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| Last Updated:: 14/09/2023

Mamandur Cave Temples







Mamandur is a village in Tiruvanamalai district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is located on the Kanchipuram -  Vandavasi road, near Dusi. It is known for the 7th-century four rock-cut cave temples, which are one of the monuments of national importance as declared by the Archaeological Survey of India.


Inscriptions in the rock-cut temples, attribute the temples to 7th-century CE  Pallava king, Mahendravarman I. Narsimha is the principal deity of Cave I, while the Cave II, in the complex, is known from later inscriptions as the Saiva Rudravalisvaram Cave.






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 is believed to be built by Mahendravarman I. The caves contain Tamil Brahmi inscriptions and cave paintings.


The northernmost cave temple in the chain of granite hills is called Mamandur I, for want of its original name which is not known. It is a small, very attractive chapel where a different layout was attempted indicating that by now the Pallava architects were familiar with the techniques and basic plans of Mahendra’s rock architecture and ventured further to realize new ideas.


The basic idea obviously was to focus attention on the single shrine by projecting it from the back wall of the temple and leaving the space in front of it unobstructed by the otherwise almost obligatory second row of pillars. Thus, a small but well proportioned empty hall was created. The projection of the shrine is further emphasized by a rounded cornice above and a moulded base below; No further ornamentation was needed for this kind of design and even the dvarapalas have been omitted here.






Into the southern wall of this hall the inscription by which the temple gained fame is carved. Though badly damaged with big pieces of granite missing here and there indicating that at least part of the mutilation was arbitrary, it is yet a unique document from which much valuable information can be gained.