Thursday, September 29, 2016

Madavoorpara Cave: Hindu Rock cut Temple near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

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Madavoorpara rock-cut cave temple is situated in Madavoopara village, Kazhakuttam taluk, Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala, India PIN 695587. It is forming part of Ayiroorppara Panchayat and located between Pothencode and Chempazhanthy.. The cave is located 15 km towards North from District head quarters Thiruvananthapuram.  Madavoopara is geographically located at latitude  8 ° 35′ North and longitude 76 ° 59′ E' and the altitude / elevation is 64 m (210 ft). The rock cut cave temple was owned by the Chenkottukonam Ashram and from 1960 the premises is protected by the State Archaeological Department. It is one of the two rock cut caves in Thiruvananthapuram district.


The rock cut cave excavated on the solid rock face on top of the hillock. To reach the cave, you have to climb more than 200 steps. The flight of thirty three steps, sculpted on the rock, leads one to the square-shaped cave temple. The rock cut cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The images of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganapathy sculpted on the right side of the wall. On the left side there is an image of the local chieftain.  


Buddhism and Jainism spread in Kerala around 3rd century A.D. Jainism continued to have strong hold for about 700 years in south Kerala region.  The earliest Buddhist rock-cut cave abodes were built for Buddhist missionaries (monks) by the kings and traders on the busy international trading routes. Vikramaditya Varaguna (885–925), the Ay king popularly known as Ashokan in Kerala, ruled parts of south Kerala. The Paliyam Copper Plate "Sreemoolavasam cheppedukal"  was issued by this king in the fifteenth year of his rule (925 AD). The plate describe Varagunan as "vrishnikulajathan," a Buddha devotee.   The copper plate bears the evidence of the patronage extended by the ruler i.e., the donation of land to Thirumoolavadam (Sreemoolavasam), to Buddhist missionary. Buddhism was held in the highest respect and veneration by this ruler. The copper plate includes the invocation phrases like 'Buddha' and 'Dharma.' Till 1000 A.D. Buddhists continued to enjoy royal patronage . 

Hindu Revivalism in 800-1000 A.D. gradually get rid of Buddhism from Kerala. It is believed that many Buddhists and Jain shrines were converted into Hindu temples. Madavoorpara is an ancient one dating back to 850 A.D. According to one theory the rock-cut cave could have been built for Buddhist monks and another theory gives this credit to Jain monks. This temple, which resembles the ancient cave temples of the Jains,   


There is an ancient vattezhuthu inscription near the shrine.

Tourist Attraction

The lone Madavoorpara cave is located amidst rubber plantations and hence less explored destination till recent past. The local media, state tourism and the State Archaeological Department have initiated steps to attract tourists and locals. A small park and a 101 mt long bamboo bridge have been formed by he State Archaeological Department. The panoramic view from atop the hillock is an amazing experience.

'Ganga Theertham' the holy pond receives water from the perennial stream. Shivratri is the main annual festival celebrated in this cave temple and this event attracts thousands of devotees from far and near.

How to get there?

By road: You may take the Chempazhanthi-Potherncode route to Madavoorpara from Sreekaryam. You will reach Kattayikonam after 7 km. Take note of the Madavoorpara temple sign board on your right. You can also take the alternate route i.e., Powdikonam-Pothencode route from Sreekaryam. Drive  8 km to reach Santhipuram and divert left turn and proceed 2 km further to reach the site. There is an advantage of preferring this route i.e., you  don't have to climb up the rock.

Nearest Railway station: Kazhakuttam Railway station , Kaniyapuram Railway station are the very nearby railway stations to Madavoorpara. However Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway station is city railway station.

  1. Madavoorpara Cave Temple
    Madavoorpara Siva Temple. C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai
  2. Paliyam Copper Plate. Kerala
  3. Rock of Ages The Hindu March 27, 2015
  4. Sunday visit to Madavoorpara Rock cut temple in Trivandrum. Travelogues of a Compulsive Roamer (
  5. Temples of Thiruvananthapuram. Kerala  (

Madavoorpara Tourism. Madavoorpara Rock Cut Temple. Kattaikonam, Chenkottukonam, Trivandrum by Video Strawberry

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Thrikkakkudy Cave: Hindu Rock-cut temple, Kaviyoor near Pathanamthitta, Kerala

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Thrikkakudi rock cut cave temple is located about one km. north-east of Kaviyoor village, Thiruvalla taluk, Pathanamthitta district, Kerala, India PIN 689582.  The rock cut cave is located at a distance of 29 km from Pathanamthitta and 6 km from Thiruvalla, The meaning of the village name is like this: Thiru - kal - kudy’ that means - ‘sacred dwelling place in rock.’ The cave temple was renovated by Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and the board maintains with one daily morning pooja rituals. 

Kaviyur, a village panchayat, located on the western bank of the river Manimala, was a part of Nanruzhai Nadu which had its capital in what is now Thrikkodithanam, 9 km west of Kaviyoor. The Mahadeva temple of Kaviyoor,  built in 10th century A.D, is considered as one of the ancient Shiva (Mahadeva) temples in Kerala. Inscription dated 950 A.D. speak about gifts offered to this temple. The village  is one of the ancient 64 brahmin settlements of Kerala. The geographical coordinates Kaviyoor is Latitude 9°23′0″North (9.3920848)  and Longitude 76°36′0″East (76.6192022) and the elevation / altitude is from 8m to 61m.

The south facing Thrikkakudi rock cut cave consists of a facade, a rectangular mukha-mandapam and a sanctum. It is very skillfully cut into dome shaped roof. The plinth is plain and the cave floor little higher in level from the ground floor. A flight of four steps leads to the mukha-mandapam. The facade consists of two massive pillars in the middle and pilaster on both ends with the features of square, octagonal kattu and square. The walls are simple and plain with six foot high floor. The rough rock brow is bereft of any curved cornice moulding called 'kapota' (overhanging cornice) or drip line for rainwater.

The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The ten foot high and seven-foot square sanctum houses 3 feet tall Shiva lingam. The bas relief image at the door way represents Bhima, the Pandava prince of Mahabharatha.  Also there are bas relifs of Lord Ganapathi and the sage. The sanctum is guarded by imposing bas relief images of Dwarapalakas. The niches, on  the outer wall on either side of the entrance of the sanctum, houses these Dwarapalakas.. It is inferred by scholars that this cave temple was constructed in the Pallava architectural style and may be datable to 8th century. The natural pond amidst two rocks is another attraction. The rock-cut monument is protected by the Archaeological Department.

One version of the legend says that the rock cut monument was built by demons within one night. It is also believed that Lord Shiva and Hanuman of Kaviyur Mahadeva temple appeared here to interrupt the task of temple construction. The demons had to flee to save their lives. Another version says that the Pandavas of Mahabharatha dwelled in this cave during their exile in the forests.

In the words of Unnikrishnan, an archaeologist of repute, Thrikkakudi rock cut cave temple might have been a Buddhist vihara centuries ago. It is evident that Buddhism and Jainism flourished in this location before 10th century A.D.

Thiruvalla is well connected to other major cities of the country via regular buses. Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam Kannur, Kochi , Coimbatore , Chennai, Madurai, Bangalore and Mangalore are connected from Thiruvalla through road.
Nearest Railway Station:  The town has its own Railway Station named as Thiruvalla Railway Station. It is  about 5 km from Kaviyoor.
Nearest Airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 119 km from Pathanamthitta.


  1. Kaviyuur. Mathrubhumi (English) 31 May 2008.
  2. Kaviyoor Ente Gramam. Fa
  3. Rock-cut temple at Kaviyur, relics of a bygone age. Radhakrishnan Kuttoor. The Hindu. July 10, 2013.
  4. Remnants of a Bygone Era: Rock-Cut Temple at Kaviyur. 
  5. Thrikkakkudy temple, where time stands still. The Hindu. March 23, 2015.
YouTube videos

Friday, September 2, 2016

Kottukal Cave: Hindu Rock cut Cave Temple, Kottukal near Kollam

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Kottukal (കോട്ടക്കല്) rock cut cave, also known as Kaltrikkovil (കാലത്തിരിക്കോവിൽ) in Malayalam, is located in Ittiva (ഇട്ടിവ) village in Chadayamangalam (സദായമനഗലം) taluk in Kollam (കൊല്ലം) district, Kerala State, India PIN 691534.  Ittiva village, part of Ittiva village panchayat,  is in the border of the Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram (തിരുവനന്തപുരം) districts. This cave is located on the Thiruvananthapuram – Kottayam MC Road. The geographical coordinates of Ittiva are 8.8421200° North (Latitude) 76.864440° East (Longitude).  It has an average elevation of 52 m (170 ft). 

The name Kottukkal means carved rock in English (കൊട്ടിയ കല്ല് Kottiya Kallu in Malayalam). Kottukal rock cut cave  architecture typifies rock cut cave style of Kerala. The cave hewn out from a natural living hammock situated amidst paddy field. The hillock looks like an elephant in a sitting position. 


The rock cut cave complex has two caves of uneven size. Both the caves are facing east. The larger cave has an almost square sanctum and pillared mukha-mandapam (rectangular hall). The rock cut façade has two massive supporting pillars. The smaller cave opens an oblong sanctum and there is no pillared mandapam. The cave-temple dedicated to Shiva. The sanctums have the monolithic Shiva lingams and the celestial bull (Nandi) idol. Another sanctum (niche) houses the image of sthanaka Hanuman (Anjaneya), the monkey god. In between the two caves there is a rectangular alcove like shrine housing the bas relief image of Lord Ganapathy (Lord Pillaiyar).  The cave temple complex also known for its well that never dries up.


Since the rock cut cave houses three deities Lord Shiva, Lord Ganapathy and Lord Hanuman, the name "Thrikovil" emerges. The rare association of Shiva Lingam, Nandhi and Anjaneya is seen only Kottukal and nowhere else in India such combination exists. According to some scholars the cave datable between 6th and 8th centuries A.D. Some other  historians assign the date back to 7th century A.D. Chadayamangalam named in remembrance of Nedila Paranthaka Nedumchadayan, who ruled Chadayamangalam between 6th and 7th century AD. 

The rock cut cave temple is administered by Travancore Devaswom Board and this body conducts daily pooja services. The state government of Kerala pronounced the Kottukal cave owned by Travancore Devaswom Board as the protected monument in 1966. 

How to get there?
  • Best Time to visit: December to May
  • Distance: Kottukal Rock cut Cave is located 10 km from Chadayamangalam and 8 km from Anchal. The place is 45 km away from Kollam and 65 km away from Tiruvananthapuram.
  • Nearest Bus stations; The village is connected through local bus service from Chadayamangalam and Anchal.
  • Nearest railway station: No railway station near to Ittiva in less than 10 km. Kollam (Quilon) Jn Rail Way Station is located 38 km away from Ittiva.  Punalur station 19 km; Thenmalai 23 km; Ottakkal 22 km.
  • Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, about 60 km
  1. Kottukkal Rock Cave Temple GUHA Kshethram. Facebook. May 8, 2015 
  2. Kottukal Rock Cut Cave Temple. Mahrubhumi (English). May 31, 2008
  3. Kottukal Rock Cut Cave Temple.
  4. The Cave Temple at Kottukal, Kollam. Kerala
  5. കോട്ടുക്കല്‍ ഗുഹാക്ഷേത്രം , അഞ്ചല്‍, കൊല്ലം (

Kottukkal cave temple by santhosh kottukkal

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