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| Last Updated:: 14/09/2023

Gokarnesvara Cave Temple






Gokarnesvara Temple at Thirukokarnam  in Pudukkottai district is an exemplary portrayal of continuous tradition and culture of Pudukkottai from ancient time. Originally constructed as a cave temple during seventh century this temple has been patronized and extended by the rulers of later dynasties. As seen with many other old temples of Pudukkottai region, this temple is also a live temple and under worship at present time.






Gokarnesvara Cave Temple is excavated on the southern slope of a low rising hill and faces east. This rectangular mandapa (hall), is supported on two pillars and two pilasters of Mahendra order (Square base and top with octagonal shaft in middle). A sanctum is sunk into the back wall and has a monolithic Shiva linga inside. Lateral side walls are ornamented with bas reliefs. Right side has Ganesha while left is adorned with Shiva as Gangadhara. There are now dvarpalas here which is a subject of curiosity.






Thirugokarnam cave is probably the only cave where we have Ganesha as a stand-alone image and also in Sapta-matrika panel. Stand alone image of Valampuri Ganesha (truck turned to right) is carved on the right lateral wall of the cave mandapa. He is shown with four hands and seated in padmasana posture. He carries his broken tusk in his left upper hand while ankusha (elephant goad) in upper right hand. A modaka (an Indian sweet) is held in his right lower hand and as well as in his trunk. He is shown wearing vastra-yajnopavita and karanda-makuta.