Mamandur is a village in
Tiruvanamalai district of Tamil Nadu, India.
It is located on the
Vandavasi road, near Dusi and about
15 km from Kanchipuram. It is known for the 7th-century rock-cut cave
temple, housing a
Tamil Brahmi inscription, one of the monuments of
national importance as declared by the Archaeological Survey of
Brahmi is the earliest Indian alphabetical script with regional
variations, dated between 300 BCE and 300 CE. Inscriptions in the
rock-cut temples , attribute the temples to 7th-century CE Pallava
king, Mahendravarman I, a ruler who delighted in the titles of
Vichitra chitta (“curious-minded”) and Chitrakara puli (“tiger
among artists”). He was a great patron of the arts and Mamallapuram
(or Mahabalipuram) stands as a testimony to his patronage of art and
architecture. He pioneered rock-cut temples in Mamallapuram,
Pallavaram (near Madras), Siyamangalam and Singavaram (North Arcot
district), Tiruchi and
Narsimha is the principal deity of Cave I, while the Cave II, in
the complex, is known from later inscriptions as the Saiva
The caves are situated on the banks of Palar river. A tank named
Chitramegha tataka, also known as Dusi-
Mamandur tank is located
behind the caves, which believed to be built Mahendravarman I. The
Tamil Brahmi inscriptions and cave paintings.
Cave Temple 1 "is approached by a staircase cut into the hill. The
façade is made up of two pillars and two pilasters. Two pillars made
up of cubes above and below with an octagonal shaft in the middle make
up the façade of this cave. There are lotus medallions on the lower
and top cubes. Behind these pillars there is a second row of pillars.
A central shrine protrudes from the back wall. The pillars are in
typical Mahendravarman style."
dedicated to Vishnu
Mamandur cave temples is the template style of Dravida temple
On the northern wall of the mukha-mandapa there is an inscription
probably authored by the same king. Lines 12 and 13 suggest that the
king ‘wanted to achieve what was not achieved before in the realm of
Cave Temple 2, situated south of the first cave, also has an ardha
mandapa and mukha mandapa separated by two pillars behind the first
row. There are three sanctum sanctorum in this cave temple, dedicated
Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Two steps in front, with a low stone rail
shaped like the back of an elephant lead into each garba griha.
According to an inscription inside the central sanctum, it is called
Uruttiravalisvaram (Rudravalisvaram). Thus Shiva or Rudra would have
been the deity of the central sanctum. The dvaarapalas of the central
sanctum stand in tribhanga, one hand on the waist and another resting
on their heavy clubs which are intertwined with serpents, wearing huge
jatabhaaras on their heads, yajnopavita (sacred thread) and ornaments.
The Linga in the sanctum indicates that this garba griha was dedicated
The dvaarapalas of the southern sanctum stand in tribhanga, with a
hand on the waist and a lotus in the other. Wearing a yajnopavita and
jatabhaara on their heads, they were obviously intended to be sages or
braahmanas, and the deity within must have been Brahma.
dedicated to Vishnu, although there is no figure inside.
Traces of painting are visible inside the sanctum, suggesting that the
cave temples were once painted.
There are two inscriptions of Parantaka I Chola inside this cave
temple, saying that the caves were called Vruttiravaliswaram and
Valiswaram The irrigation tank, Chitramegha tataka, is assumed to have
been excavated on the orders of
Mahendravarman I Pallava.
Cave Temple 3 – Situated south of the previous cave, this is the
largest of the four caves. There are several cracks on the pillars,
which may be the reason for not finishing this cave. There are five
pillars and two pilasters on the façade, in typical Mahendravarman
style. The corbel above the pillars is in curved profile. The southern
façade has two pillars and two pilasters. Corbels are finished above
the pillars, however these are not fully cut in to make the space for
circumambulation. This cave has an ardha-mandapa and mukha-mandapa,
the two differentiated by two rows of pillars and pilasters.
The five shrines at the back of the cave share a common platform, with
staircases in front of each, consisting of three steps. The cells are
all cubical and empty, with no dvarpalas or inscriptions. This shrine
would have had seven cells, five on the back and two on the side.
Cave Temple 4 – This is the smallest cave on the hill, unfinished,
with a façade of two pillars and two pilasters. The façade suggests
a three shrine cave, but the work was stopped due to cracks in the
rock and load above the roof.
^ "Alphabetical List of Monuments - Tamil Nadu". Archaeological Survey
of India. Retrieved 9 March 2014. S. No. 200 — Rock Cut Caves,
Sculptures And Inscriptions, Mamandur
^ Gabriel Jouveau-Dubreuil (1917). The Pallavas. Asian Educational
Services. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-81-206-0574-9.
^ N. S. Ramaswami (1989). 2000 Years of Mamallapuram: Text. Navrang.
^ K. R. Srinivasan (1964). Cave-temples of the Pallavas.
Archaeological Survey of India. p. 37.
^ Asoke Kumar Bhattacharyya; Pradip Kumar Sengupta (1 January 1991).
Foundations of Indian Musicology: Perspectives in the Philosophy of
Art and Culture. Abhinav Publications. pp. 105–.
^ "Back to its grandeur". The Hindu. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 11 March
^ "The impact of paintings on dance". Sunday Observer. 11 August 2013.
Retrieved 11 March 2014.
^ "MAMANDUR – A PALLAVA HERITAGE". heritageonline.in. October 14,
2013. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
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Mamandur rock-cut caves.
Coordinates: 12°44′N 79°40′E / 12.74°N 79.66°E /
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