Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Saturday, September 23, 2023

Thirukazhukundram Cave Temple






Thirukazhukundram is an ancient town in Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu. It is famous for its Hindu temple, Vedagiriswarar temple, popularly known as Kazhugu koil (Eagle temple). 



Thirukazhukundram comes from the Tamil words Thiru (Respectful), Kazhugu (Eagle) and Kundram (mount). The town is also known as Pakshi theertham. It has also been known as Uruthrakodi, Nandipuri, Indrapuri, Narayanapuri, Brahmapuri, Dinakarapuri and Muniganapuri in the past. The main attraction here is the large temple located atop the mountain which houses the deity of Vedagiriswarar. There is a temple at the foothills which is dedicated to Thirupurasundari Amman.



Vedagirishwarar is a swayambu Lingam. The inner walls of the sanctum contain many images, all hewn out of the rock surrounding the presiding deity. In the enclosure around the sanctum, are the shrines of Goddess Sokkanayaki and Vinayaka (in a dancing pose).



After descending a few steps on the other side, a monolithic cave-temple is seen. This mandapam is full of rare sculptures and belongs to the Mamalla period (A.D. 610-640). There are two verandahs in the cave, each being supported by four massive pillars.










In the lower one, there are two life-size statues, decorated with ornaments. In the upper verandah, there is a huge lingam with figures of Brahma and Vishnu on either side. The peculiarity is that the whole mandapam with sculptures is hewn out of a single rock. Hence this cave is known as Orukkal Mandapam.