Showing posts with label Shiva Lingam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shiva Lingam. Show all posts

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.

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

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bhairavakona Cave Near Ongole, Andhra Pradesh: Pallava Style EIght Rock cut Cave Temple Group

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Bhairavakona (பைரவகோணா) , a group of eight rock cut temples are located close to the borders of Nellore (நெல்லூர்) and Prakasam (பிரகாசம்) districts. The caves are situated amidst dense Nallamala forest (நல்லமலா காடு) nearer to Ambavaram (அம்பாவரம்) - Kothapalli (கொத்தபள்ளி) villages. From Onipenta (ஒனிபெண்டா)  village on the Mydukur - Porumamilla road (bus route), the cave is 12 km away. Other nearest towns include Kadapa (கடப்பா) (60km), Yerraguntla (எர்ரகுண்டலா)  (50km), Mydukur (மைடுகூர்) (30 km) are nearest big towns. The geographical Coordinates of Bhairavakonda are 15.° 5'15" North and 79°12' 14" East and it has an elevation of 230 meters (757 feet).

Bhairavakona4-217x300.png (217×300)
 Trimukha Durga devi / Shiva Lingam 
There are eight rock cut cave temples having resemblance with Mamallapuram (மாமல்லபுரம்) rock cut cave temples. There are eight cave temples excavated on the side of a granite cliff comprising carved architectural elements such as decorative pillars and finely sculpted panels. The Pallava (பல்லவர்) architects started carving rock cut caves and the rock cut architecture of Mamallapuram commenced from late 7th century A.D. Bhairavakonda cave temples have resemblance with Mamamallapuram cave temples  with certain Rashtrakuta-Chalukyan features.

Lord Shiva is the presiding deity here in the form of Kala Bhairava and hence the name Bhairavakona. Roughly the caves can be categorized into two divisions based on their rock cut architecture. The first group caves commencing from north have only shrine cells and completely bereft of any mandapam in front. The cave shrine appear with simple entrances guarded by sthanaka (standing) dvarapalas on either side. Each sanctum cell is provided with a Shiva Lingam. The Shiva Linga peeta sculpted from mother rock and the bull vehicle (Nandi) statue sculpted from the rock and set in front of each sanctum cell.  The back wall of the sanctum in the central cave carved with bas relief image of Trimurti and this image reminds us the Mahesa image at Elephanta cave. The unique cave temples wherein Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Bhairava are worshiped together at one place. The central cave temple also has the idol of goddess Trimukha Durga Devi. A cave temple is also dedicated to goddess Annapurna and the shrine accessible through ladder platform.  The northern most end of the rock bears two splendid images sculpted in conspicuous bas relief – a eight handed Hari Hra and ten-handed slim figure of dancing Siva facing the water falls,. The Trimurti rock cut caves (grihas) reminds us the Pallava caves at Mandagapattu and Mamallapuram To sum up the rock cut cave architecture can easily be assignable from 8th to 9th century AD.

One can easily recollect the rock cut architecture of Mahendravarma Pallava (மகேந்திரவர்ம பல்லவன்). The ornate pillars with Mahendra squatting lions at the base and also the bulbous capital surmounted by a  large abacus, a typical Pallava signature can also be found here. The pottika (corbel) above the pillar is curved but without roll and median patta.  The typical kapota or cornice is roughly sculpted with kudus. Frieze of Buta ganas found below kapota. The two armed gorgeously decorated dwarapalas (door keepers) do not provide front view but only side view and turn straight towards the shrine. Both are standing is similar tribhanga posture over the support of their club.  No protruding curved sharp canine teeth or horns noticed and they are decorated with very fine carvings representing cloth and jewellery.

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Cell bereft of any front mandapam
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Cell with front mandapam Lion pillar - Other Pallava signatures
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Another attraction is that smooth moonlight used to fall on the idol of Goddess Durga Devi on the day of Karthika Pournami and Maha Shivarathri.   The peaceful lush green forest surround the awesome waterfall cascading from 200 mts and flows 1 mt below the central cave temple.  The waterfall offer a pleasant weather. The thundering medicated crystal clear water descends from the height of 200 mt and retreats their health under fullmoon light.  


The legend says that Lord Shiva and his consort goddess Parvati descended from their mount Kailash and were lured by its lush green vegetation, the cascading waterfall and the cave temples. They installed a Shiva Lingam resembling the one at Amarnath. The scholars assign date back to 7th - 8th century A.D.


Karthika Fullmoon day,  found auspicious for Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, is celebrated in a large scale. Maha Shivaratri is another important festival attracts devotees in huge number.

Small guesthouse is available for stay


Ambavaram Kothapalle, Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh

How to Get There

By Road: Nellore to Udayagiri; Udayagiri to SR Puram; SR Puram to Kothapalle; Kothapalle to Bhairavakonda

Nearest raiway station Yerraguntla railwaystation (50 km.) Kadapa railway station (60 km).

Nearest Airport: Tirupathi

  1. Bhairava Konda Temple (
  2. Bhairava Konda cave temples, Ambavaram, Kottapalli, Ongole Andhra Pradesh November 5, 2014 (
  3. Many people throng Bhairavakona. The Hindu November 13, 2008

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sri Kapoteswara Temple, Chejerla (Guntur A.P): Legend of King Sibi and Mahendravarma Pallava I Inscription

Sri Kapoteswara Temple, Chejerla (Wikipedia)

Apsidal Shikara (Gajaprishta Vimanam) (Wikipedia)
Chejarla (சேஜர்லா) also known as Cezarla or Chejerla, a sleepy village panchayat located in Nekarikallu (நெகரிகல்லு) Mandal, Guntur (குண்டூர்) district, Andhra Pradesh , India. PIN 522615. The geographical Coordinates of Chejarla are 16° 18`' 59" North (latitude), 79° 50' 58" East (longitude). Chejarla village should not be confused with Chejrla Kandriga (Nellore) village in PithapuramChejerla Mandal, SPSR Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh or with Chejarla (Nellore) village, Chejarla Mandal, SPSR Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. The village is situated 22 km north east of Narasaraopet, (நரசராவபேட்) the nearest town and railway station, and 57 km away from Guntur, the, district headquarters. From Nekarikallu bus facility is available for every one hour. It has a total population of 4,094 peoples (2050 male and 2044 female). There are about 1,093 houses in Chejerla village. The village situated in the plain land surrounded by thick jungle and rocky hills.


Chejerla is reputed for Sri Kapotheswara (கபோதேஸ்வரா) temple, one of the very earliest temples in Andhra Pradesh and its origin dates back to third or fourth century A.D. Most probably it is the only temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva as Kapotheswara. The prime deity is the Shiva Lingam. The prime sanctum houses Lord Kapoteswara in the form of Shiva Linga. The barrel vaulted eka-tala vimanam is apsidal or gaja-prishta vimanam (shape of an elephant back) with apsidal sala shikara. It is believed by scholars that the vimana was originally Buddhist Chaitya and was modified for purposes of Shiva worship.


The legend Sibi Chakravarthi (சிபி சக்ரவர்த்தி) is in Mahabharata (மகாபாரதம்), the Hindu epic. The Jataka tales (ஜடகா கதைகள்) of Buddhism have the tale of Sibi Jataka. Usinara's son Sibi of Lunar dynasty (சந்திரவம்சம்) was known for his selflessness and philanthropy. The legend details the philanthropy of Sibi who sacrificed his own flesh to redeem the life of a dove (Lord Agni transformed into dove) hunted by a hawk / vulture (Lord Indra transformed as vulture). The dove came as a refuge to the king Sibi. The legend gained popularity in Sangam Tamil literature i.e., Purananuru (புறநானுறு) verses 37, 39, 43 46 and 228; other Sangam anthologies i.e., Aka Nanuru (அகநானுறு) (36) and Natrinai (நற்றிணை) (14) and Tamil epics Silappadikaram (சிலப்பதிகாரம்) and Manimekalai (மணிமேகலை)  gave more details about this legend. The legend of Kapotheswara is related to this legend and Lord Shiva himself sacrificed part of his body to an eagle to save a pigeon (Kapotha) that took refuge with him.  The temple is erected to this pious king under the title 'Kapotheswara.'

புள் உறு புன்கண் தீர்த்த, வெள் வேல்,
சினம் கெழு தானை, செம்பியன் மருக! -    புறநானூறு 37 (Purananuru 37)

புறவின் அல்லல் சொல்லிய, கறை அடி
யானை வால் மருப்பு எறிந்த வெண் கடைக்
கோல் நிறை துலாஅம் புக்கோன் மருக!
ஈதல் நின் புகழும் அன்றே -        புறநானூறு 39 (Purananuru 39)

நீயே, புறவின் அல்லல் அன்றியும், பிறவும்
இடுக்கண் பலவும் விடுத்தோன் மருகனை, - புறநானூறு 46 (Purananuru 46)

எள்ளறு சிறப்பின் இமையவர் வியப்பப்
புள்ளுறு புன்கண் தீர்த்தோன் - சிலப்பதிகாரம், வழக்குரை காதை

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Kapoteswara Shiva Lingam (Sarasvatam)

Shiva Lingam

Interestingly, in the white marble idol of Shiva Linga, even today you will find large pits / cavities as if portions have been scooped or cut out, and these are said to be the places of the body, from which the Lord cut off his own flesh, in order to save the life of the Kapotha. Also on top of Shiva Lingam there are still two large vertical cavities. The water used for ablution of Shiva Linga drained through one these cavities. Surprisingly the smell of raw flesh is felt and blood oozes from the cavities occasionally. 

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Mahendravarma I Inscription on a slab (Sarasvatam)

The Sanskrit language (grantha script) inscription of Mahendaravarma Pallava I (600 - 620 A.D.), which is not cited frequently by scholars, is seen on the face of the slab fixed behind Nandi Mandapa in front of the prime sanctum. Though this inscription is fully disfigured, yet few portions could be readable and translated, Still the inscription continues to retain significant value since it stands as the evidence for Pallava rule in Guntur region which was later captured by Pulakesi II (610 - 641 A.D.)... The inscription is assigned to Mahendravarma Pallava I of Pallava dynasty which is clearly ascribable by the salutation (title) "Avani Bhajana," "Vegavati-sanatha" and "Mahendra Vikrama Varma." The inscription also documents the construction of this temple by appointing twelve Devakanmis (S.I.I. vol. VI no. 595). The initial construction of this temple by Mahendravarma Pallavan I is evident from this inscription. But the brick structure of Mahendravarman was revamped later by the successive rulers. Hence it can be claimed that Mahendravarman, constructed brick structure, though he was concentrating in rock cut cave temples. 

Inscription of Krishnaraya, dated Saka 1440 (current), Isvara, Jyestha ba. Friday, solar eclipse corresponding to 1517 A.D., June 19, on a slab near mandapa in the temple S.I.I. Volume XVI No. 60. (Telugu Inscriptions Vijayanagara dynasty) (A. R. No. 335 of 1915.) registers a gift of 12 puttis measured by the peddapatinagari-ambaram and 12 varahas, to Namassivaya, the Srikarana of god Kapotesvara by Saluva Timmarasa at the command of the king for the merit of his family.  The Sanskrit verse with which the record begins, refers to Chemjerla as the sarvamanya-agrahara.  Also records the remission of certain levies and specifies the quantities of rice, dhall, ghee, etc., for the daily use in the temple as well as the shares of the offerings to the various officials and temple servants including the Srikarana.


Shivaratri is the main festival in this temple.

Temple Timings: 06.00 to 08.00

  1. Chejerla inscription of Mahendra Pallava I by Sakaranarayanan in Sarasvatam 5th December 2015 (
  2. Kapotheswara swamy Temple (
  3. Select Andhra Temples. Dr.M.R.Rao
  4. Sibi (King) (Wikipedia)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Gudimallam Parasurameswara Temple: Most Ancient Shiva Lingam in the World

Shiva Lingam @ Parasurameshwara Temple

Gudimallam (குடிமல்லம்), a freaky village located in Yerpedu Mandal (எர்பேடு மண்டல்), Chittur (சித்தூர்) district, Andhra Pradesh state, India Pin Code 517526. Gudimallam village should not be confused with Mallam (Pithapuram) village in Pithapuram Mandal, East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh or with Mallam (Nellore) village, Chittamur Mandal, SPSR Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh.

The geographical Coordinates of Gudimallam are 13° 60' 1" North (latitude), 79° 57' 0" East (longitude) It is located on a diversion from the Tiruchanur (திருச்சானூர்) road at a distance of 18.9 km from Tirupathi (திருப்பதி) and 8.7 km from Renigunta (ரேணிகுண்டா) Jn. railway station; 82 km towards East from District head quarters Chittoor (சித்தூர்).  It is 10.4 km from Yerpedu (எர்பேடு), 25 km from Pallam (பள்ளம்) and 438.5 km from State capital Hyderabad (ஹைதராபாத்). Renigunta (8.3 km), Tirupathi (20.8 km), Srikalahasti (ஸ்ரீ காளஹஸ்தி) (21.6 km,) Narayanavanam (நாராயணவனம்) (20,1 km), Puttur (புத்தூர்) (17.8 km) are the nearby railway stations. From Chennai (சென்னை) the village is 95.6 km away. The other state capitals are Pondicherry (பாண்டிச்சேரி) 186.7 km and Bangalore (பெங்களூர்) 228.3 km. Buses to Gudimallam village are available from Tirupati Bus Stand and the frequency is less on this route. However you will get auto-rickshaws from Renigunta Jn. railway station and the to and fro trip may cost around Rs. 250/- The Gudimallam village has the population of 2071 of which 1025 are males while 1046 are females as per Population Census 2011.

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Gudimallam Gateway
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Gudimallam Temple Prakaram
The curling muddy road will be leading along the Swarnamukhi river bank, and its dry Swarnammukhi river bed, picturesque paddy fields towards Gudimallam village. The age old temple stands amidst paddy fields. The tall gateway appear without any tower. The temple usually appear deserted except occasional visitors. 


Historically, Gudimallam village is significant since it is the home for the ancient  Parasurameswara (பரசுராமேஷ்வரா) (Shiva) Temple. The temple is protected by ASI since from 1954 and according to some learned sources the Parasurameshwara temple has a 2200 year old history as the longest continuously worshiped Shiva temple (சிவன் கோவில்) in the world. The centuries-old prime sanctum is built with brick super-structure (hara, griva and shikara) studded with stucco images (சுதை உருவங்கள்) and the granite substructure (from adishtana to prastara) and the plinth of the vimana has prativaribanda adhistana (பிரதிவரிபந்த அதிஷடானம்) with the components of upana (உபானம்), jagadi (ஜகதி), vritta (round) kumuda  (உருள்குமுதம்) mouldings. The external walls are segmented by pilasters (அரைத்தூண்கள்) and carry niches (கோஷ்டங்கள்) housing the images of Ganesha, Vishnu and Brahma.  The upper tala (தளம்) (storey) built with brick and lime mortar carries hara with apsidal sala shikata (கஜபிருஷ்ட சால சிகரம்). Three metal stupis (finials) crowning the shikara of the vimana.

The vimana over prime sanctum has an apsidal shape i.e., gaja prishta vimana (கஜபிருஷ்ட விமானம்) meaning 'back of an elephant' due to its structural design. The apsidal vimana of Parasurameswara is hollow inside  and the vimana is named as Lingakriti (லிங்கக்ருதி) vimana since the elevation of the vimana resembles the shape of the Shiva Lingam. The sanctum has a false ceiling over wooden joists. Gaja prishta vimanas, in general can be seen in many Chola built temples around Chennai and its suburbs. This east facing sanctum is enclosed all around externally by a peristylar cloister (திருச்சுற்று மண்டபம்) and the entrance to the sanctum is through the south side of the mahamandapa.

A separate shrine for goddess is located at north west corner of the temple. Also there are shrines for minor for parivara devatas (associate deities) like Kartikeya (Subramanya) and Suryanarayana. The temple sanctums are enclosed by tall perimeter wall around the periphery with towerless gateway from the west.

It is believed that the bana and the peeta were under the tree. Successive rulers i.e., Pallavas, Cholas, Banas and Vijayanagara kings augmented the structures. The apsidal shaped sanctum could be the most ancient part of this temple since sanctum flooring is much lower than the floorings of antarala and mukhamandapam.  

The excavations carried by ASI (former director of ASI Dr.I.K.Sarma) during 1973 has retrieved black and redware sherds (date) assignable to 2nd - 3rd century A.D. The potsherds and the large size bricks (42 x 21 x 6 cm) retrieved from the site made the scholar to assign the temple to Satavahana  (சாதவாகனர்கள்) period. ASI prefers to call it the earliest extant Shiva Lingam in India.

Iconography - Shiva Linga

The prime deity seven sided monolithic Shiva Lingam (Savedika Linga), measuring about five feet (1.35 meter) in height and one feet in diameter is housed in the prime sanctum. The Shiva Lingam is believed to be the manifestation of the Hindu Trinity; Brahma manifests at the bottom; Vishnu at the mid-part and Shiva on top. The Shiva Lingam depicts the tall and wide bana. The Linga is openly set up within the square base. The square base is surrounded by a low three barred railings on slabs and the top railings found damaged and now replaced with new slabs during renovation. The bana and the peeta alone are considered as the most ancient form and all the remaining structural augmentations are later additions by rulers of various dynasties.  

It is interesting to find a deep slanting groove cut about one floor from top of the bana. Within the groove the sculptors have carefully sculpted the high relief image of a hunter! The hunter exhibits perfect anatomical proportions and his torso resembles the shape of a bull's head. The image is well built with broad shoulders, narrow hips, tight buttocks and toned abdominal muscles. He is radiating an abundance of vitality and energy. The hunter stands in sthanaka posture and spreading his legs wide apart and his feet are firmly planted on the shoulders of Amarapurusha (crouching dwarf yaksha). His face is peaceful and serene, if not smiling.The two armed idol exhibits both hands keep hanging loosely. His right hand holds the dead goat by the hind legs and his left hand also holds a globular pot and it also clutches the long thick battle axe (parasu) (கோடாரி) at its handle. The fierce weapon also rests on his left shoulder. According to some scholars the image of the hunter represents 'Vedic (வேதகால) and proto puranic (புராண காலத்திற்கு முந்தைய) concepts of Rudra (உருத்திரன்).' 

His hair is arranged like jatabhara 'burden of braids' characterized by large number of penetential plaits worn in a bunch. His elongated ear-lobes wear heavier ring shaped kundalas. Elongated ear lobes have become a sign of power, nobility and wealth. His neck is adorned with sarapali (most elaborate neck jewelry) around his neck; armlets with keyura / tholvalai (ornament around arms) on his shoulder-arms; elbow with kangana (elbow jewelry - bracelets of beads on each wrist (thick usually 3 – 5 strings) on his elbow; wrists with kataka valai / bangles in the wrists; rib cage with udarabandha - broad ornamental belt below the ribs; and thin garment worn around the waist are generously pleated and also wears beaded katibandha (hip belt) around the waist. Unusually the hunter has no yagnopavitha. 

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The dwarf / Amarapurusha
The Amarapurusha seen seated on his knee and his body appear shrunken. His face show tight teeths - may be he is finding it difficult to balance the weight of the super Lord. His ears appear like leaves.


Gudimallam temple legend speaks about puranic tale about Sage Parasurama. The sage beheaded his mother at the behest of his father. He sought advice of his guru the ways and means to relinquish his sin of killing one’s own mother. He was advised to pursue and locate the Shiva Lingam and observe penance as a remedial measures. 

Sage Parasurama, after much pursuit, located Gudimallam Shiva Lingam and dug a pond nearby to observe penance. The sage noticed the blossoming of single holy flower everyday at the pond and he submitted the flower at the feet of Gudimallam Shiva Lingam. To protect the Lingam from external beasts, he assigned the task of guarding the flower with Chitrasena (சித்திரசேனை), a yakshi (celestial servant). The yakshi received toddy and the hunted animal from Parasurama as a reward for her guarding duty. One day Chitrasena offered the holy flower from the pond to Lord Shiva. Parasurama got enraged by the yakshi's act and attacked her with his axe. Chitrasena also retaliated severe blow. The fight prolonged for 14 years and finally a pit formed nearby. From then on wards the temple was known as 'Gudipallam' or temple at the pit. Over the period the temple name changed as 'Gudimallam.'


Number of inscriptions have been identified on the inner walls of the Parasurameshwara Temple and also over stone slabs in the courtyard of the temple. Many of the inscribed records speak of the perpetual gifts made by several rulers and these  have been assigned to the rulers of Ganga Pallavas, Pallavas, Cholas and Bana dynasty. 

The most ancient inscription of the Parasurameshwara temple is assignable to twenty-third regnal year of Nandivarma Pallava III and datable to 802 A.D.  An inscription dated in twenty-fourth reganl year of Nrpatungavarman records the donation from Vanavidyadhara-Mahabali Vanaraya.  In the 49th regnal year inscription of Dantivarman (778 - 829 A.D.) speaks about the grant was to Gudimallam (no. 226 of 1903) when the Bana king Vijayaditya I, (796 - 835 AD.) son of Jayanandivarman served vassal / feudatary of Dantivarma Pallvan. The geneology of Banas of the Perumbanappadi is furnished by the Gudimallam and Udayendiram plates. The latest inscription at the temple is assignable to Yadava Devaraya (AD. 1346). Gudimallam (as well as Kolar) served as the capital of Bana dynasty. An inscription of the time of Vikrama Chola refers to a complete rebuilding of the temple in 1126 AD., along with flat gopura and the wall. Surprisingly none of these inscriptions refer the village name as ‘Gudimallam.’ However the village is referred to as ‘Viprapita’ i.e., ‘Brahmana Agrahara’ and Lord Shiva represented as fierce hunter. 

Temple Timings: The temple is open from 06.00 am to 08.00 pm

  1. Gudimallam (Wikipedia)
  2. Gudimallam. Papanaidupeta, Kalahasti, Tirupathi .(
  3. Gudimallam Linga - Satavahana Style. (
  4. Mysterious saga of a 2,200 year old lingam. ( 

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