Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tiger Cave, Saluvankuppam

Tiger's Cave, Saluvankuppam, Mamallapuram, Chengalpattu
Tiger's Cave is a rock-cut Hindu Temple complex located in the hamlet of Saluvankuppam near Mamallapuram in Chengalpattu District of Tamil Nadu. It gets its name from the carvings of tiger heads on the mouth of a cave which forms a part of the complex. It is also called as Yazhi Mandapam. It is a famous picnic spot for Chennai citizens mainly due to its proximity to the beach and open space surrounded by a lot of trees. There are no entrance fees, but there is a small parking fee. There are a few small stalls outside this venue, offering cool-drinks, tender coconut, etc. The temple is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The Tiger Cave is considered to be one of the Mahabalipuram rock-cut temples constructed by the Pallavas in the 8th century AD. The Tiger Cave is believed to have been built by Rajasimha Pallava. The discovery of an inscription on a rocky outcrop in the Tiger Cave complex in 2005 led to the excavation of a Sangam period Subrahmanya Temple close by.

The Cave
Tiger’s Cave is a unique cave shrine which is different in style from the other monuments of Mamallapuram. The south east facing structure is cut at a height of 6 feet from the ground level. The pavilion is closed on all three sides and a 4 feet deep and 6 feet high cavity is excavated in the front. There are stairs to reach the high raised platform. They are supported by lion parapets on either side. The two lion pilasters with a female rider on the rearing lion are important features of the site.

Around the central cell, a surrounding garland like arrangement of eleven yazhis (a mythological animal) is found. Interestingly, some scholars believe that this pavilion might have been used as a festival pavilion during Indira Vizha (festival of Indra). There are references about Indra Vizha in ancient Tamil books such as Silapathikaram. The south facing side of the rock has two big elephant heads and an unfinished horse.

The north facing side of the rock has a big lion with an unfinished figure carved in its stomach. Tiger's Cave is actually a misnomer as the site is full of lion figures and Yazhi figures and not tigers. The space has been neatly developed by ASI with lawns dotted by palm, casuarinas and other trees. The small hillocks and rocks offer a natural excuse for children and adults alike to climb and run around.

For brief details, please refer below link;