Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Vettuvan Koil, Kalugumalai, Thoothukudi

Vettuvan Koil, Kalugumalai, Thoothukudi
Vettuvan Koil in Kalugumalai, a panchayat town in Thoothukudi district in the South Indian state of Tamilnadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture and rock cut architecture, the unfinished temple is believed to have been built during the 8th century by Pandyas. The rock-cut architecture exemplary of early Pandyan Art. The other portions of Kalugumalai houses the 8th century Kalugumalai Jain Complex and Kalugasalamoorthy Temple, a Murugan temple. Vettuvan Koil is the only one of the monolithic Pandya Temple that still survives.




As per local legend, a rivalry between a father and son resulted in son finishing the sculpture first at the lower hills, while the father was slow to respond. In his angst, the father killed the son and thus the shrine remains unfinished. The temple is maintained and administered by Department of Archaeology of the Government of Tamil Nadu as a protected monument. It was excavated in 8th C CE by Pandyan Maran Sadaiyan Varaguna I, according to the inscriptions available here. The inscriptions also mention Parantaka Nedunchezian & Parantaka Veera Narayanan.




Vettuvan Koil (English: a Sculptor’s paradise) is a Hindu temple built between the 8th and 9th century. Kalugumalai is a priceless unfinished Pandyan monolith cave temple, part of the iconographic richness that helped chronicle the burgeoning richness of the Tamil culture, traditions, and sacred centres containing religious art. About 7.5 meter of the mountain is excavated in a rectangular fashion and in the middle the temple is sculpted from a single piece of rock. The carvings reflect the southern temple style of the Pandya era.




Only the top portion of the temple is completed. The temple has an entrance and centre hall for the main deity. In the later days Ganesha’s idol is kept and worshipped. At the top of the temple beautiful sculpture of Uma Maheswara, Dakshinamoorthy, Vishnu and Brahma can be found. There are around 122 sculptures in the rock cut temple. The intricately carved statues are from fine granite.





It is an unfinished pandyan monolithic cave temple.7.5 mts of the mountain is excavated in rectangular shape and in the middle the temple is carved from a single stone. Unfortunately it is incomplete. Only the top portion is complete. The temple has an entrance and a main hall. The temple is surrounded by the walls of the hills from which it had been cut.





From Vettuvan koil it is hardly around 20-40 steps to reach Jain abode. A pillayar koil is located at the summit of the hill and there is a flight of steps to the temple. First when we reach the Vettuvan Koil we first we had a glimpse from top of the rocks protected with parapet walls. State Archaeological Department has constructed parapet wall on all three sides of the rock surrounding the Vettuvankoil. 





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