Showing posts with label Hindu Temple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hindu Temple. Show all posts

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thirunanthikarai Cave Temple

Thirunandhikarai, (Tamil: திருநந்திக்கரை, Malayalam: തിരുനന്തികര )  also known as Thirunandhikara, rock cut cave is located in Thirunandhikarai village, Kalkulam (கல்குளம்) taluk, Kanyakumari (கன்னியாகுமரி மாவட்டம்) district, Tamil Nadu state, India PIN 629161. This village is located in the Kulasekaram (குலசேகரம்) - Pechipparai (பேச்சிப்பாறை) road and forms part of Thirparappu special village panchayat and Kulasekharam post office limit. The Latitude and Longitude coordinates of Kulasekaram are N 8° 22' 5.1445" (8.368096°) and E 77° 18' 3.0622" (77.300851°) respectively. The elevation / altitude of Kulasekaram is 280 meters (920 feet) above sea level.  

Kanyakumari, mostly preferred by travelers since it has many tourist attractions. There are around 25 tourist places in Kanyakumari district for the travelers to explore and they include Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Muttom Beach, Keeriparai Reserve Forest, and Ullakaarvi, all vie for attention. Other charmers include Government Museum, Thanumalayan Temple, and Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary. Thirparappu Falls (திற்பரப்பு அருவி) is the famous falls in the Kothai River (கோதை  ஆறு). Kulasekaram has many rubber plantations. and has a respectable transport network Thirunandhikarai village and cave are located 3 km from Kulasekaram, 11 km from Pechiparai Dam (பேச்சிப்பாறை அணை), 5 km from Thriparappu Waterfalls, 38 km from Nagerkoil and 50 km from Kanyakumari. The nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram. The best season to visit places in Kanyakumari is between February - December. ISRO chairman Mr. Madhavan Nair was born and brought up in Thirunandhikarai.

There are two important Shiva temples in Thirunandhikarai:  Thirunanthikara Nanthishwaran Temple and Thirunandhikara Cave Temple. Nanthishwaran Temple is situated on the river banks of Nandhiaaru. Thirunandhikarai is the fourth shivalayam among the 12 saivite shrines in Kanyakumari district (1 Tirumalai, 2 Thikkurichi, 3 Thirparappu, 4 Thirunandhikkarai, 5 Ponmanai, 6 Pannippagam, 7 Kallkkulam, 8 Melancode, 9 Thiruvidaicode, 10 Thiruvithamkode, 11 Thiruppanticode and 12 Thirunattalam). There will be a marathon run by saivite devotees from shrine Thirumalai, the first shivalayam, to the twelfth, Thirunattalam on the day of Shivratri.  The traditional Shiva temple also houses shrines for Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.

The south facing Thirunandhikkarai rock cut cave temple is excavated on the southern slope of the hillock and therefore the cave lies in an east-west orientation. The cave floor is formed 4 m above the ground level. A flight of ten steps (including the two steps provided later by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), leads to the cave. Eight steps sculpted on the (mother) rock slope. The facade is 4.97 m in the north-south and 0.51 cm in the east-west directions. The evenly leveled rock ground is 5.68 m in the east-west and 64 cm in the south-north directions. The finely leveled rock floor is formed 4 cm above the rock ground and measures about 52 cm in the south-north and 5.40 m in the east-west directions. The upana is sculpted 5 cm above the rock floor and runs from east to west.  

The facade is 4.97 m in the north-south and 0.51 cm in the east-west directions. It consists of two massive pillars in the middle and two pilasters on the corners. The pillars and the pilasters are square-kattu-square in shape. The plain angular potikas (corbels) support the slender uttira (beam). and there is no vajana above uttira. The rough rock brow forms the kapota (not designed well). The canopy of the kapota is flat. and do not incline downwards. Above the brow there are two rectangular sockets. There are also two sockets on the rock floor. These four sockets suggest the chances of forming temporary shed (பந்தல்). One meter above the kapota, bhumidesa is indicated with grooves and carvings. 

The mother rock excavated well from top to down to match slopes of the hillock. The western wall is 1.97 m in height and 1.04 m in width  and the eastern wall is 1.89 m in height and 1.19 m in width. There are two 1.54 m tall (shallow) niches on both the walls and Vettezhuthu inscriptions.(வட்டெழுத்து கல்வெட்டுக்கள்) are inscribed. The Vattezhuthu inscription on the 82 cm wide eastern wall is damaged and the other inscription on the western wall is intact. The upper square, kattu and part of lower square of the western facade pillar bear another Vettezhuthu inscription.

The facade leads to the rectangular mukha-mandapam which is 0.86 m in the north-south and 3.28  m in the east-west directions and 2.23 m in height. The inner-mandapam floor is raised to 0.6 cm in height. The mukha-mandapam floor is evenly sculpted. The plain eastern and western walls of mukha-mandapam show prastara components i.e., uttiram and vajanam between wall and the roof. The vajana is running through out the mandapam. The inner-mandapam on the rear is 5.40 m in east-west and 2.42 m in north-south directions and 2.18 m in height. Two square pilasters on either side of the cave walls of the inner-mandapam are supporting the uttira. The walls are plain.  The roof of the mandapa is well formed. 

The square sanctum is 2.16 m in all the four sides and 2.17 m height,. The walls and roof are plain. The Shiva Lingam is instituted in a socket pit which is 70 cm in east-west and 1 m in north-south directions. The square avudai is 82 cm in north-west and 78 cm in east-west directions and 0.53 cm in height. The external faces of avudai  is embellished with padhabandha adishtana with components such as jagadhi (ஜகதி), octogonal kumudam (குமுதம்), khantam with pada flanked by kampa and without patiikai.  The rudra bana is 44 cm in height. A small pit is shown towards north to receive the anointed water. A water chute is seen running up to the north wall and east wall of the sanctum and continued in the east wall of the mukha-mandapam. 

The northern wall of the inner-mandapam is washed with stucco coatings (sudhai) and painted with mural paintings. The mural paintings are considered as important since paintings belongs to earlier phase of Kerala mural art. The line paintings include the human figure with folded right hand on the chest and wears necklace with dollar. The right leg is folded and rested on the seat. The left leg could not be viewed.

The Ganapathy image is sculpted on the western wall of the mukha mandapam. The Lord wears Karandamakutam with head band, yagnopavitha, armlets and bracelets. The right rear-hand holds broken tusk, right fore-hand holds an unknown object, the rear left-hand holds sugar cane leaves and the fore-hand is damaged. The left tusk is visible and the right one could not be seen. The Vidyadharar is seen above right hand corner of Ganapathi. The flying figure holds a flower.


Ay dynasty  ruled the land between Nagercoil and Thiruvalla and Vizhinjam, The Ay Kingdom located to the south of Chera kingdom "functioned for long as an effective buffer state between the declining Chera kingdom and an emerging Pandya Kingdom." Ay dynasty was later known as Venad (வேள்நாடு / வேணாடு) dynasty. This land was also the scene of many battles. In 788 A.D, Vikramaditya Varaguna (885–925), an illustrious Ay ruler ruled Venad. 

Jatilavarman Parantaka (Maranjadayan) the Pandya king waged a war over Ay kingdom and encircled Vizhinjam port. The Pandya conquered the Ays and made it a tributary state. Still the Ays refused to submit and fought against Pandyas for almost a century. Despite frequent defeats Cheras continued to exist as a fighting force. During ninth century Cheras rose again as a notable power. This region came under Cheras during the reign of Bhaskara Ravi Varman Tiruvadi (978 - 1036 A.D.). Rajaraja Chola I waged a war against the Venad ruler and captured the southern region and named it as Rajaraja Tennadu. Muttom is the fishing village in Kalkulam taluk. Rajaraj Chola I named it as Mummudi Chola Nallur. 

The department of archaeology was started under the initiative of Professor Sundaram Pillai and the then Maharajah of Travancore, Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma sanctioned the monthly grant of Rs. 50.00 for its functioning. The renowned  epigraphist T. A. Gopinatha Rao was employed as first Superintendent in the year 1908. T.A. Gopinatha Rao edited and published The Travancore Archaeological Series (T.A.S.) from 1910. Thus T.A.S. inaugurated the systematic survey and collection of inscriptions in the erstwhile Travancore state. The scholar also visited Thirunandhikarai and Chitharal caves in 1920-21 and copied and recorded the inscriptions from the caves. .According to T.A.Gopinatha Rao, the cave temple was built during the reign of the king Vikramaditya Varaguna. Chitharal was erected at Tirucharanam at the behest of a Jain priestess called Muttavala Naranakuttiyar, who also presented the temple a metallic lamp stand and a golden flower. Rao also believed that Thirunandhikkarai rock cut cave was excavated by Vikramaditya Varaguna, the Ay ruler in 9th century A.D in simple Pandya style. The rock cut caves were the founding caves of Jainism.  Thirunandhikarai cave also served as dwelling place to Jain ascetic Veeranandi, who came from Thirunarunkondai Melappalli and preached Jainism during 8th century. One more cave temple Kurathiarai  was also excavated in the ninth century when this region was under the influence of Jainism. Thirunandhikarai rock cut cave is under the maintenance of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).


This cave has four Vattezhuthu (வட்டெழுத்து) inscriptions (Travancore Archaeological Series (T. A. S.) vol. I., p. 413.)  inscribed one on each side of the entrance and others on each side of the pillars. One of which bears the name of the ruler and his regnal year. The inscription, dated in the 18th regnal year of Rajaraja Chola I (முதலாம் இராஜராஜ சோழன்) found on the western cave wall, registers the gift of Muttom (முட்டம்), the village  (name changed as Mummudi-chola-nallur மும்முடிச்சோழநல்லூர்) in Valluva-nadu (வள்ளுவநாடு) under Rajaraja-thennadu (இராஜராஜ தென்னாடு). The gift was made for the celebration of a festival for Mahadeva of Tirunandikarai (திருநந்திக்கரை மகாதேவர்) and also for ablution of the deity in the river, on the Satabhisha, star (சதய நட்சத்திரம்) day in the Tamil month Aippasi, (ஐப்பசி) (October - November) in the year 1003 A.D, being the birthday of the king. Records a provision made by the king for supply of one nazhi (நாழி) measure ghee every day for lighting the perpetual lamp in the name of Rajaraja Chola I in the temple.

Inscription Travancore Archaeological Series (T. A. S.) Vol. III, p. 206 records gift of nine buffalo(s) for the provision of burning a perpetual lamp with one uri measure ghee each day for Tirunandikarai Lord by Ainurruva Mutharaiyan alias Sithakutti Ambi of Veikottumalai under Nanjilnadu and the buffalo(s) were handed-over to Idayarmangalavan Pavithiran, an official serving under the village elders (sabha).  The inscription commences with these words 'the year of annihilation weaponry in Karaikanda Eswaram (‘கறைக்கண்ட ஈசுவரத்துக் கலமறுத்த யாண்டு’) refering the date of inscription. According to Gopinatha Rao, the temple 'Karaikanda Eswaram'  is the saivite temple located near Katikaipattinam in Eranial taluk. The inscription was inscribed in an year when the Chera war-ships were destroyed in Karaikanda Eswaram.    

Inscription Travancore Archaeological Series (T. A. S.) Vol. III, pp. 200-203 inscribed on a pillar, whose date assignable to eight century A.D., records the gift of 'Ur' (ஊர்-a village). For this purpose one Dhaliyazhavan (தளியாழ்வான்), along with the 'elders' of Tirunandikarai (திருநந்திக்கரை பெருமக்கள்) assembled in Kurunthambakkam (குருந்தம்பாக்கம்). The assembly converted the Ur's name into Sri Nandimangalam and gifted to one Nambi Ganapathi (நம்பி கணபதி) for purposes of mid-night offerings (நள்ளிரவுத் திருவமுது) to the Lord of the temple. The four boundaries (எல்லைகள்) are cited for the village under gift and include a river (name not known) (ஒரு பெயரற்ற ஆறு), Nandhi river (நந்தியாறு), Mudukonur (முதுகோனூர்) and Pakkamangalam (பாக்கமங்கலம்). Gopinatha Rao, who copied and recorded the inscription, has pointed out the present existence of  Mudukonur and Pakkamangalam near Nandhimangalam.

Inscription Travancore Archaeological Series (T. A. S.) Vol. III, pp. 203-206 comprising 40 lines was inscribed on another pillar. This inscription records the gift of land by Mangalacheri Narayanan Sivakaran to Tiruvallavazh Mahadevar of Tirunandikarai  (திருநந்திக்கரையில் உறையும் திருவல்லவாழ் மகாதேவர்). The inscription lists out the land pieces. Resolved the wages to be issued from the land produce accrued from the above land: four measures (கலம் Kalam) to Santhipuram, five measures (கலம் Kalam) to Uvachar (category of temple staff), five measures (கலம் Kalam) to Udayar (category of temple staff) and cleaning staff as well as for puja rituals, The perpetual lamps were lit using 60 measures (uri - உரி) of ghee from the remaining land produce. 

How to get there?

Road Transport : Thirunandhikarai and its nearest town Kulasekaram are well connected from Thirvananthapuram or Kovalam Beach or Kanyakumari. You can get busses from Nagercoil, Thuckalay, Marthandam, Kulasekaram. Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) organizes local site seeing tours. 

Nearest Railway Station is Marthandam. Nagerkoil railway station is 15 km away. Kanyakumari railway station is connects with major cities in India.

Nearest Airport is Trivandrum International Airport.

  1. A topographical list of the inscriptions of the Madras presidency (collected till 1915) with notes and references by Rangacharya, V. (Vijayaraghava); Archaeological Survey of India 1919
  2. Kerala State Archaeology Department (Wikipedia)
  3. On the southern tip of India, a village steeped in the past. The Hindu November 17, 2011
  4. Thirunandikkara Cave Temple in Thirparappu in Kanyakumari. Yatra to (
  5. Thirunanthikarai (Wikipedia)
  6. Thirunanthikarai Cave Temple. C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai. (
  7. Thirunanthikarai Cave Temple. (
  8. Thirunanthikarai inscription. Kerala (
  9. திருநந்திக்கரைக் குடைவரை இரா.கலைக்கோவன், மு.நளினி வரலாறு.காம் இதழ் 63 (செப்டம்பர் 15 - அக்டோபர் 15, 2009)

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

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

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 (
  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



Monday, April 25, 2016

Mallam (Nellore A.P) Subramanyeswaraswamy Temple: A Tourist Attraction

mallam-subramanya-swamy3.jpg (416×246)
Mallam Subramanyeswaraswamy Temple (front view)
Mallam (மல்லம்), a quaint village located in Chittamur Mandal (சித்தாமூர் மண்டல்), SPSR Nellore (நெல்லூர்) district, Andhra Pradesh Pin Code 524403. The village is also known in the local dialect of Telugu as “Thirugu Mallam” (திருகு மல்லம்) (meaning “turn back”) owing to the unique natural phenomenon where the water from nearby lakes would fill up the nearby fields whenever there were rains and return back to the lake. Inscription calls this village as Thiruvanmur (திருவான்மூர்) (S.I.I. Vol. XII, no. 106). Mallam (Nellore) should not be confused with Mallam village in Pithapuram Mandal, East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh or with Gudimallam village in Sri Kalahasti Mandal in Chittur district, Andhra Pradesh.

The geographical Coordinates are 13° 57' 0" North (latitude), 80° 7' 0" East (longitude) The main occupation of the area is agriculture and allied activities. It is located 63 km towards South from District head quarters Nellore. It is 46 km from Gudur (கூடூர்), 30 km from Nayudupettai (நாயுடுபேட்டை), 8 km from Chittamur, 488 km from State capital Hyderabad. Gudur , Srikalahasti , Nellore , Venkatagiri are the nearby towns to Mallam. From Chennai you may enjoy the comfort of driving through NH 16 (previously National Highway 5 i.e., Chennai - Calcutta National Highway). Take diversion to your left at 'Koottu road' 4 way junction before Naydupeta. Surprisingly you will find the state and rural roads are good for smooth driving.

The hamlet is part of Mallam Panchayat and as per census 2011 it has a population of 3829 (males 1998 and females 1831 and around 934 families).  The village has a junior collage, primary and secondary Zilla Parishad high schools and two private schools. 


Mallam is home to the Subramanyeswaraswamy temple. It was constructed by the Pandya king Kullothunga Bhupathy. The temple belongs to 630 A.D.  and was further extended / renovated in 10th and 11th centuries by Pallava, Chola and Vijayanagara rulers. The prime deity is Lord Subramanyeswaraswamy (a.k.a Lord Murugan) and it is devoid of hand. The temple is located in a calm and quiet atmosphere at the outskirts of Mallam village. Its antiquity is concealed behind latest renovations and modern chemical paintings.

The temple is facing north. The sanctum sanctorum of Mallam temple has the granite sub-structure and brick and lime mortar based super-structure. The ekatala Dravidian vimanam has octagonal shikara and the finial. The 64 pillared mandapam is supported by pillars with brahmakantas (square) at lower and upper ends and the vishnukanta or kattu (octagonal shaft) in the middle. The pillar faces are sculpted with bas relief panels showing episodes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Srimad Bhagavatam.  Horse-drawn chariot sculpted onto the Vasantha mandapam of Subramanyeswaraswamy temple, Mallam. The chariot drawn by a pair of caparisoned horses and its wheel (on both sides of the mandapam) are sculpted with finer details. There are separate sanctums for consorts of the prime deity at the inner prakara. 


Since the demon was annihilated by Lord Subramanyaswamy at this shrine and in order to give heed to the prayers of the demon Mallam village, the shrine was named after the demon known as Mallasura. The episodes of Mallasura are painted recently on the mandapam ceilings.

The Pandya king Kullothunga Bhupathi took rest around this jungle region with his body-guards. His men spotted the nearby ant-hill surrounded with thick bamboo plants. The ant-hill was covering the idol of Lord Subramanya. The king wanted to cut the bamboo poles for his palanquin and instructed his men to cut the bamboo. When their sword cut the bamboo from its roots, they noticed blood oozing from the bush. The sword while cutting the bamboo sticks broke both the hands of the idol. On the same night Lord Subramanya appeared in the dream of Pandya king and instructed him to raise a temple at the same spot to install his idol at the prime sanctum. You may notice that the armless idol (prime deity) is half buried into the ground. Over the years the new idol came as a replacement to the old one. Thus the Mallam temple came into existence.

The Pandya king handed over the task of sculpting the Vasantha mandapam to his chief sculptor. The chief sculptor's son was also a skilled sculptor. He designed and sculpted the Vasantha mandapam as the wheeled stone chariot drawn by a pair of horses. When he completed the task he wanted to show the structure to his lady love. When shown to his beloved the horse drawn chariot came alive and was about to move. The chief sculptor came to know about the live chariot and got annoyed. His immediate action to halt the chariot by breaking the legs of a horse. There after he killed his son and committed suicide. The mandapam was actually designed to face east. Since it came alive and turned towards south and now it is facing south.
Vasantha Mandapam showing the Chariot and Horses
Horse-drawn Chariot with wheels - Note the finer details
Closer-look of the Horse
16 pillared Mandapam - Flight of steps flanked by YALI Balustrade
Pillar faces showing bas-relief images
Adhishtana - Jagadhi with bas relief panels flanked by yali frieze and kapotam
View of Adhishtana of the Mandapam

Thoongu thalai Navakandam
Navakandam means nine Cuts. Brave act of the heroic warrior who ritually cuts himself in nine spots in his body and dies in front of Goddess Durga a.k.a Kotravai just to fulfill his vow before a war. He does this supreme sacrifice for the longevity and success of the king as well as his kingdom. The brave individuals who have sacrificed their lives for sake of the country are honored by the countrymen. They install memorial stones for them and offered rituals. 

Thoongu thalai navakandam is the rare form of self-sacrifice wherein the warrior ties his tuft with his left hand or ties to a tree and chops his head with a sword held in his right hand.
An inscription of Kampavarman,  dated in the 20th year, found on a stone slab set up in front of the Subramanyeswaraswamy temple speaks of a person holding his severed head by the tuft in his left hand, while the right hand grasps a sword. It registers a gift of land made by the urar of Tiruvanmur of Pattai-Pottan for the pious act of Okkondanagan Okkatindan Pattai-Pottan, probably his father, in cutting off flesh from nine parts of his body and finally his head as an offering to the goddess Bhitari, i.e., Durga. (The rituals connected with human sacrifice offered to the goddess Durga are described in the Kaika-Purana, Chapter 70.). The modern Mallam or an ancient suburb of it was known as Tiruvanmur in inscriptions. (S.I.I. Vol. XII, No. 106 - A.R. No. 498 of 1908) Mallam, Gudur Taluk, Nellore District, on a slab set up in front of the Subrahmanya temple)

ஸ்ரீ கம்ப பருமற்கு யாண்டு இருபதாவது பட்டை பொத்தனுக்கு ஒக்கொண்ட நாகர் ஒக்கதீந்தன் பட்டை பொத்தன் மெ (தவம்) புரிந்ததென்று படாரிக்கு நவகண்டங் குடுத்து குன்றகத்தலை அறுத்துப் பிடலிகை மேல்வைத்தானுக்கு திருவான்மூர் ஊரார் வைத்த பரிசாவது : எமூர்ப்பறை கொட்டிக்கல்மெடு செய்தராலிக்குக் குடுப்பரானார் பொத்தனங் கிழவர்களும் தொறுப்பட்டி நிலங் குடுத்தார்கள் . இது அன்றென்னங் கங்கையிடை குமரியிடை எழுநூற்றுக் காவதமும் செய்தான், செய்த பாவத்துப் படுவார். அன்றென்றார் அன்றான் கோவுக்கு காற்பொன் தண்டப்படுவார். S.I.I  Vol XII No. 106

Sankaran Sriram, Abhinav Books, has helped me a lot to understand the importance of Mallam (Nellore) temple.  

  • Reference
  1. Mallam
  2. South Indian Inscriptions. Pallava Inscriptions (S.I.I Vol XII No. 106)
  3. Subramanya Swamy Temple in Mallam
  4. Sri Subramanyeswara Swamy Temple, Mallam
  5. மகேந்திர வர்மன் மயிலை சீனி வேங்கடசாமி. பாவை பப்ளிகேஷன்ஸ். சென்னை. 2012. பக். 104.
 Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple, Mallam, Naidupet, Nellore by M.Sreenivas

Friday, October 16, 2015

Heritage Trails Villupuram: Tirumundeeswaram and Jambai 1

Tirumundeesvaram Temple (Wikimapia)
Panuval Bookstore, Thiruvanmiyur is popular for books on environment and society and for its series of weekly, monthly lectures and discussions on literature, cinema, society, economics and politics at its premises. It has also organized three "One day Archaeological Educational Tour" to historical and archaeological monuments. The fourth one day tour heritage tour was organized on 04th October 2015 and planned cover four places in Thiruvennainallur and Tirukoyilur taluks, Villipuram district in Tamil Nadu: Gramam (Tirumundeesvaram) கிராமம் (திருமுண்டீஸ்வரம்), Tiruvennainallur (திருவெண்ணெய்நல்லூர்), Tirukoyilur (திருக்கோவிலூர்), Jambai Dasimadam hillock (ஜம்பை தாசிமடம் குன்று) and Jambunatheshwarar Temple (ஜம்புநாதேஸ்வரர் கோவில்). It was planned to hire a bus and accommodate around 30 participants.  Panuval also ensured the participation of Dr. Padmavathi Anaiappan,  retired Senior Epigraphist, Tamil Nadu State Archaeology Department, Mr. C.Veeraraghavan, ancient historian, freelance archaeologist and epigraphist and Mrs. Mangayarakarasi Veeraraghavan. I had the chance to participate in this one day tour. However we could spent our entire day in visiting two places only i.e, Gramam and Jambai Dasimadam hillock and Jambunatheshwarar Temple.

Dr. Padmavathi Anaiappan: Explaining the History
We have commenced our day from Panuval Bookstore, Thiruvanmiyur by 06.30 am. After number of pick-ups at several points, we proceeded straight on the NH45 towards Villupuram. We stopped on the Highway at the roadside and finished our packed breakfast (Hot-Chips Mini Breakfast) under the shady tree. The NH 45 was looking excellent highway for pleasant morning travel. Mr.C. Veerraghavan and Mrs.Veeraraghavan joined with us at Villupuram by-pass. After travelling about 5 km, we took the right turn at Arasur crossing and proceeded further on the road leading to Thiruvennainallur enroute to Tirukoilur. After passing through the railway level crossing, we reached our first destination, the village Gramam and parked our vehicle before Sri Sivaloganathar temple.

Gramam (கிராமம்) is a village in Thiruvennainallur taluk (திருவெண்ணைநல்லூர் வட்டம்), Villupuram district (விழுப்புரம் மாவட்டம்), Tamil Nadu, India. The village is located on the southern bank of the river Malattaar (மலட்டாறு). Malattar is said to be the old bed of Thenpennai river. The historical Tirumundeeswaram (Mouli Gramam) village is described to have been located on the southern bank of the Thenpennai river. The  Thenpennai River (aka Dakshina Pinakini in Kannada) covers 105 km in Villupuram district. It is the main source for irrigating over 25000 acres in Villupuram district. The Gramam village is at the geographic coordinates of 13.093 N latitude and 80.292 W longitude. The rural village is part of Gramam village panchayat and as per census 2011 it has a population of 3,048 people and 68.43 % literacy rate. The main occupation of the area is agriculture and allied activities. It is located 16 km towards South from District head quarters Viluppuram, 3 km from Arasur, 5 km from Thiruvennainallur, 21 km from Thirukovilur and 190 km from State capital Chennai. 

Location: Gramam near Tiruvenneinallur . (Nadu Naadu (நடு நாடு)
Historical Name: Mundeeswaram (முண்டீஸ்வரம்)
Shiva: Sivalokanathar (சிவலோகநாதர்), Mundeeswarar (முண்டீஸ்வரர் ), Mudiswarar (முடீஸ்வரர்).
Ambal: Soundaryanayaki (சௌந்தர்யநாயகி), Kanarkuzhali (காணார்குழலி), Selvambikai (செல்வாம்பிகை).
Holy Tree (Vriksham): Vanni (வன்னி). Prosopis tree (in English). Botanical Name: Prosopis cineraria (Family: Fabaceae)
Holy Water (Theertham): Mundaka Theertham (முண்டக தீர்த்தம்)

Devaram Hymn (தேவார பதிகம்) : Devaram hymns of saint Tirunavukkarasar (திருநாவுக்கரசர்). This shrine is the 19th Lord Shiva Temple in Nadunadu region praised in Devaram hymns (19வது நடுநாட்டுத் தேவார தலம்). 

Hymns (Patikam) of Saint Tirunavukkarasar Devaram mentions this shrine as Tirumundeeswaram (திருமுண்டீச்சுரம்

'திருமுண்டீச் சரத்து மேய சிவலோகன் காணவனென் சிந்தை யானே.'


The inscriptions of Parantaka Chola I address this shrine as 'Tirumudiyur.'  The inscriptions of Rajendra Chola I record the name of this shrine brahmadeyam of Mudiyur-nadu (முடியூர் நாட்டுப் பிரமதேயம்)   and was forming part of the subdivision of Tirumunaipadi Nadu (திருமுனைப்பாடி நாடு) in Jayangonda-Solamandalam (ஜெயங்கொண்ட சோழமண்டலம் ) province. According to the inscriptions of Aditya Karikalan aka Aditya II, Kulotunga I and Kulotunga II, this shrine was known as Parantaka chaturvedhi-mangalam (பராந்தக சதுர்வேதிமங்கலம்) of Mutiyur-nadu (a subdivision) of Tirumunaipadi Nadu (திருமுனைப்பாடி நாடு) in Jayangonda-Solamandalam. Rajaraja II called this shrine as Kulotunga Chola Chaturvedhi-mangalam (குலோத்துங்க சோழ சதுர்வேதிமங்கலம்) of Mutiyur-nadu. The place according to R.P.Sethupillai (இரா.பி.சேதுப்பிள்ளை) was also called as Mouli Gramam (மௌலி கிராமம்) in Sanskrit. Later it was transformed to as just 'Gramam' after omitting prefix 'Mouli.' The current name of this shrine is Tirumundeeswaram.

The prime deity Sivalokanathar was addressed with different names in different inscriptions: Parantaka Chola I inscriptions called the Lord as 1. Sri-Arruttali (ஸ்ரீ ஆற்றுதளி), 2. Sri-Arruttali-Mahadeva (ஸ்ரீ ஆற்றுதளி மகாதேவா), 3. Sri-Arruttali-Perumanadigal (ஸ்ரீ ஆற்றுதளி பெருமானடிகள்), 4. Sri-Arruttali-mulasthanattu-Perumanadigal (ஸ்ரீ ஆற்றுதளி மூலஸ்தானத்துப் பெருமானடிகள்), 5. Sriyarruttali-Perumal (ஸ்ரீயாற்றுத்தளி பெருமாள்). Rajara Chola II preferred to call the Lord as Sri-Arruttali-Aludaiyar (ஸ்ரீ ஆற்றுதளி ஆளுடையார்). Jatavarma Sundarapandya I called the Lord as Bokkanankuduttaruliya-Nayanar (பொக்கிஷங்கொடுத்தருளிய நாயனார்) and Mulasthanam-Udaiyar Bokkanankuduttaruliya-Nayanar (மூலஸ்தானத்து உடையார் பொக்கிஷங்கொடுத்தருளிய நாயனார்).

View from North-east corner
The Chola prince Rajaditaya, when stationed to guard the Chola garrison in Gramam village, crowned himself as the Chola prince. Vellankumaran (வெள்ளன்குமரன்), a native of Nadikkaraputtur in Chera country (சேரநாட்டு நந்திக்கரைபுத்தூர்) was serving as the general of Chola army and was stationed here along with his force. Sri Sivalokanathaswamy temple was constructed by Vellankumaran during the 36th regnal year (943 A.D.) inscription of Parantaka Chola I records the consecration of the granite temple of Sri-Arruttali-Perumanadigal at Mudiyur in auspicious Revathi star, on Saturday in the Tamil month Thai in 4044th Kaliyuga year.

View from North-west corner

Legend has it that king Chokkalingam, attracted by the mystifying red lotus flower in the water tank, attempted to get hold of the flower. The flower kept moving in a circle around the tank. The king lost his patience and shot an arrow at the flower. King fainted on seeing the entire tank water turned red. After sometime when he gained conscious, he found a Shivalinga with the scar on the head. The Shivalinga was consecrated and this temple structure was built by him on the south bank of the Pennai river. The river course and changed over a period of time and now the river Malattar flows on its left. Since the Lord appeared with scar, he got the name Mudeeswarar (முடீஸ்வரர்) and the village during Parantaka I Chola rule was known as 'Mouli Gramam' (மௌலி கிராமம்). Over a period of time, the village is simply called as 'Gramam.'  The temple is popularly called as 'Tirumundeeswaram,' a transformation from 'Tirumudeeswaram' (திருமுண்டீஸ்வரம்).  Another interpretation is that Thindi and Mundi are the Dwarapalakas of the Lord Shiva and Mundi worshiped Him at Mundeeswaram and Thindi worshiped Him at Thindeeswaram (present Tindivanam).  The Lord is referred to as ‘Aattruthali Mahadeva’ (ஆற்றுத்தளி மகாதேவர்) in the inscriptions.

Rajagopuram, Main Sanctum, Murugan Sanctum (behind), Goddess at left

The five tier rajagopuram and the tall and huge perimeter wall encloses the vast temple complex.  The temple has wide and spacious corridor.   The temple architecture is identified  as "Somaskanda form" i.e., the sanctum of the Muruga shrine is flanked by the sanctum of the prime deity on the right and the goddess's sanctum on the left.  

Sivalokanathar aka Mundeeswarar or Mudiswarar

The prime deity is Lord Sivalokanathar aka Mundeeswarar or Mudiswarar (Lord of the crown) appear as Shivalinga in the main sanctum. Rajagopuram, Bali Peetam, Nandhi, and the Main Sanctum (Sivalokanathar) aligned in the same axis. There is no flagpost at the entrance. The niches, at the entrance, the positions of the shrines of Vinayaka and Muruga are interchanged. Lord Nataraja appears in a separate shrine. The prime sanctum is connected to the ardhamandapa and ornate four pillared mukhamanadapa. 

The entrance between the mukhamandapa and mahamandapa is flanked by two free standing heavily ornamented Dwarapalakas with peaceful appearances: Thinda on your left and Munda on your right. The pushpa palakai is loacted at the rear end of mahamandpa wall is meant for flower garland making. The mahamandapa also houses the Chola style idols of Saints: Tirugnanasambandhar, Appar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar. The mahamandapa is attached with 18 pillared open mandapa.  

The east facing vimana of the prime deity is  made out of granite substructure (from adishtana to prastara) and brick super-structure (hara, griva and shikara) studded with with stucco images. The external walls of the vimana has upana, jagadi, tri-patta kumuda mouldings and can be termed as simple  Padabandha adhishtana. The pada of the vimana and ardhamandapa have five deeply cut niches flanked by ornate pilasters. 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 Chola period Lord Rishaba Dakshinamurthy appear seated on His Rishaba Bull vahana (mount) on a hill instead of under the Kallala tree (Banyan tree). Sthanaka Vishnu appear in the niche of the western vimana wall. Brahma appear in the niche of the northern vimana wall.

The east facing shrine of Goddess Soundaryanayaki aka Kanarkuzhali, the consort of the presiding deity, is located on the left side of the prime sanctum. Like the main sanctum this also  built with granite and the super structure (hikara, griva and stupi) with brick and mortar. Goddess Soundaryanayaki appear in a standing posture. The niches are bereft of any deities / sculptures.

The shrine of Lord Muruga appears behind the prime sanctum. The Lord's left hand shows Narasa mudra and right had abhaya mudra. Navagriha shine is located just before the Durga.  There is a separate shrine for Aiyanar. The seven Sapta Matrika idols and the Yoga Guru (Virabhadra) are arranged in a row at the north corridor. Also there is the unique Pallava Durga idol.

Tirumundeeswaram is the 51st shrine  glorified by Devaram hymn (தேவார பாடல் பெற்ற தலம்) and the 19th among the 22 Shiva shrines of nadu nadu canonized by Devaram.  The Lord is revered by the Devaram hymns of Thirunavukkarasar aka Appar. 

Saptamatrika & Yoga Guru
Durgai (Pallava)

Dakshinamurthi (Parantaka I)

Parantaka Chola I (முதலாம் பராந்தக சோழன்) (907 - 955 A.D.) further extended  the Chola territory founded by Vijayalaya Chola (விஜயாலய சோழன்) and Aditya Chola I (முதலாம் ஆதித்த சோழன்). He earned the title 'Mathirai konda Koparakesari' (மதிரைகொண்ட கோப்பரகேசரி) at the third year of his rule (910 A.D.) after invading Maravarman Rajsimha II 's (இரண்டாம் மாறவர்மன் இராஜசிம்மன்) Pandya kingdom and capturing its capital city 'Madurai.'  After loosing the first battle, Maravarman Rajsimha II sought the help of Ilam (ஈழம்) (Sri Lanka) king and an Ilam army under the command of Chakka Senapati (சக்க சேனாபதி) came to Tamilakam to support Pandya. Parantaka I at the eighth year of his rule (915 A.D) defeated the combined army of Pandya and Ilam in Vellore (வேலூர்) by Parantaka's generals Pazhuvettaraiyar (பழுவேட்டரையர்) and Kandan Amudanaar (கந்தன் அமுதனார்). This victory earned Parantaka the title Parantaka got a title - 'Maduraiyum Eezhamum Konda Kopparakesari' ( "மதிரையும் ஈழமும் கொண்ட கோப்பரகேசரி") as well as usurping more Pandya regions to Chola territory.

The Chola dynasty received support from many local kings and feudatories. During the reign of Parantaka Chola I Pazhuvettaraiyar (பழுவேட்டரையர்) and Kodumbalur Velir (கொடும்பாளூர் வேளிர்) extended their support to the Chola king.  Pazhyvettaraiyars have their origin from kerala. They also made their presence in the heartland of Chola i.e, Kila-Paluvur (கீழப்பழுவூர்) and Mela-Paluvur (மேலப்பழுவூர்), in the Udaiyarpalayam taluk of the Tiruchirapalli district and managed to survive in very high ranks in the Chola kingdom.

Parantaka Chola I had numerous wives, among whom no fewer than eleven come out in the inscriptions: three of them were from Paluvettaraiyars' daughters -  Udaiya Pirattiyar Kokkilan Adigal (உடைய பிராட்டியார் கோகிலன் அடிகள்) daughter of the Chera king Rama Varma of Kulasekara dynasty; Arumoli Nangai (அருள்மொழி நங்கை), the daughter of another Chera king Paluvettaraiyar Kandan Amuthan, who ruled from west Paluvur of the present Tirutchirappalli in Tamil Nadu bordering Kerala; Villavan Mathevi (வில்லவன் மாதேவி) probably the daughter of the Venad King (வேநாட்டு அரசர்) of the Chera country. Parantaka I had four sons i.e., Rajaditya Chola (இராஜாதித்ய சோழன்), Kandaraditya Chola (கண்டராதித்ய சோழன்), Arikulakesari aka Arinjaya Chola (அரிகுலகேசரி என்ற அரிஞ்சயன்) and Uttamasseeli Chola (உத்தமசீலி சோழன் ). The Parantaka had Rajaditya, elder son and Kandaraditya second son by Udaiya Pirattiyar Kokkilan Adigal and Arikulakesari aka Arinjayan, the third son by Arulmoli Nangai.

Vijayaraghavadeva (A.R. No. 169 of 1912), believed as the Chera contemporary of Parantaka Chola I, is considered as the successor of Sthanu-Ravi the friend and ally of Aditya I (S.I.I., Vol. III, No. 89).

The Krishna II (இரண்டாம் கிருஷ்ணன்) (878–914 A.D.) Rashtrakuta king married his daughter to Adiya Chola I (870–907 A.D.). Aditya Chola I had his son Kannaradeva (கன்னரதேவா) aka Krishna III (மூன்றாம் கிருஷ்ணன்) by Rashtrakuta princess. After the demise of Aditya Chola I, Parantaka Chola I ascended the Chola throne in 907 A.D. instead of Kannaradeva, the grandson of Krishna II, the half-brother of Parantaka I. Rashtrakuta king Krishna II decided to force the issue of his grandson and therefore waged a war against Parantaka Chola I with the support of his feudatory allies i.e., Banas and Vaidumbas. However Parantaka I thwarted Krishna II and his allies in a pitched battle at Vallala aka Tiruvallam (presently located at Vellore district) some time between 911 - 912 A.D. The invaders fled back to Rashtrakuta court and influenced Kannaradeva aka Krishna III to wage a war against Parantaka Chola I.

The situation increased responsibility of increasing the defence at the north-west gateway (வடமேற்கு எல்லை). The demise of Parantaka Chola I 's loyal vassal Ganga Pritvipati II (கங்க அரசன் இரண்டாம் ப்ரிதிவி) in 940 A.D. has also weakened the defence in the north-west gateway. The Rashtrakuta army under the command of Krishna III mounted attacks into the north-west gateway and its contiguous territories between 940 and 949 A.D. However Parantaka Chola I was very much conscious about the repercussions and made his defence preparedness against emergency situations.  At Mudiyur (முடியூர்) aka Mouli Gramam in Tirumunaipadi Nadu he maintained a strong army garrison (படைவீடு) under the command of his elder son Rajaditaya Chola. The army was stationed in the forms of local garrisons and in cantonments called Kadagams (கடகம்). He was ably supported by his brother Arikulakesari aka Arinjaya Chola. The arrangements served its purposes for a quite a number of years.

Vallabhan Kumaran (வல்லபன் குமரன்) aka Vellan Kumaran (வெள்ளான் குமரன்) or Vellankumaran (வெள்ளாங்குமரன்) was the son of Rajasekharan, the first king (feudator) of Valluvanadu as well as the Governor of Vallabha Rashtra under Chera king. There are inscriptions on king Rajasekharan. From incriptions it is learned that Vellan Kumaran was the native of Nandikkaraiputtur in Chera country (present Kerala). He also served as the general of the Chola Prince Rajaditya.

It was in 949 A.D. Krishna III invaded and received the support of his brother-in-law and his Western Ganga feudatory Butuga II (இரண்டாம் பூதுகன்) in this battle. Rajaditya faced the Rashtrakuta army and the decisive battle was fought at Takkolam (தக்கோலம்), small town located 14 km south-west of present Arakkonam town. It was well contested battle and the Chola cause suffered mainly on account of a chance arrow shot by Butuga having fatally wounded Rajaditya.  Atagur (a place near Mandya taluk, Mysore ditrict, Karnataka) inscriptions of Krishna III and Butuga II (இரண்டாம் பூதுகன்) serve a an important source telling how the Chola prince was treacherously murdered. Krishna III asumed the title of the conqueror of  'Kanchi and Tanjore.'

The inscriptions of Tiruvorriyur provides the narration about Vallabhan Kumaran, who was feeling guilty for his failure in saving the life of the Chola prince in Takkolam war. As a result he decided to renounce his worldly life and assumed the ascetic order. This Vallabhan Kumaran was known as Chaturana Pandithar (சதுரான பண்டிதர்)

E-stamping (2)

E-stamping (1)
From the 9th to 16th century CE, the temple was under the patronage of successive prominent South Indian dynasties such as the Rashtrakutas, the Gangas, the Cholas, the Hoysalas and the  Vijayanagara rulers.

Plenty of  Parantaka Chola I inscriptions are found in  Sivalokanatha Temple complex. 

  1. A 23rd regnal year inscription on the southern wall of the vimana of Sivalokanatha records the gift of 90 sheeps for a perpetual lamp by Tirumunaipadi Nattar. (S.I.I No. 180 of 1906).
  2. Another 24th year regnal year inscription of the same Chola ruler on the western wall of the vimana registers a sale of land to the temple of Sivalokanatha (S.I.I No. 181 of 1906).
  3. Paranthaka Chola I 29th regnal year  inscription (S.I.I No. 182 of 1906) on the southern wall of of the vimana of Sivalokanatha  records about the provision made for burning perpetual lamp in the temple of  mulasthanattu-Mahadeva of Sri-Arruttali at Tirumudiyur by Kari Piraman (காரி பிரமன்), a servant of prince Rajadittadevar.
  4. Some other 29th regnal year inscription of Paranthaka Chola I (S.I.I No. 183 of 1906) on the southern wall of the vimana enters a gift  of gold for burning a perpetual lamp in the temple of mulasthanattu-Mahadeva of Sri-Arruttali from the interest by a person and his name is not comprehensible from the inscription.
  5. Yet another 29th regnal year inscription of  Mathiraikonda kopparakesari (Paranthaka Chola I) (S.I.I No. 183 of 1906) on the western wall of the vimana registers the gift of gold coin made by one Somadi (சோமாடி) and to light a perpetual lamp in the temple of  mulasthanattu-Mahadeva of Sri-Arruttali at Tirumudiyur from the 'Polisai' (பொலிசை) aka interest periodically accumulated over time. The bhttars of Adhanur (ஆதனூர் பட்டர் ) were made responsible for supplying one 'uzhakku' ghee (உழக்கு நெய்) to the temple.
  6. One Vellan Kumaran, a native of Nandikkaraiputtur, Chera country, gifted sheeps for lighting a perpetual lamp in the temple when he was staying in this temple as the general of the Chola Prince Rajaditya.
  7. Another 31st regnal year (938 A.D.)  inscription of Parantaka I records the gift of copper bell stand to the temple of Sri-Arruttali-Perumanadigal  by some army men of Prince Rajaditya.
  8. The 32nd regnal year (939 A.D.)  inscription of Parantaka I records the gifts of gold and paddy made by Prince Rajadityadeva to Sri-Arruttali-Mahadeva at Tirumudiyur through the bhattars of Tiruvennainallur and Adhanur (திருவெண்ணைநல்லூர் மற்றும் ஆதனூர் பட்டர்கள்). 
  9. One 35th regnal year (942 A.D.) incomplete  inscription (S.I.I No. 185 of 1906) of Parantaka I records the gift of utensils to be used during worship in the temple of Sri-Arruttali-Perumanadigal Probably by some army men of Prince Rajaditya.
  10. Another 35th regnal year (942 A.D.) incomplete inscription (S.I.I No. 187 of 1906)  of Parantaka I records the gift of utensils used during worship in the temple of Sri-Arruttali-Perumanadigal probably by some army men of prince Rajaditya
  11. Yet another 35th regnal year (942 A.D. ) damaged inscription (S.I.I No. 186 of 1906)  of Parantaka I registers the gift of a village tax-free made by the prince Rajadityadeva (probably with the specified income fixed as paddy and gold) for the disbursals of worship in the main shrine of the temple of Sri -Arruttali at Mudiyur.
  12. One more 35th regnal year (942 A.D. )  inscription of Parantaka I  registers the land endowment made made by one Kovadi Udayar from Brahmapuri Nallurkandam in Mazhanadu for light two perpetual lamps to Sri-Arruttali-mulasthanattu-Perumanadigal at Tirumudiyur.
  13. The 36th regnal year (943 A.D.) bilingual inscription of Parantaka I on the northern wall of the vimana includes 15 lines in Sanskrit grantha language and 23 lines in Tamil language. This inscription informs about Vellan Kumaran, a native of Nandikkaraiputtur, Chera country,  who built the granite temple of Sri-Arruttali-Perumanadigal at Mudiyur. Vellan Kumaran occupied an important position (மூலப்பிரித்தியர்) in Chola government and general of the Chola army.
  14. The 39th regnal year (946 A.D.) unfinished inscription (S.I.I No. 192 of 1906)   of Parantaka I  mentions of  prince Rajadittadevar and the temple of Sriyarruttali-Perumal
  15. One more 41st regnal year (948 A.D.) inscription of Parakesarivarman who took Madurai and Ilam (Parantaka Chola I)  (S.I.I No. 184 of 1906) records the gift of sheep for burning a lamp in the temple of Sri-Arruttali Mahadeva at Tirumudiyur by Madevan Visameli, a resident of Kurramangalam in Mangala-nadu. 
E-stamping (3)
Krishna III aka Kannara (r.939 – 967 A.D.) was the last powerful and efficient king of the Rashtrakutas.  He held titles such as Akalavarsha, Maharajadhiraja, Parameshvara, Paramamaheshvara, Shri Prithvivallabha etc. This dexterous military campaigner  played a vital role in rebuilding the Rashtrakuta Empire. He defeated  Parantaka Chola I at Takkolam.

Three inscriptions of Krishna III were copied from this temple. The 20th regnal year (959 A.D.) inscription of Krishna III (Kannaradeva) registers the gift of sheeps for lighting perpetual lamp. Another 22nd regnal year (961 A.D.) incomplete inscription of Kannaradeva is not clear. Yet another 25th regnal year (964 A.D.) inscription of Kannaradeva registers the gift made by Sri Sundar Tiruvoyan, the king of Vaidumba.
E-stamping (4): C.Veeraraghavan sir

The 4th regnal year inscription of Chola prince Aditya Karikalan aka Aditya II, the eldest son of Sundara Chola and the brother of Rajaraja Chola I, registers the gift made for burning the perpetual lamp. The 16th regnal year inscription of Rajendra Chola I informs this village as brahmadeyam of Mudiyur-nadu  (a subdivision) of Tirumunaipadi Nadu in Jayangonda-Solamandalam. The fourth regnal year inscription of Rajendra Chola II records the tax-free land grant made by the citizens of Kosapadi village made to the temple of Sri-Arruttali-Mahadeva in Parantaka chaturvedhi-mangalam of Mutiyur-nadu (a subdivision) of Tirumunaipadi Nadu in Jayangonda-Solamandalam. The 10th regnal year inscription of Rajendra Chola II records the perpetual lamp gift made to Sri-Arruttali-Mahadeva in Parantaka chaturvedhi-mangalam by Sathi Periyan.

The fourth regnal year inscription of Kulotunga Chola I registers the decision of the sabha of Parantaka chaturvedhi-mangalam, of Mutiyur-nadu (a subdivision) of Tirumunaipadi Nadu in Jayangonda-Solamandalam, to allow one Bhattanpuvan (பட்டன்பூவன்), after rechristening him as Parantaka Peraraiyan (பராந்தகப் பேரரையன்) to live in Ur Nattam (ஊர் நத்தம்) after receiving 20 kasu (coins) from him.

This is incised immediately below No. 190 and gives no introduction to the king. The 10th regnal year inscription (S.I.I. no. 190A of 1906) of Kulotunga Chola II records a gift of 72 sheep for burning “three fourth” of a perpetual lamp in the temple of Sri Arruttali-Mahadeva by Selvan Pallikondan alias Rajaraja-Periyaraiyan a kudippalli (farmer) of Sevalaimedu in Kaliyur-kottam a division of Jayagondasola mandalam to atone for the death of Madani Kulatturan of the village, caused by him [unconsciously?]. 

The 16th regnal year inscription (S.I.I. no. 188 of 1906) of Kulotunga Chola II records a gift of “there fourth” of a perpetual lamp to the to the temple of Sri Arruttali-Mahadeva at Parantaka-chaturvedimangalam (Gramam) by one periyan Kanavadi of salur in Mangala-nadu of Vanagappadi a division of Rajendrasola-valanadu in expiation of his having shot by mistake (while hunting) a resident of Enadimangalam (name not clear). 

The third regnal year inscription of Rajaraja II registers that the lands belonging to temple Sri Arruttali-Aludaiyar in Kulotunga Chola Chaturvedhi-mangalam of Mutiyur-nadu were exempted from tax by one Anabhaya Kadavarayan aka Mohan Alapiranthan from Padikaval.

Three inscriptions of Jatavarma Sundarapandya I were copied from this temple:

The 15th regnal Year (1265-66 A.D.) inscription (S.I.I. no. 197 of 1906) of Jatavarma Sundarapandya I  on the west and south wall of the Selvambika Shrine begins with the prasasti Samasta-jagad-adhara etc. The inscription, damaged in places, registers another endowment by the king of 9 ½ veli of land, free of all taxes, for the expenses of the service instituted in the temple of Bokkanankuduttaruliya-Nayanar (பொக்கனங் கொடுத்தருளின நாயனார்) in the name of the ruling king by Vira-Pandya. Also refers about land grants made during the time of Kopperunjingadeva.  

The 18th regnal Year (A.D. 1268-69) inscription (S.I.I. no. 196 of 1906) of Jatavarma Sundarapandya I on the south wall of the Selvambika Shrine begins with the Sanskrit prasasti of the king, Samastajagad-adhara etc. The record is damaged. It appears to register an endowment of land made by the king expenses of worship and offerings to the deity of the day of a special festival instituted in his name, and for the formation of a garden where the god was to be taken in procession on such occasions. Provision is also made for the daily supply of 200 lotus flowers to the temple and of 2000 lilies on festival days by the grant of 2-¼ veli of land to one Vikrama-pandyan alias Sri Mulasthana-Velan for the purpose. The god is called Sriyarruttali Mulasthanam-Udaiyar Bokkanankuduttaruliya-Nayanar (பொக்கனங் கொடுத்தருளின நாயனார்).

The 19th regnal Year (A.D. 1269-70) inscription (S.I.I. no. 198 of 1906) of Jatavarma Sundarapandya I on the north and west walls of the Selvambika Shrine begins with the Sanskrit prasasti of the king,  Samastajagad-adhara etc. It is damaged in the middle portion. It registers another endowment of land tax-exemption by the king. However, the extent of the land and the purpose of the gift are missing. Out of this land one veli was to be set apart as jivita for Vikrama-Pandyan alias Sri Mulasthana-velan (mentioned in No. 196 above) for a (further) daily supply of 1200 lotus flowers to the temple.  

  1. Ancient Indian History and Civilization ed.2. By Sailendra Nath Sen. New Delhi, New Age International Publishers, 1988. pp. 479 - 480.
  2. Chronological history of Malabar: Ancient political history of Malappuram, Valluvanad. ( )
  3. Treasures of Chola Empire in Cauvery Delta: Veera Narayana 'Veeranam' Lake. Prasannasankar. Jul 19th, 2015 in (
  4. Lecture on the temple by Dr. Padmavathi Anaiappan,  retired Senior Epigraphist, Tamil Nadu State Archaeology Department, Chennai. 
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