Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Akkanna Madanna Caves: Hindu Rock cut Cave Temple at Vijayawada

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Two east facing rock cut caves are located right at the footsteps of Indrakeeladri hills Vijayawada, Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, India PIN 520010. The geographical coordinates of Indrakeeladri are 16°30'49" North (Latitude) ,80°36'23" East (Longitude) .  It has an average elevation of 39 ft from sea level. The famous Kanaka Durga Temple is located on top of Indrakeeladri hill, on the banks of holy river Krishna, Lower cave is located at the foot hills of the old foot-path route with narrow steps leading to the to Kanaka Durga shrine. Upper cave, datable to 2nd century B.C., is located  in the middle of the footpath,. According to archaeologists, the lower cave was hewn by the kings of Vishnukundinas. The caves are protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Lower Cave

The triple celled lower rock cut cave hewn out on the face of the large living rock. The cave measures 14.63 in (48 feet) in length; 8.83 m (29 feet) in width and 2.13 m (7 feet) in height. The entirely rock cut cave comprise three almost square shaped sanctum cells hewn at the rear wall of the cave, an ardha mandapam (small rectangular pillared hall), a mukha-mandapam (slightly spacious rectangular pillared hall), all in single axial plane. The wide facade is cut from the face of the rock and supported by six robust and octagonal pillars without decoration. There are seven inter-spaces (anganas) between pillars and the entrance to the cave through the middle inter-space (angana). The structural beams (uttara) form top most section of the pillars. The column beam corbel method of architecture i,e., angular potikas (corbel brackets), usually inserted between beams and pillars as the supporting element, is absent here. The rough rock brow is bereft of any kapota (overhanging cornice) or drip line for rainwater. Another row of six octagonal pillars divide the inner cave into mukha-mandapam and ardha mandapam. The rear wall of the cave opens with three cells or sanctums.

The lower cave is sculpted about 1.5 m (5 feet) above the ground level and forming an open platform. The decorative elements of adhishtana (plinth) are not distinct.  A flight of five step staircase in middle of the cave with carved balustrades on either sides leads us to the plinth platform.

It is learnt that this cave was hewn on the solid rock face by  Eastern Chalukyas some time between 6th and 7th century A.D.  The lower cave is believed to be dedicated to Akkanna and Madanna. the two brothers who rose to prominence in the sultanate of Golkonda between 1674 and 1685. The smarta brahmin brothers were the prime minister and the commander in chief of Qutub Shahi army, respectively in the court of Abdul Hassan Tanashah, the last ruler of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. They were the simple courtiers in their early life and later rose to the higher posts in Golconda due to their ability.  

However the ASI officials of Indrakeeladri state that there is no evidence to prove the relationship between the Indrakeeladri caves and Akkanna and Madanna. The locals might have preferred to dedicate the cave to Akkanna and Madanna in recent years. 

Upper Cave

The triple celled rock cut cave is believed to be dedicated  to the triumvirate – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva of the Hindu pantheon. Three different cave cells are excavated in a row on the rockface of the long sloping hillock. An unfinished rock cut cave, located in the middle, comprise a pillared ardha mandapam and almost square shaped inner sanctum. The entrance porch is enclosed by a parapet. The ardha-mandapam supported by two round (vratta sthamba) and massive pillars. The major attraction is the ancient bas relief image of Lord Vinayaga (Pillaiyar) panel carved at the left wall niche of the ardha mandapam.. Once the sanctum was housing Shiva Lingam as well as Brahma and Vishnu images. At present you could witness only pedestal with socket in the sanctum. Two cave cells (chambers) are located on either side of the slopes of the hillock and the rock face also depicts bas relief images of animals. 

On either side of the cave cell, there are two single cave cells (chambers) located on either side. These two cave cells don't have pillared mandapam. It straight away has the sanctum cell. Some scholars fix the date of this cave to 2nd fcentury B.C.

Viharas or monasteries (residences of Buddhist monks)  and chaityas (cave shrines) excavated from single rocks are found in Ajanta and Ellora as well as in other parts of India. According to Shri. V.V.Krishna Sastry, former director of Indian archaeology department, the Buddhist viharas or monasteries were converted into Hindu shrines during the reign of  Reddy kingdom (1325–1448 A.D.). Later several South Indian Hindu rulers patronized numerous cave shrines dedicated to gods and goddesses  of Hindu pantheon. Akkanna Madanna caves could have been converted into Shaivite sanctums.

  1. A Testimony to the Times. P.Sujatha Varma. The Hindu January 4, 2008.
  2. Akkanna Madanna Rock cut cave Temple. History - An Unsolved Mystery. Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1753501448211391&id=1531388867089318)
  3. Akkanna and Mandanna, Ministers of the Golconda Sultans. Indanetzone.
  4. Akkanna and Mandanna of Colconda were victims of Hindu. Dr.Prabhakar Rao's blog. November 29, 2009.
  5. Akkanna and Madanna (Wikipedia)
  6. Temples around Kanaka Durga Temple. Blessings on the Net.

      YouTube Vijayawada-Akkanna,Madanna Caves on Indrakeeladri-Position as on 18.07.2016                     by Nag Ganta



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mogalarajapuram Caves: Hindu Rock cut Cave Temple near Vijayawada Andhra Pradesh

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Mogalarajapuram caves is located in the middle of the city of Vijayawada at "Kasthuribaipet", Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, India PIN 522502. The geographical coordinates of Mogalarajapuram are 16° 30' North (Latitude) (16.5089) 80° 37' East (Longitude) (80.6452).  It has an average elevation of 6 m (19 ft). Some historians believe that Mogalarajapuram  caves are datable to early 5th century A.D.  The cave is protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).  The caves are in ruins yet it is worth visit.

The Mogalarajapuram five rock cut sanctums are the unexplored places in Andhra Pradesh.  .  The cave temples are located on the hillock..  The rock-cut cave has a facade, mukha mandapam and sanctum cells. The facade of the cave has been cut inwards. The conspicuous components of Mogalrajpuram cave adhishtana (basement) are upanam, kantha, vritta kumuda and pattika. The front facade is supported on two pillars thus forming three spaces between pillars (anganas).  The  anganas in the facade are almost equal. The middle angana forms the entrance to the cave with the flight of three-step staircase in middle front of the cave with balustrades on either sides.  The pillars are in usual early rock-cut cave style, cubical top and bottom (Brahma kanta) with intermediate octagonal shaft (Vishnu kanta). . Above the two pillars there are vettu potika (corbel bracket) holding the overhanging cornice (kapota) with three kudu decorations. One of the kudu is adorned with miniatures of  Trinity image.. 

The side niches have the bas relief images of two dvarapalakas (door guards), one on each side of the outer wall of the cave. The external rock slope outside the cave temple bears two koshtas  
The bas relief image of Ardhanarishwara at the centre cave of Mogalarajapuram is considered as the best sculptural depiction and the unique image is only one of its kind in south India. Ardhanarishwara, an androgynous Hindu form, is composed of Lord Shiva and his consort goddess Parvati (Shakthi). The distinct Hindu deity illustrates half male and half female split down the middle. The female principle of goddess Parvati is inseparable from the male principle Lord Shiva. The sculptural depiction of Ardhanarishwara represents the synthesis masculine and feminine energies.

Another cave bear the images of  Lord Nataraja and Lord Vinayaka. Lord Nataraja (Lord Shiva) is illustrated as the source of all movement within the cosmos. The icon represents by the arch of flames.  The Lord carry out his ‘Tandavam’ (divine dance) to spifflicate the aweary universe and to recreate it back..Lord Ganesha aka Vinayaka emerged as a distinct deity in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D., during the Gupta period  The bas relief image of Lord Vinayaka dating back to the 5th century A.D. is unique.   

ASI Monument: Timings: 0900 - 1800 hrs. Entry fee Rs. 3/- per person.. Photography allowed inside the ASI monument.

How to get there?

Nearest railway station: Vijayawada Junction Railway Station
Nearest airport: Vijayawada Airport.


  1. Mogalarajapuram Caves (Goibibo.com)
  2. The vanishing wonders of Mogalrajapuram caves- Vijayawada - part 1. Poetry in Stone Blog
  3. The vanishing wonders of Mogalrajapuram caves- Vijayawada - part 2 Poetry in Stone Blog


Cave temple Mogalarajapuram Vijayawada Andhra Pradesh by Indiavideodotorg

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