Records, Sanads and letters Ed. by Mawjee & Parasnis PP. 111) .We can, therefore, conclude that Parvati hill was known in the Maratha days with some small temples on it. The temples stand as a reminder of Nana Saheb Peshwa’s love for Chhatrapati Shri Shahu Maharaj.