Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Seeyamangalam Rock Cut Jain Temple, Thiruvannamalai

Seeyamangalam Rock Cut Jain Temple, Thiruvannamalai
Seeyamangalam rock cut Jain temple was built by Western Ganga King Rajamalla II during the end of 9th century. This temple is seen in a hillock named Vijayadri (as per inscription of Rajamalla II) located northern side of Thun Andar Shiva temple. . On the top of the rock facing east, relief sculptures of Mahaveer, Parshvanatha and Bahubali are seen.

Seeyamangalam village has more than 1500 year’s old heritage. It has two historically important rock cut cave temples, 7th century C.E. Rock cut Shiva Temple and 9th century C.E. rock cut Jain temple. Famous Buddhist Acharya and Philosopher Dignagar (6th century C.E.) was believed to be born in Seeyamangalam.

The name "Seeyamangalam" might have evolved from the older name of this village "Simhavishnu Chaturvedhi mangalam" named after the Pallava king, Simhavishnu, father of Mahendravarman. Another possibility is that it might have derived from the name "Simhamangalam" named after Pallava king Narasimhavarman I.
Rock Cut Jain Temple
Inside the rock cut Jain Temple, recently a new Mahaveerar statue is kept and worshipped by nearby Tamil Jains. On the top of the rock facing east, relief sculptures of Mahaveerar, Parshavanathar and Bahubali are seen. On the either side of Bahubali, his sisters Brahmi and Saundari are seen. On the top, left side of Bahubali, Indra sitting on elephant and right side, two Gandharvas are seen. The left hand of the Bahubali was damaged.

The head of Parshavanathar is surrounded by five headed snake. The left and right side of Parshavanathar, his attendants Padmavathi and Dharanendiran can be seen. Both the images of Bahubali and Parshavanathar were carved in standing posture. The image of Mahaveerar, sitting in Sukhasana position on a Simhasana with his attendants on either side is seen at the extreme southern direction. Though many people visit Rock Cut Shiva temple, they are often unaware of this rock cut Jain temple.

Jain Inscriptions
There are two inscriptions found in this hillock. First one is seen near to relief sculptures (right side of Mahaveerar) and it was engraved in Grantha script and Sanskrit language. It is a mixture of prose and poetry. It explains that Rajamalla established two temples for Jinaraja in Vidyadri (hillock) in Saka 815 (892-93 A.D). It also explains Arunkal-anvaya (school of Jain Monks), which was adorned by illustrious pontiffs, who had successfully crossed the vast expanse of the sea of knowledge of all the sciences, belonged to Nandi Sanga of Jinendra Sanga. Though the inscription mentions two temples, the second one is not yet found.

The second inscription which was engraved in Tamil (Tamil portion, prose) and Grantha (Sanskrit portion, poetry) characters, located at the foot of the hillock in the northern side of the temple. The Sanskrit portion explains the exaltation to the Arunkal-anvaya belonging to the Nandi Sanga of Dravida Sanga. The Tamil portion records that Vajranandhi-Yogindrar, the disciple of Gunaviradevar who was the Mandalacharya of Arunkal-anvaya caused to be constructed a flight of steps. These steps (see the picture gallery) are still in good condition.
Rajamalla II had built another Jain rock cut temple in Vallimalai in Vellore district during the same 9th century C.E. This leads to the conclusion that some parts of northern Tamilnadu was under the rule of this Western Ganga King Rajamalla II.
Seeyamangalam is located about 2 km from Desur. It can be reached via Gingee and Vandavasi. Seeyamangalam is located 25 kilometres (16 mi) southwest of Vandavasi, 21 kilometres (13 mi) southeast of Chettupattu and 63 kilometres (39 mi) northeast of district headquarters Thiruvannamalai.
In the Vandavasi-Chetpet road, you have to travel for about 15 kms and at Mazhaiyur cross road, take a left turn (south) and travel further for around 8 kms via Desur to reach Seeyamangalam.
From Vandavasi, town buses No: 144, to Gingee and No: W2 to Magamaai Thirumeni go through Seeyamangalam. One private bus named V.M. from Desur to Gingee also goes through Seeyamangalam. However, frequency of buses to this village is less. Hiring auto from Desur is a good option to reach.