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Pallava Mallai<br />Unfinished poetry in stone -  2 Cave temples<br />S. Swaminathan<br />(sswami99@gmail.com)<br />
Let us now visit the Mallai monuments<br />
Cave Temples<br />An overview<br />
Worshipping places scooped out of the rock faces <br />are found all over the country. <br />They are called, cave temples...
The early temples were simple and the sculptural decoration <br />restricted to dvarapala-s only. <br />They were characte...
In course of time pillars <br />became ornate. <br />From the simple, massive Mahendra-style pillars, <br />they became al...
The pillar shaft resting on the head of a sitting lion or vyala is the next stage, along with greater details on the brack...
The plain façade of the early period was<br />also modified to resemble in relief <br />the superstructure of <br />contem...
Continuing with such increasing complexities, <br />the walls of the hall came to be decorated with <br />relief sculpture...
In the early stages the deities <br />in the sanctum in the Pallava temples were <br />either paintings made or <br />imag...
It was in the later stage that lingam came to be installed in the sanctum, as in the Shore Temples. <br />But we may find ...
The sanctums would normally be guarded <br />by gate-keepers. <br />They would be women, if the presiding deity was a godd...
As time progressed greater details were incorporated to the base of the shrine and elsewhere and also developed stylisatio...
Most of the cave temples in Mamallapuram<br />are excavated on a large hillock that is oriented along north south.<br />Tw...
Cave Temples<br />An overview<br />Kotikkal Mandapam<br />
Koti-k-kal Mandapam, must be an early temple <br />as can be seen from the plain features.<br />There is no clue as to the...
Cave Temples<br />An overview<br />The two pillars and the two half-pillars in the front <br />and the roof part are all p...
The hall has no sculptures<br />and the sanctum is empty.<br />The only sculptural decoration <br />in this shrine is <br ...
Their dress consists of <br />breast-bandand <br />waist-band. <br />There is also a loose girdle <br />of pleated cloth. ...
This could be <br />another shrine <br />belonging to <br />the early phase<br />judging from <br />its simple features, <...
It is an inscription of 11 stanzas written in 14 lines.<br />The language is Sanskrit, like most inscriptions <br />	of th...
It is an elegant writing, Indian calligraphy at its peak.<br />The inscription says that the shrine was caused <br />	by a...
Here is the facsimile <br />of the inscription<br />
The 5th stanza says: <br />“King Atyantakama, <br />who has subdued the territories of his foes,<br />is famed (by the nam...
Koneri Mandapam<br />Koneri Mandapam is located opposite to a tank, <br />called Koneri Pallam, perhaps, <br />the reason ...
The Pallava-s continue to tease us.<br />Which are the deities to be housed <br />in these five cells is a puzzle. <br />M...
Each of the five sanctums is guarded by a pair of dvara-pala-s.<br />There are similarities among them, but there is no mo...
Typical flora of Mallai<br />Tropical Dry Evergreen forest<br />The shrine is located in wooded area, <br />a typical trop...
Mahishasuramardini Mandapam<br />Though unfinished, the three-celled shrine<br />contains two priceless panels,<br />Mahis...
Mahishasuramardini Mandapam<br />
Design of front pillars is<br />definitely advancement<br />over the square<br />Mahendra pillars.<br />
The beautiful lion-based pillared portico in front of the central sanctum is found only in this mandapam. <br />Why are th...
The rectangular pit on the floor, <br />may be to accommodate <br />a reclining Vishnu idol, <br />must be a later additio...
The presence of a large Somaskanda panel in the central sanctum<br />covering almost the entire wall is a novel feature.<b...
That the dvara-pala-s of the southern shrine are clearly Saivite and <br />that the sculptures of 	the two dvara-pala-s of...
The two relief sculptures, <br />	Anatasayana and Mahishasuramardini<br />	are among the best representations <br />		of t...
Mahishasuramardini Mandapam and <br />the ruins of Olakkanesvara Temple above<br />Durga Temple (Mahishasuramardini Temple...
Mahishasuramardini Mandapam and <br />the ruins of Olakkanesvara Temple above<br />"Pagodas at Mahabalipuram, engraved by ...
Mahishasuramardini Mandapam and <br />the ruins of Olakkanesvara Temple above<br />'South View of a Small Temple on the So...
Atiranachanda Mandapam<br />Situated in Saluvakkuppam, <br />close to the Tiger Cave, this temple <br />has a few uncommon...
Grantha inscription             Devanagari inscription<br />Similar inscription is found in the Dhramaraja mandapam <br />...
As excavated in 18 century<br />
Varaha Mandapam<br />This dainty shrine has <br />a well-finished facade, and <br />vyali-based pillars of later style.<br...
A drawing of Varaha Mandapam<br />‘Elevation of the Varaha Avatar Cavern. Mahabalipooram.’<br />
Adivaraha Mandapam<br />Dedicated to Adivara, this is under worship. But the later constructions <br />mar the appearance....
Adivaraha Mandapam<br />Dedicated to Adivara is under worship, but the later constructions <br />mar the appearance. Like ...
Ramanuja Mandapam<br />What should have been the cynosure of Mamallai, <br />this cave is a pathetic sight <br />with all ...
Trimurti Mandapam<br />This sheer poetry in stone, is three-celled without front halls, <br />	and are dedicated to Subrah...
A drawing of Trimurti Mandapam<br />‘Elevation of the cave to the North of the rock at Mahabalipooram, <br />facing the we...
Sculptures of Trimurti Mandapam <br />- Brahmasasta<br />‘Sculptured figure within the Cave of Capul Iswar, at Mahabalipoo...
Sculptures of Trimurti Mandapam <br />- Siva<br />‘Sculptured Figure within the Cave of <br />Capul Iswar at Mahabalipoora...
Sculptures of Trimurti Mandapam <br />- Vishnu<br />‘Sculpture in Cave of Capul Iswar <br />at Mahabalipooram. Left Compar...
Sculptures of Trimurti Mandapam <br />- Mahishasuramardini<br />‘Figure of Cali at Mahabalipooram<br />Copied by Paralla.’...
Many Pallava kings called themselves as Atyantakama <br />(‘of-boundless-desires’), for which this monument is an example....
Mahabalipuram monuments Prof.Swaminathan
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Mahabalipuram monuments Prof.Swaminathan

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  1. 1. Pallava Mallai<br />Unfinished poetry in stone - 2 Cave temples<br />S. Swaminathan<br />(sswami99@gmail.com)<br />
  2. 2. Let us now visit the Mallai monuments<br />
  3. 3. Cave Temples<br />An overview<br />
  4. 4. Worshipping places scooped out of the rock faces <br />are found all over the country. <br />They are called, cave temples, technically, rock-cut temples. <br />They are also called mandapam-s. <br />The cave temples of Mamallapuram, <br />like elsewhere in the south, <br />consist of a pillared hall and <br />one or more sanctums at the rear of the hall. <br />The hall may be divided sometimes into two parts, <br />the front one called maha-mandapam and <br />the rear, ardha-mandapam. <br />Number of shrines varied from one to <br />as many as five in Mamallapuram, <br />with the presiding deity occupying the central one. <br />
  5. 5. The early temples were simple and the sculptural decoration <br />restricted to dvarapala-s only. <br />They were characterised by heavy square pillars with octagonal section in the middle, known as the Mahendra-style. <br />The pillars support the roof through plain brackets. <br />The Dharmaraja Mandapam is in this early style. <br />
  6. 6. In course of time pillars <br />became ornate. <br />From the simple, massive Mahendra-style pillars, <br />they became almost round. <br />A base, a bulbous top and embellished bracket that support the beam <br />came into vogue. <br />
  7. 7. The pillar shaft resting on the head of a sitting lion or vyala is the next stage, along with greater details on the bracket above. <br />It was shafts on standing lions, <br />the last stage. <br />This type is found <br />in the Shore Temples. <br />
  8. 8. The plain façade of the early period was<br />also modified to resemble in relief <br />the superstructure of <br />contemporary vimana-type temples. <br />
  9. 9. Continuing with such increasing complexities, <br />the walls of the hall came to be decorated with <br />relief sculptures of themes from purana-s.<br />
  10. 10. In the early stages the deities <br />in the sanctum in the Pallava temples were <br />either paintings made or <br />images in relief made of wood fixed <br />on the rear wall of the sanctum. <br />With these images gone due to decay, most Mamallapuram sanctums are empty. <br />But in the three sanctums of the Trimurti Mandapam and in the Draupati Ratha<br />deities have been sculpted in relief. <br />
  11. 11. It was in the later stage that lingam came to be installed in the sanctum, as in the Shore Temples. <br />But we may find lingam in many sanctums in Mamallapuram, and these are later additions. <br />
  12. 12. The sanctums would normally be guarded <br />by gate-keepers. <br />They would be women, if the presiding deity was a goddess, <br />like Durga. <br />It would be possible to identify the deity <br />they are guarding, <br />from the dress, <br />the ornaments and <br />the arms they carry. <br />
  13. 13. As time progressed greater details were incorporated to the base of the shrine and elsewhere and also developed stylisation leading to systemisation. <br />This is the beginning of Vastu and Agama practices.<br />All the sculptures were plastered and painted, which are lost due to centuries of exposure to natural elements.<br />In Mamallapuram, we have more than ten cave shrines, <br />in various stages of incompletion, and <br />of varying degrees of sophistication. <br />Thus the Kotikkal Mandapam is the simplest and the Adivaraha shrine is the ultimate in Mamallapuram. <br />
  14. 14. Most of the cave temples in Mamallapuram<br />are excavated on a large hillock that is oriented along north south.<br />Two are located in Saluvakkuppam, the neighboring village<br />
  15. 15. Cave Temples<br />An overview<br />Kotikkal Mandapam<br />
  16. 16. Koti-k-kal Mandapam, must be an early temple <br />as can be seen from the plain features.<br />There is no clue as to the meaning of Kotikkal, <br />nor how it got the name. <br />It must have been dedicated Durga, <br />as can be inferred by the presence of female door-keepers. <br />These very elegant figures are the only sculptures here, <br />but their dress and ornaments are worth studying. <br />It can boast of a short inscription. <br />Cave Temples<br />An overview<br />
  17. 17. Cave Temples<br />An overview<br />The two pillars and the two half-pillars in the front <br />and the roof part are all plain.<br />There is a short inscription on one of its pillars <br />in the Grantha script, Shri vamankusha, <br />but its significance is not known. <br />
  18. 18. The hall has no sculptures<br />and the sanctum is empty.<br />The only sculptural decoration <br />in this shrine is <br />the pair of female gate-keepers <br />guarding the sanctum.<br />Both of them are slim, graceful <br />and stand in elegant poses. <br />Their poses are similar, <br />but not same, avoiding monotony. <br />One rests on a club <br />and the other holds a bow.<br />Cave Temples<br />An overview<br />
  19. 19. Their dress consists of <br />breast-bandand <br />waist-band. <br />There is also a loose girdle <br />of pleated cloth. <br />Their hair-do is jata-makuta, <br />a Siva standard, <br />laced with ornaments.<br />
  20. 20. This could be <br />another shrine <br />belonging to <br />the early phase<br />judging from <br />its simple features, <br />massive <br />square pillars and <br />lack of any <br />embellishments.<br />Dharmaraja Mandapam<br />There are three cells, and <br />it is likely that <br />the central one was dedicated to Siva.<br />The mutilated gate-keepers and <br />the inscription on the wall make it <br />an important monument. <br />
  21. 21. It is an inscription of 11 stanzas written in 14 lines.<br />The language is Sanskrit, like most inscriptions <br /> of the Pallavas in Mallai period and <br /> the script is Pallava Grantha,<br /> a script created by the Pallavas to write Sanskrit.<br />The inscription is important for a variety of reasons.<br />
  22. 22. It is an elegant writing, Indian calligraphy at its peak.<br />The inscription says that the shrine was caused <br /> by a king whose title was Atyamtakama, <br /> but we are not certain which Pallava king it is,<br /> for many Pallavas assumed this title.<br />It is also intriguing as almost similar inscription is <br /> found in the Ganesa Ratha and <br /> the Atiranachanda Mandapam,<br /> which may belong to different periods, <br /> if one were to accept<br /> chronology based on stylistic variations.<br />
  23. 23. Here is the facsimile <br />of the inscription<br />
  24. 24. The 5th stanza says: <br />“King Atyantakama, <br />who has subdued the territories of his foes,<br />is famed (by the name of) Ranajaya:<br />he caused to be made<br />this house of Sambhu (Siva)”<br />अत्यन्तकामो नृपतिर्न्निर्जितारातिमण्डलः|<br />ख्यातो रणजयः शम्भोस्तेनेदं वेश्मकारितं||<br />அத்யந்தகாமோ ந்ருபதிர்ந்நிர்ஜிதாராதிமண்ட3ல: |<br />க்2யாதோ ரணஜய: ச0ம்போஸ்தேநேத3ம் வேச்0மகாரித3ம் ||<br />atyantakAmo nRpatirnnirjijitArAtimaNDala: |<br />khyAto taNajaya: Sambhostenedam veSmakAritam ||<br />
  25. 25. Koneri Mandapam<br />Koneri Mandapam is located opposite to a tank, <br />called Koneri Pallam, perhaps, <br />the reason for the name of the cave shrine. <br />Its isolation and it being in the midst of an undisturbed <br />Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest are its two interesting features. <br />The other is that it is a five-celled cave, <br />the only one of its kind in Mamallapuram.<br />
  26. 26. The Pallava-s continue to tease us.<br />Which are the deities to be housed <br />in these five cells is a puzzle. <br />More than that having <br />square Mahendra-type pillars <br />on the front row and more rounded,<br />well-ornamented pillars <br />on the back row <br />dents the theory of chronology <br />based on stylistic development. <br />
  27. 27. Each of the five sanctums is guarded by a pair of dvara-pala-s.<br />There are similarities among them, but there is no monotony.<br />The postures and profiles are different. <br />All of them are Saivites, with jata-makuta, pair of horns forming<br />part of their head-dress or the massive clubs they carry, <br />all Saivite standards. <br />The gate-keeper on the extreme left is <br />fully chipped away and its companion partly. <br />
  28. 28. Typical flora of Mallai<br />Tropical Dry Evergreen forest<br />The shrine is located in wooded area, <br />a typical tropical ever green forest, <br />a unique endemic ecosystem <br />of the eastern coastal area. <br />Traditional healers use these plants <br />for curing more than 52 ailments.<br />Many of what we see in this patch is <br />200-300 years old. We may see <br />200-year vintage date palm trees and <br />creepers are substantial girth. <br />The only creeper belonging to the ficus family <br />is among the interesting species here.<br />
  29. 29. Mahishasuramardini Mandapam<br />Though unfinished, the three-celled shrine<br />contains two priceless panels,<br />Mahishasuramardini and Anatasayanam.<br />The sanctum contains an early relief of<br />Somaskanda.<br />The portico in front of the sanctum is <br />a unique feature.<br />
  30. 30. Mahishasuramardini Mandapam<br />
  31. 31. Design of front pillars is<br />definitely advancement<br />over the square<br />Mahendra pillars.<br />
  32. 32. The beautiful lion-based pillared portico in front of the central sanctum is found only in this mandapam. <br />Why are then the pilasters <br />on the rear are vyala-based? <br />
  33. 33. The rectangular pit on the floor, <br />may be to accommodate <br />a reclining Vishnu idol, <br />must be a later addition.<br />The removal of a pillar in the front, <br />engraving sanku-chakra on the front pilasters and <br />modification tried in the porch in front of the central shrine, <br />are tell-tales marks of the attempt to convert it into <br />a Vaishnava shrine, perhaps, <br />in the Vijayanagara times.<br />
  34. 34. The presence of a large Somaskanda panel in the central sanctum<br />covering almost the entire wall is a novel feature.<br />Its large size and the presence of bull-mount in the composition <br />differ from all the standard composition of Somaskanda.<br />
  35. 35. That the dvara-pala-s of the southern shrine are clearly Saivite and <br />that the sculptures of the two dvara-pala-s of the central shrine <br />seem to be modified, <br />make some to suggest that the original Vaishnavite temple <br />has been changed to a Saivite shrine.<br />
  36. 36. The two relief sculptures, <br /> Anatasayana and Mahishasuramardini<br /> are among the best representations <br /> of the Pallava art.<br />That these two scenes are described <br /> in the Devi-mahatmiya, <br /> an episode form Markandeya Purana. <br />Was this the reason for selection for panels here?<br />
  37. 37. Mahishasuramardini Mandapam and <br />the ruins of Olakkanesvara Temple above<br />Durga Temple (Mahishasuramardini Temple),<br />Photograph taken by Nicholas and Co in ca. 1880<br />
  38. 38. Mahishasuramardini Mandapam and <br />the ruins of Olakkanesvara Temple above<br />"Pagodas at Mahabalipuram, engraved by J. Landseer, <br />after a picture by H.Salt, with recent hand colour." 1811<br />
  39. 39. Mahishasuramardini Mandapam and <br />the ruins of Olakkanesvara Temple above<br />'South View of a Small Temple on the Southernmost eminence of <br />the Hill at Mahabalipoorum. J. Gantz'; 1825<br />
  40. 40. Atiranachanda Mandapam<br />Situated in Saluvakkuppam, <br />close to the Tiger Cave, this temple <br />has a few uncommon features. <br />In addition to a Somaskanda <br />in the sanctum, <br />there are two more in the front hall.<br />An improperly fixed lingam <br />in the sanctum, <br />and one in the front could be <br />later additions.<br />The presence of a beautiful bas-relief <br />of Mahishasuramardini, and <br />two important inscriptions <br />calligraphically rendered, <br />makes this cave worth a visit.<br />
  41. 41. Grantha inscription Devanagari inscription<br />Similar inscription is found in the Dhramaraja mandapam <br />and the Ganesa Ratha<br />
  42. 42. As excavated in 18 century<br />
  43. 43. Varaha Mandapam<br />This dainty shrine has <br />a well-finished facade, and <br />vyali-based pillars of later style.<br />But its importance lies <br />in the four extraordinary <br />compositions:<br />Varaha, Lakshmi, <br />Durga and Trivikrma.<br />
  44. 44. A drawing of Varaha Mandapam<br />‘Elevation of the Varaha Avatar Cavern. Mahabalipooram.’<br />
  45. 45. Adivaraha Mandapam<br />Dedicated to Adivara, this is under worship. But the later constructions <br />mar the appearance. Like Varaha Temple, this has a number of <br />very beautiful sculptures; some being royal portraits is important.<br />There are two inscriptions of importance, one of which lists <br />all the ten avataras of Vishnu.<br />
  46. 46. Adivaraha Mandapam<br />Dedicated to Adivara is under worship, but the later constructions <br />mar the appearance. Like Varaha Temple, this has a number of <br />very beautiful sculptures; some being royal portraits is important.<br />There are two inscriptions of importance, one of which lists <br />all the ten avataras of Vishnu.<br />
  47. 47. Ramanuja Mandapam<br />What should have been the cynosure of Mamallai, <br />this cave is a pathetic sight <br />with all the sculptures fully mutilated.<br />Relief of single-storied temples on either side is <br />a tribute to the boundless desire of the Pallavas <br />to be ever inventive.<br />
  48. 48. Trimurti Mandapam<br />This sheer poetry in stone, is three-celled without front halls, <br /> and are dedicated to Subrahmanya, Siva and Vishnu. <br />There is also a niche for Durga<br />These cells contain the deities in the sanctums, an unusual feature. <br />The dvarapala-s also fine sculptures. <br />
  49. 49. A drawing of Trimurti Mandapam<br />‘Elevation of the cave to the North of the rock at Mahabalipooram, <br />facing the west with 3 porches well sculptured on the rock, 1816.’ <br />By an anonimous artist <br />
  50. 50. Sculptures of Trimurti Mandapam <br />- Brahmasasta<br />‘Sculptured figure within the Cave of Capul Iswar, at Mahabalipooram 1816. <br />Copied by A. Macpherson.’ <br />
  51. 51. Sculptures of Trimurti Mandapam <br />- Siva<br />‘Sculptured Figure within the Cave of <br />Capul Iswar at Mahabalipooram Central Compartment. <br />Copied by J. Gould.’ <br />
  52. 52. Sculptures of Trimurti Mandapam <br />- Vishnu<br />‘Sculpture in Cave of Capul Iswar <br />at Mahabalipooram. Left Compartment. <br />Copied by J. Gould, 1819.’ <br />
  53. 53. Sculptures of Trimurti Mandapam <br />- Mahishasuramardini<br />‘Figure of Cali at Mahabalipooram<br />Copied by Paralla.’<br />
  54. 54. Many Pallava kings called themselves as Atyantakama <br />(‘of-boundless-desires’), for which this monument is an example.<br />The façade is decorated with eleven excellently modelled vyalis.<br />There is no clue as to the purpose for which this has been excavated.<br />There are a number of unfinished reliefs: two elephants with <br />an unidentified deity on the howdah of each, a running horse and <br />a shrine within a lion, all add to the mystery.<br />Tiger Cave<br />
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