Study Uncovers Interesting Details of Cave Temple Architecture

TIRUCHIRAPPALLI, INDIA, October 27, 2010: An archaeological study in Tamil Nadu has thrown light on interesting facets of cave temple architecture during the Pandyas-Pallavas reign, also uncovering musical inscriptions engraved on some temples. The study has revealed that cave temples of the Pandyas and the feudatories exhibited several images of Ananthasayi (Lord Vishnu), Lord Ganesh and Durga, which were not seen in the Pallava corpus of cave art, D. Dayalan, Superintending Archaeologist, Temple Research project, said.

The Shanmata (Sanskrit, meaning six major Deities are worshipped) was an inimitable feature found in some cave temples in south Tamil Nadu. The lower cave temple of Tiruchirappalli, cave temple at Tiruparankunram and the unfinished cave temple at Tiruvellarai had two principal shrines, one for Lord Shiva in the east, and one for Vishnu in the west and a central bay. The reliefs of Lord Brahma, Skanda, Surya, Ganesh, and Durga were found on the hind wall of the Central bay, he said. According to the musical inscription, the person who codified svaragamas was a great devotee of Maheswara (Shiva) and disciple of Rudhracharya. The person who systematized the music potentialities was Gunasena. Perhaps, the first music books were in the form of such inscriptions.

The Pandyan Empire, an ancient Tamil dynasty, is said to have had their golden phase under Maravman Sundara Pandiyan and Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan (1251 AD), but became extinct after the establishment of the Madurai Sultanate in the 16th century.

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