Monday, November 28, 2016

Kesavaram Kailaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar Temple: Structural Stone Temple near Cooum Village, Vellore district, Tamil Nadu.

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Kailaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar Temple (கைலாய ஈஸ்வரமுடைய மஹாதேவர் கோவில் கேசவரம்) is located in Kesavaram (கேசவரம்) village, Arakkonam taluk, Vellore district, Tamil Nadu, India PIN  631151. and Kesavaram (கேசவரம்) village  forms part of Pudukesavaram Panchayat.  Kesavaram is the transitioned form of Kailaya Eswaram (கைலாய  ஈஸ்வரம்).

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Kesavaram Dam. The Hindu
The 136 km long Kosasthalaiyar River (கொசஸ்தலையார் ஆறு), also known as Kortalaiyar River (கொற்றலையார் ஆறு), originates near Kaveripakkam in Vellore District.  At Kesavaram dam (கேசவரம் அணைக்கட்டு), the river splits into two i.e., Kosasthalaiyar (கொசஸ்தலையார் ஆறு) and Cooum rivers (கூவம் ஆறு). Cooum river receives the surplus water from Cooum tank (கூவம் ஏரி), in Cooum village. Kesavaram dam is located 72 km from Chennai.  An island was formed by the confluence of two rivers - Kosasthalayar and Kallaru by encircling and forming the village Kesavaram. Kosasthalayar, believed as Moksha Nadhi, flows from south to north (Uttaravauhini உத்தரவாஹினி) and continue to flow towards Poondi reservoir  From Poondi reservoir, Kosasthalaiyar flows through Thiruvallur district, passes through the Chennai metropolitan area, and enters into Bay of Bengal at Ennore creek. At Kesavaram the river bed is dry and surrounded by palm trees. No proper road to reach the temple and you have to walk on the dam bund and even traverse through paddy fields to reach the temple.

Kailaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar Temple, a structural stone temple built by Kulottunga Chola I  (முதலாம் குலோத்துங்க சோழன்) (1070 – 1122 A.D.), is located about one km away from the Kesavaram dam bund. The east facing temple is in a dilapidated condition and some volunteers have conserved the temple from further damage.

The temple has the sanctum, ardha-mandapam and mukha-mandapam. The gajaprishta vimana is entirely built with granite boulders. It has an ekatala vimana and it has an apsidal (Gajapriishta) plan from adhishtana to shikara, recalling the earlier Buddhist chaitya. The apsidal vimana sits on an apsidal adishtana (plinth).  The simple pada-bandha adhishtana (பாதபந்த அதிஷ்டானா) with upa-peeta (உப பீடம்), jagadi (ஜகதி), tripatta kumuda (முப்பட்டைக் குமுதம்), khanta (கண்டம்) with pada and flanked by kampa (கம்பு) and pattika (பட்டிகை) mouldings. 

The pada (walls) of the vimana and ardha-mandapam have simple punctuated by brahmakanta pilasters. The walls of the adi-tala of the vimana are divided into  three segments called the pathis or bhadras. Devakoshtas flanked by brahmakanta pilasters are sculpted in the central sala bhadras or sala pathis.  The upper end of the pilasters are ornamented with kalasa, tadi, kudam, pali, palakha and virakanda. Dakshinamurti in the niche or devakoshtha on the south side of the vimana; Lingodbhava in the niche on the west side; and the north side of the niche houses the priest god Brahma. Sthanaka Vinayaka in the niche or devakoshta located on the south side of the ardha-mandapam; and the north side of the niche houses the goddess Durga. The lintel portions of the koshtas  are bereft of any toranas  Pilasters support uttara and above uttara is the prastara components including vajana, valabhi and kapota ornamented with kudu at regular intervals. Above the kapota is the bhumidesa denoting the end of the tala. Bhumidesa has the frieze of yali heads.

The super structure of the vimana is built with granite boulders.  The apsidal griva (neck) rises above bhumidesa. The griva koshtas or niches are sculpted on three sides. Dakshinamurti in the south griva koshta; Narasimha in the west koshta and Brahma in the north koshta. On top of this griva is an apsidal shikara. Above griva koshtas, maha-nasikas (horseshoe shaped arches) are sculpted on the surfaces of shikara on all cardinal directions. The kudus of maha-nasikas are decorated with Nataraja in the south, Yoga Narasimha in the west and Brahma in the north.

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The east facing sanctum houses "Kailaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar" (கைலாய ஈஸ்வரமுடைய மகாதேவர்) in the form of Shivalingam.


The inscription Kulottunga Chola I records the gift of Uriyur village as land endowment to Kailaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar. The Ezhulagamudaiyaal (ஏழுலகமுடையாள்), the queen of Kulothunga Chola I  made grants for the construction of Kailaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar temple.

Temple Timing

Kailaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar is open during day time.  Plan your trip during morning or noon hours and avoid late evenings since it would be difficult to traverse through paddy fields and dam bund.

How to get here?

Palayakesavaram, a small Village, is located 60 km from Chennai, 17 km from Arakkonam Kesavaram Dam is about 6 km from Thakkolam. The village is situated in the border of the Vellore and Thiruvallur districts


  1. Kailaaya Eswaram! Aalayam Kanden. August 21, 2015.
  2. Kailaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadev Temple - Kesavaram. Indian Columbus. April 11, 2016. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Edayarpakkam Mahadevar Temple: Granite Structural Temple near Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Mahadevar Koil, Edaiyarpakkam
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Apsidal shape back view
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Mahadevar Temple is located in Edayarpakkam village, Sriperumbudur taluk, Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu, India PIN 631553. The temple is located 22 km towards North from district head quarters Kanchipuram; 19 km from Sriperumbudur; 12.5 km from Sunguvarchatram; 9.1 km from Thakkolam; 6.1 km from Arakkonam;  0.2 km from Elmyankottur; and 58 km from the state capital Chennai. This place is in the border of the Kanchipuram district and Thiruvallur district.  The temple is protected by ASI.

The Chola period Mahadevar shrine is apsidal  (horseshoe-shaped) dvitala (two tiered) vimana and an ardha-mandapam (அர்த்த-மண்டபம்). Therefore the vimana is called gajaprishta (கஜபிருஷ்ட விமானம்) or hastiprishta (ஹஸ்திபிருஷட விமானம்), both terms in Sanskrit meaning ‘back of an elephant’ as it is curved at the rear. According to the word 'apse'  means a semicircular or polygonal termination or recess in a building.  

According to most historians the apsidal form of vimana is of Buddhist origin. However current studies have confirmed that the apsidal vimana architecture was attempted by pan-Indian-tradition and the style was in existence much before the Buddhist era. This form of vimana is found in few other Chola temples in and around Chennai.

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The entire temple structure is made out of granite and therefore it is a 'katrali' (கற்றளி). The vimana and ardhamandapam stands on a molded pada-bandha adishtana (பாதபந்த அதிஷ்டானா) with upa-peeta (உப பீடம்), jagadi (ஜகதி), tripatta kumuda (முப்பட்டைக் குமுதம்), khanta (கண்டம்) with pada and flanked by kampa (கம்பு) and pattika (பட்டிகை) mouldings. The east facing sanctum measures 3.05 m in width in the north-south direction and 4.65 m in length in the east-west direction. The sanctum entrance is 1.35 cm in width. The sanctum houses "Tiruppadakkadu udaiya Mahadevar" (திருப்படக்காடுடைய மகாதேவர்) in the form of Shivalingam.

The external walls of the vimana and ardhamandapam have five deeply cut niches (தேவகோட்டங்கள்) flanked by ornate square pilasters (அரைத்தூண்கள்). The niches on the south and north ardhamandapa walls houses the Chola style idols of Vinayaka and Durga respectively. The southern vimana wall houses the sanctum of the unique Dakshinamurthy appear seated on a pedestal under the Kallala tree (Banyan tree). The niche of the western vimana wall is empty. Brahma appear in the niche of the northern vimana wall.

Above the pilasters is the vettu potika holding the uttira. And the other roof parts are the vajana valabhi and kapota with rough kudu arches. Above the kapota is the bhumidesa denoting the end of the tala. Above the bhumidesa is seen the hara of the first tala. The hara components of second tala as well as griva, shikara and stupa (finial) might have got damaged and therefore not found at present.


There are four inscriptions belonging to the later Chola period, especially that of Kulottunga Chola I (1070 - 1120 A.D.),  Kulottunga Chola II (1133 - 1150 A.D.) and Rajadhiraja Chola II (1163 - 1178) are found at Edayarpakkam Mahadevar temple near Kanchipuram. The inscription (ARE 251/1910), (த நா அ தொ து 524/2013) dated 13th in the reign (year 1083 A.D.) of king Kulottunga Chola I opening with his venerated Prasasti (also known as Meikeerthi மெய்க்கீர்த்தி) is considered as the earliest inscription in this temple.

Inscriptions mention the prime deity of the temple as "Tiruppadakkadu udaiya Mahadevar" (திருப்படக்காடுடைய மகாதேவர்) as well as "Aludaiyar Tiruppadakkadu udaiyar" (ஆளுடையார் திருப்படக்காடுடையார்).

Inscriptions cite the name of this village as "Edayarruppakkam" (இடையாற்றுப்பாக்கம்). Present name seems to have transitioned from Edayarruppakkam to Edayarpakkam. Edayarruppakkam village fell under the revenue division of Purisai Nadu (புரிசை நாடு), which was a sub-division of Manavir-kottam (மணவிற் கோட்டம்) under the larger division of Jayamkonda Cholamandalam (ஜெயங்கொண்ட சோழமண்டலம்). (ஜெயங்கொண்ட சோழமண்டலத்து மணவிற்கோட்டத்துப் புரிசை நாட்டு இடையாற்றுப்பாக்கம்). The village was also known as Purisai (புரிசை) village fell under the same revenue division, part of same sub-division and coming under the same larger division (ஜெயங்கொண்ட சோழமண்டலத்து மணவிற்கோட்டத்துப் புரிசைநாட்டுப் புரிசை).  The village was also popularly known as Rajavichadira Chaturvedi Mangalam (ராஜவிச்சாதிர சதுர்வேதிமங்கலம்).

The inscription (ARE 251/1910), (த நா அ தொ து 524/2013) is dated 13th in the reign (year 1083 A.D.) of king Kulottunga Chola I. It opens with his venerated Prasasti also known as Meikeerthi (மெய்க்கீர்த்தி). It records the gift of land as devadana (தேவதானம்) to Tiruppadakkadu udaiya Mahadevar by one Arurudaiyan Vaidyanatan Tiruchcirrambalamudaiyan in Kilar-kurram, a sub-division of Nittavinoda-valanadu of Chola Mandalam.
(3 .. ... ஜயங்கொண்ட  சோழ மண்டலத்து மணவிற்கோட்டத்து ... சோழமண்டலத்து நித்த விநோத வளநாட்டுக் கிழாற் கூற்றத்து
4 .த்தங்குடி  ஆரூர்ருடையாந் வைத்யநாதன் திருச்சீற்றம்பல முடையான் ...  .)

The inscription (த நா அ தொ து 523/2013) is dated 13th in the reign (year 1107 A.D.) of king Kulottunga Chola I. It commences with his venerated Prasasti also known as Meikeerthi (மெய்க்கீர்த்தி). It records the gift of 95 sheep (சாவா மூவா பேராடு தொண்ணூற்றைந்து) for a perpetual lamps for the Lord Tiruppadakkadu udaiya Mahadevar at Purisai in Purisai Nadu, a sub-division of Manavir-kottam by Velan Madurantakan, the head man of Arasur, in Koneri-nadu in the Eyirk-kottam. (3 ... இம்மண்டலத்து எயிற்கோட்டத்துக் கோநேரி நாட்டுக் கோநேரியில் அரசூர்
 கிழவந் வேளாந் மதுராந்தகநேன் ....  )  

The inscription (ARE 254/1910), (த நா அ தொ து 525/2013) is dated 12th in the reign (year 1145 A.D.) of king Kulottunga Chola II. It commences with his venerated Prasasti also known as Meikeerthi (மெய்க்கீர்த்தி). It records the gift of land purchased from the urar (ஊரார்) of Purisai, for a lamp to the temple of Aludaiyar Tiruppadakkadu udaiyar at Idaiyarruppakkam (இடையாற்றுப்பாக்கம்) alias Rajavichchadira Chaturvedimangalam (ராஜவிச்சாதிர சதுர்வேதிமங்கலம்) Purisai-nadu, a sub-division of Manavirkottam by a brahmana lady Andanaichchani, wife of Arulala pattan in the same village. (2 ... இவ்வூர் ஸவந்ந அருளாள பட்டந் மகள் ஆண்டமைச் சாநியேந் ...)

The inscription (ARE 253/1910), (த நா அ தொ து 526/2013) is dated 11th in the reign (year 1174 A.D.) of king Rajadhiraja Chola II. It records the gift of cows in exchange for a land in Purisai, granted by a brahmana lady of Idaiyarruppakkam (இடையாற்றுப்பாக்கம்) alias Rajavichchadira Chaturvedimangalam (ராஜவிச்சாதிர சதுர்வேதிமங்கலம்).

How to get there?

By road: Edayarruppakkam is the remote village and less traveled destination. The temple is also lesser known to the public. Public transport is not available. Rental cabs can be hired from Sunguvarchatram or Sri Perumbudur or Kanchipuram.
Nearest Railway-station: There is no railway station near to Edayarpakkam in less than 10 km. However Chennai Central Rail Way Station is major railway station.
Nearest Airport: Chennai.

  1. ARE 1910        251 - 254
  2. Edayarpakkam (
  3. Edayarpakkam Mahadevar Temple. Indian Columbus (
  4. இடையார்பாக்கம் மகாதேவர் திருக்கோயில். கி.ஸ்ரீதரன்..வரலாறு.காம் இதழ் 103 ஜனவரி 9, 2013
  5. தமிழ்நாட்டுக் கல்வெட்டுக்கள் - தொகுதி 4 - சீ.வசந்தி, General Editor, இரா.சிவானந்தம், Editor - சென்னை, தமிழ்நாடு அரசு தொல்லியல் துறை. 2013 பக்கங்கள் ; 49 - 54 வரை (தமிழ்நாட்டுக் கல்வெட்டுக்கள் வரிசை எண் - 43)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bhoothalingaswamy Cave Temple, Boothapandi: Hindu Rock cut Cave Temple near Nagerkoil, Tamil Nadu, India

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Boothapandi (பூதப்பாண்டி) Rock cut cave temple complex is located in Thovalai (தோவாளை) taluk,  Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, India PIN 629852 and the village is forming part of  Boothapandi Town Panchayat. The geographical coordinates of Boothapandi are 8°16′22″N latitude 77°26′24″E longitude. As of 2001 India census, Boothapandi had a population of 14,721 and an average literacy rate of 82%.  The village lies on the western bank of Pazhaiyar river (பழையாறு), at Thadakaimalai (தடாகமலை) foot hill. Thadakaimalai is believed as the abode of Thadaka in the Indian epic Ramayana and hence the place attains legendary importance. Boothapandi is 13 km (8.00 miles) away from Nagerkoil, 

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The taluk head-quarters town spans over an area of around five sq km.  Boothapandi is surrounded by the lush green fields, grove of coconut trees and the scenic hills of the Western Ghats (Sahyadri) in the background. Azhakiya Pandiapuram (அழகிய பாண்டியபுரம்) is in the north-west (6.2 km), Santhimangalam (சாந்திமங்கலம்) in the south-west (3 km), Thalakudi (தாழக்குடி) in the south-east (3.2 km) and Aralvoimozhi (ஆரல்வாய்மொழி) in the east (11 km).  Bhoothalingaswamy Temple (பூதலிங்கஸ்வாமி கோவில்) in Boothapandi is in the tourist map of Kanyakumari district. Thovalai, Kanyakumari, and Vattakottai are nearby tourist destinations. P. Jeevanandham (ப.ஜீவானந்தம்) (1907–1963) also known as Jeeva (ஜீவா),  one of the pioneers of the Communist Party of India and political leader, known freedom fighter, social reformer and litterateur was born in Boothapandi.


Long ago a cow-boy was taking care of cow-herds.  The boy got surprised about the low milk yielding cow and suspected that someone is milking the cow without his knowledge. When followed the cow, the cow proceeded straight to a small cave surrounded by bushes and showered the milk there.  He saw that a devil (bootha) engaged in drinking milk directly from the cow. People got afraid to go near the cow. The Pandya king was informed about the cow's mysterious action and the king ordered his soldiers to find out the reason for the mysterious events. Soldiers removed the thorny bush and made access inside the cave. They saw that the cow showering the milk over the Shiva-lingam. The king was reported about the mysterious cow showering milk on the Shiva-lingam. The king ordered to built a temple around the cave and the prime deity Shiva-lingam was named as Boothalingaswamy. Thadakaimalai is regarded as the adobe of Thataka, the Yaksha princess-turned-demoness in the Hindu epic Ramayana. The presiding deity of the temple is known as Boothalingaswamy, locally known as Salian Kanda Thirumani.


Boothalingaswamy Temple complex (பூதலிங்கஸ்வாமி கோவில் வளாகம்) includes the rock cut cave  The cave temple is excavated on the eastern slope of the side of the hillock situated in the middle of the village. This temple comprise an outer prakara, inner prakara and the main cave with a frontward pillared mandapam  constituting a large complex. The rock cut cave forms nucleus structure around which temple structures added in the subsequent period of time. Altogether forming the large temple complex.

A large perimeter wall in the periphery encloses the outer prakara. The temple is accessible from four entrances. The western entrance is through three tier gopuram or gateway. The gopuram has granite base and three tiered brick super-structure decorated with stucco images. The pillars, supporting base tier of the gopuram, bear images of the donors (of the temple) appear in folded hand gesture (mudra) On the west face of the tower there are two guards in stucco images appear holding small and large clubs in each of their hands. On top of the boulder towards east of this tower, there are two stucco images: one is a milking cow and the other one is Lord Shiva with trident.    . 

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There are two entrances on the south wall. The westward entrance arch on the south wall is decorated with stucco image of Lord Shiva with consort Uma in Ananda-thandava posture. Also there are two musicians on either side of dancing Shiva. The eastward entrance on the south wall leads to the river Pazhaiyaru. The simple entrance on the eastern wall is located before the sanctum of the prime deity.  The entrance on the northern wall leads to the temple tank with a mandapam in middle (நீராழி மண்டபம்)

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Southern inner entrance leads to Pazhaiyaru river
On the western side to the left of the entrance of the outer prakara adjoining the rock slope is the shrine for Sastha. There is  a Pillaiyar shrine under the tree The inner perimeter wall encloses the sanctums of the prime deity, goddess Sivakami, shrines for minor deities, mandapams and inner prakara. The parts of the inner southern and northern walls sit on the rock. There are three entrances leading to the inner prakara: One entrance on the southern wall, other two entrances on the eastern and northern walls. The eastern entrance leads to sanctum of the goddess Sivakami. Another entrance with single tier gopuram leads to the prime sanctum. The southern entrance leads to Pazhaiyaru river.  This entrance is supported by adishtana, pillars with square, kattu, square sections, vettu-potikas and prastara components. The ornamental arch houses the  celestial wedding event: Lord Vishnu handing-over goddess Meenakshi to Lord Sundareswara. 

The inner prakara extends on all three sides except the rocky western side. The inner prakara includes sanctums of god and goddess as well as shrines for minor deities i.e., Kanni Vinayagar, Sastha and Somaskanthar.  Somaskantha shrine has sanctum and mukha-mandapam and vimana with nagara griva and shikara. Sastha shrine has eka-tala nagara vimana and sanctum guarded by dwarapalakas (boothas). Kanni Vinayagar shrine has eka-tala vesara vimana and sanctum and mukha-mandapam. Chandigeswara shrine and Dakshinamurti shrine are located on the north and south side prakara of the prime deity.  There is a shrine for Lord Muruga and his two consorts Valli and Devayani.


Two mandapams are located before the sanctums of god and goddess and they are known as wedding mandapam (கல்யாண மண்டபம்) and Chettiar mandapam (செட்டியார் மண்டபம்). The wedding hall is supported by ornate pillars with bas relief sculptures. Some are simple pillars sectioned by square kattu and square and some other pillars are composite pillars. The cupid or Kamadeva Manmatha and his love Rathi images appear on a pillar. The Chettiar Hall is also supported by ornate pillars with bas relief sculptures. Some are huge Yali pillars.

Sivagami Amman Shrine

The east facing Sivagami Amman shrine has a two tier vimana, mukha-mandapam and large mandapam. The vimana, built on a granite base with a brick superstructure, has a kapotabanda adhishtana and the vedika component is shown in between the adhishtana and pada (wall). The octagonal (Vishnu-kanta) pilasters with nagabandha pada support the roof. The potikas above the pillars are madalai with nanudal  tipped with sharp bud bearing the prastara components that adjoin the roof. The three sides of the external walls are sectioned and shown as simple koshta-panjara.  The Adi-tala hara walls have been raised considerably high and the second tala also has hara walls. The stucco images adorn in sala and griva koshtas.


The mukha-mandapam and large mandapams were added before the cave sanctum of the prime deity during later age. The mukha-mandapam has supportive floor, wall supported by square pilasters, taranga potikas and prastara components. Kapota has ornate kudus. The large mandapam can be accessed through entrances at east and south walls. Mandapam is supported by square kattu square kattu square pillars with vettu potikas. The bronze idols are protected in this mandapam. The Vinayaka idol in lalitasana posture is found in the inner mandapam.

Cave Sanctum

The Cave sanctum is .1.71 m in the north-south direction; 1.38 m in the east-west (south wall) direction; 1.46 m in the east-west (north wall) direction; with the height of 1.73 m..The floor, roof and the walls of the cave sanctum are well formed. The sanctum entrance is 0.67 cm in width and 1.60 m in height.

The sanctum houses Boothalingaswamy (பூதலிங்கசுவாமி) in the form of Shivalingam.  Shivalingam is sculpted out of the mother rock and the rectangular 'avudai' measures 0.80 cm in length in the north-south; 0.75 cm in width in the east-west directions and 0.52 cm in height. The external faces of avudai  is embellished with padabandha adishtana with components such as jagadi (ஜகதி), vritta kumudam (குமுதம்), khanta flanked kampa and pattaka mouldings. The rudra (cylindrical) bana sits on the square avudai.  A small pit is shown towards north to receive the anointed water. A water chute is seen running up to the north wall of the sanctum and continued in the east wall of the sanctum.


The cave temple has been named after the presence of Bhoothalingaswamy Temple (Bhoothapandi), which is famous for its sculptures and architecture. The cave temple was excavated by King Pasum Pon Pandyan, the son of Boothapandiyan, Flag post of this temple is very tall and the temple car here is very old  and higher in weight.  A shrine dedicated for Tamil Poet Avvaiyar is located at 5 km away from Bhoothalingaswamy temple.


Kanyakumari District Inscriptions volume 5.  (கன்னியாகுமாரி மாவட்டக் கல்வெட்டுத் தொகுதி 5) Chennai, Department of Archaeology Government of Tamil Nadu, 1969 pp. 69 - 81 has published eleven inscriptions copied from this temple as well as two inscriptions from North street of this village.  The first inscription located nearer to Jeeva library cites two streets in the name of Udhaya Marthandan (உதய மார்த்தாண்டன்) and Boothala Raman (பூதல இராமன்) an asylum to someone under threat also known as Abhaya Dhanam (Jainism) or Anjinan Pukalidam (Tamil அஞ்சினான் புகலிடம்). Another inscription dated 19th day Tamil month Thai 1691 A.D.was inscribed on behalf of Adi Chandeswara endowment. The inscription is about Vadakku Saliyar, weaving community people (Padmasali), who lived in this village during 17th century A.D. They migrated to Vadaseri (near Nagerkoil) after lot of suffering and they were colonized back in Boothapandi village.

Inscription dated Tamil month Masi, year 1789 cites the installation of flag-post in this temple. Another inscription on the pillar of Nandi Mandapam records one Thanumarthandan.(Tamil தாணுமார்த்தாண்டன்). Remaining nine inscriptions are inscribed on the walls of goddess Sivakami (Amman) shrine. Inscription dated 1578 A.D. records the gift of 25  numbers of five wick oil  lamps standing on their stems and pedestals, fabricated in brass (குத்துவிளக்கு) by one Ayyappan Pariyerum Perumal of Boothapandi village. The lamps would be burnt before the prime deity. It also includes land endowments for daily oil consumption. The gift was accepted by Sri Karyam (temple) staff. Signed by Puttur Eswaran, Sri Karyam (temple) accountant,, Kannan Govindan, Treasury accountant and Bootha Nambiyar, Endowment accountant.

Inscription dated 1581 A.D. records the assurance made by Sri Karyam staff to offer one measure of ghee and ten banana and arrange for the celestial dance of prime deity during pooja rituals every month on the Apara (Pitru) Paksham, Ashtami (eighth) tithi day. For this purpose the staff accepted one hundred 'panam' as deposit from one Kali-paappan of Perumanguli desam in Mudala Nadu district, forming part of Malai Mandalam province (Tamil: மலை மண்டலத்து முடாலா நாட்டுப் பெறுமாங்குழி தேசத்துக் காளிபாப்பன்). Another inscription dated 1581 A.D. records the land endowment for pooja rituals and offerings to the prime deity on the Vasantham day, Tamil month Chithirai by one Eswaran Kesavan of Makizhanjeru house in Kadaikkasu Desam (Tamil: கடைக்காசு தேச மகிழஞ்சேறு இல்லத்து ஈஸ்வரன் கேசவன் ). Inscription also cites places like Azhagiya Pandiyapuram, Kadukkarai, Pallacha Peru and Veeraneri Kulam.

Inscription dated 1583 A.D. records the deposit of two hundred 'panam' made for pooja rituals of Lord Dakshinamurti by Pasumpirathu Gangaiyadi Bhattar of Azhagan Azhaga Chaturvedimangalam of Padmanabhanallur (Tamil பத்மநாபநல்லூர் அழகன் அழகச் சதுர்வேதிமங்கலத்துப் பசும்பிறத்து கங்கையாடி பட்டர் ). Yet another inscription dated 1607 A.D. records the deposit of three hundred 'panam' for purposes of early morning rituals (திருப்பள்ளியெழுசசி), ablution (அபிஷேகம்) and offerings (படையல்) to the prime deity in the name of one Sooranai Vendra Adittan of  Padmanabhanallur aka. Murungur of Nanjil Nadu (Tamil நாஞ்சில் நாட்டு முருங்கூரான பத்மனாபநல்லூரில் சூரனை வென்ற ஆதித்தன்).

Incomplete inscription dated 1614 A.D. records the deposit of seven hundred 'panam' for purposes of pooja rituals and offerings for procession deity Lord Chandrasekarar during new-moon day procession by one Velayudha Perumal of Mulainallur in Nanjil Nadu (Tamil: நாஞ்சில் நாட்டு முளைநல்லூர் வேலாயுதப்பெருமாள்). Mentions the temple staff and their specific duties during procession as well as minor deities. Another inscription dated 1618 A.D. records the deposit / gift of nine hundred 'panam' for purposes of procession of prime deity and goddess on 'Bharani' star day in Tamil month 'Chithirai' by Settu Silaiyan Ariyakutti, a resident of Tiruvidangur Ravi-varmar (aka. Kulasekara Perumal) street. Specific expenses include feeding the brahmins, Maheswara pooja rituals, rice flakes, Nambimar Adangal, Sala Sambavinai, Namimar Tantra Salavu, evening ablution, camphor etc.

Inscription dated 1658 A.D. records the royal order issued by Elder Thambiran Eraivai Ravivarma,during his stay in the palace of Boothapandi after pooja rituals of the temple. The royal order is in consideration of peasants plea on vacating stay of land charges vs the defense side representation made by the revenue staff.  Inscription without date lists out the offerings made by the temple authorities to the Pooja rituals of Lord Chidambareswarar during the Tamil month Markazhi.
Temple Timings : Morning 4:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. Evening 4:00 P.M. to 7:30 P.M.

Poojas & Festivals: Pradosham (13th tithi) Day, Special pooja on New moon Full moon days. Annual festival on Thai (Tamil) month and Chithirai (Tamil) month. 

How to get there?

The town of Boothapandi is connected to Nagercoil by road.
Nearest railway station: The closest railway station is the Nagercoil Junction Railway Station.
Nearest airport is the Tiruvanandapuram International airport

  1. Bhoothalingaswamy Temple Bhoothappandi. Tourism Everyone. 
  2. Bhoothalingaswamy Temple Bhoothappandi. Find My Temple.
  3. Bhoothalingaswamy Temple, Bhoothappandi (Wikipedia)
  4. பூதப்பாண்டிக் குடைவரை பல்லவர் - பாண்டியர் - அதியர் குடைவரைகள். மு.நளினி மற்றும் இரா.கலைக்கோவன். சேகர் பதிப்பகம், சென்னை, 2012. பக். 221 - 233. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sivagiri Sri Mahadevar Cave-temple Alvarkoyil: Hindu Rock cut Cave near Nagerkoil, Tamil Nadu, India

Sivagiri (சிவகிரி) Sri Mahadevar (ஸ்ரீ மகாதேவர்) Rock cut cave temple is located in Alwarkovil (ஆழ்வார்கோவில்) village, Kalkulam (கல்குளம்) taluk, Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, India and the village is forming part of  Eraniel Town Panchayat.  The geographical coordinates of Eraniel (Eranyasinga nalloor) are 8.2°N latitude 77.3°E longitude. It has an average elevation of 10 meters (32 feet). There is a small palace located near Eraniel. It is nearer to Thuckalay. Alwarkovil is 30 km away from Nagerkoil.


The east facing Sivagiri (சிவகிரி) Sri Mahadevar (ஸ்ரீ மகாதேவர்) rock cut cave temple is excavated on the eastern slope of Sivagiri hillock and therefore the cave lies in an east-west orientation. The prime deity Shivagirinathar appear in the form of Shivalingam and the Shivalingam image is sculpted out from the mother rock of the cave. The rock cut cave forms nucleus structure around which temple structures added in the subsequent period of time. The cave temple complex comprise a mukha-mandapam, cloister-mandapam (சுற்றுமாளிகை ) and another large mandapam (பெருமண்டபம்)..

Cloister Mandapam

The cloister mandapam is built around the three sides of single celled cave. The adhistana and the pillars of this mandapam are highly ornamented. On the east wing of the cloister mandapam is supported by composite pillars with amazing yali (யாளி) motif. Yali is a mythical creature seen in many  temples, often sculpted onto the pillars.  The pillars supporting the north and south wings of the cloister mandapam are sectioned as square, octagonal kattu, square, octagonal kattu and square. The facade of the cloister mandapam has a corridor (open court) and the access can be made through two entrances located on the east and north wings. The south entrance of the cloister mandapam leads to temple kitchen (மடப்பள்ளி) and large mandapam.

Nandi Mandapam

In the center of the mandapa there is a Nandi mandapam. The seated Nandi on a platform is facing Shivagirinathar, the presiding deity. Nandi mandapam is built on a plinth (adhishtana) with jagadi, khantam and peruvajana mouldings. The four pillars of the Nandi mandapam are sectioned as square, octagonal kattu, square, octagonal kattu and square. Above the pillars there are vettu potikas (corbel brackets) holding the prastara components such as uttira (beam), vajanam, valabhi and kapotha.


Mukha-mandapam is built to the west of Nandi-mandapam i.e., adjoining to the rock wall of the cave. It has a padabandha adhisthana with jagadi, octogonal kumudam, kantha with pada and flanked by kampa and pattika mouldings. Above the adhisthana is the vedika with vedikanda.  Mukkha-mandapam is supported by four square pilasters with capitals. The vettu potikas (corbel brackets) holding the prastara components such as uttira (beam), vajanam, valabhi and kapotha with kudus. The south and north walls are sectioned with square pilasters and shown as simple koshta-panjara. The entrance on the east wall is 0.61 cm in width and 1.36 m in height.

The sanctum can be approached either from flight of three steps with balustrade on the south or from similar flight of three steps with balustrade on the north. The two sets of flight of steps leads to the raised plinth with upana, thamarai, khanta and kapota mouldings.


The entrance from mukha-mandapam is supported by square pilasters on either side. The sanctum excavated from the rock. The sanctum measures 1.72 m in width in the north-south direction and 1.70 m in length in the east-west direction and 1.70 m in height. The sanctum entrance is 0.85 cm in width and 1.46 m in height. The sanctum houses Shivagirinathar (சிவகிரிநாதர்) in the form of Shivalingam.  Shivalingam sculpted out of the mother rock and the square 'avudai' measures 0.24 cm in height and 0.65 cm in length on all four sides. The cylindrical bana sits on the square avudai. The walls and roof of the sanctum are simple and plain.

How to get there?

One can easily get regular buses to Eraniel from other major cities of the country. All buses from Thingalnagar bus stand will pass through Eraniel. Many buses run from Nagercoil via Eraniel. For every 5 minutes you have buses to Nagercoil and for every 15 minutes you have buses to Thuckalay
Nearest railway station is Eraniel railway station. Nagerkoil railway station is the main junction
Nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. - 72 km away

  1. சிவகிரிக் குடைவரை தென்மாவட்டக் குடைவரைகள். மு.நளினி மற்றும் இரா.கலைக்கோவன். (தென்தமிழ்நாட்டுக் குடைவரைகள்: தொகுதி 3). டாக்டர் மா.இராசமாணிக்கனார் வரலாற்றாய்வு மையம், திருச்சிராப்பள்ளி. 2009. பக். 148 - 150. 
  2. சிவகிரி (sivakiri) - ஸ்ரீ மகாதேவர் (ஆழ்வார்கோவில்) திருக்கோவில்; தக்கலை - ஆழ்வார்கோவில்.
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