November 17, 2009

A calm beach near Chennai

Chennai, the city considered as the gateway to South India, has arguably the second longest beach in the world. It also has few other beaches. However, it is an unfortunate fact that it is very difficult to find a clean beach. If you want to find a beautiful beach in Chennai which is not crowded, you need to go to the beach located near Tiger’s Cave.

Tiger’s Cave is located at a distance of 52 kms from Chennai city. It is easily accessible either by private taxis or on your own transportation as it is located on the East Coast Road (ECR) (a popular highway) that connects the cities Chennai and Mamallapuram. The distance of Tiger’s Cave from Mamallapuram is 5 kms.

Tiger’s Cave  has a beautiful and ancient cave-like architectural marvel and an old rock cut Shiva temple. Nearby Tiger’s Cave you can find 2000 year old remains of a brick temple discovered recently by Tsunami. The beach is next to the ancient brick temple.

The beach is clean. You can hardly find anybody in the beach. This is a rare sight in Chennai as almost all the places are crowded like anything. The beach and the surrounding is calm, serene, and neat. The site is dotted by a lot of trees such as palm, casuarinas and other trees. It’s really a relaxing experience to visit this great weekend picnic spot near Chennai.

Happy traveling.

Site Name: Tiger's Cave Beach
Type: Beach
Location: Saluvankuppam village - 52 km from Chennai city on East Coast Road (ECR), Tamil Nadu state, India
1) A calm and clean beach

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November 8, 2009

Discovered by Tsunami

Tsunami hit Asia on 26th December 2004 and claimed around 220,000 lives, which was an unfortunate event in the history of Asia. Perhaps the only good thing due to that Tsunami was the discovery of 2000 years old brick temple near Tiger's cave, which is located at a distance of around 52 kms from Chennai city, India. Tiger's cave is hardly 5 km from the architecturally beautiful Mamallapuram town.

When Tsunami hit Mamallapuram and surrounding areas in December 2004, the remains of an ancient brick temple was unearthed by Tsunami. This temple is believed to have been built during the first century BCE and 2nd century CE. The temple was dedicated to Lord Murugan (aka Subramanya and Karthikeya), son of Lord Shiva. The period of the temple was possibly the Tamil Sangam Age. An inscription in Tamil on a rock near the excavated site led to the discovery of the temple. The rock, lodged in sand, was exposed fully by the tsunami that struck this area.

It is believed that the original temple was built using bricks. It should be noted that the temples were built using bricks 2000 years ago. It is also believed that this temple was subsequently converted into a granite temple during 8th century CE or 9th century CE by the Pallava kings, who were responsible for the architectural marvels in Mamallapuram and Tiger's cave. This is the first brick temple discovered in Tamil Nadu state of India.

It might not be a complete structure today and it might be just an excavation of temple remains. Still, it is really exciting to find ourselves stand in front of an ancient cultural symbol.

You can reach this place easily either by public transport or on your own, as the place is located well on the main road - East Coast Road (ECR) the road connecting Chennai and Mamallapuram cities.

Along with this place, you can also visit Tiger's cave, rock cut Shiva temple and a beautiful beach. All these four sites are located next to next.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Ancient Murugan Temple, Near Tiger's Cave
Type: Sculpture, ancient brick temple
Location: Saluvankuppam village - 52 km from Chennai on East Coast Road (ECR)
1) 2000 year old brick temple
2) The first brick temple discovered in Tamil Nadu state of India
3) Unearthed by Tsunami

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November 7, 2009

Atiranachanda Mandapa, Tiger's Cave, Chennai, India

Atiranachanda Mandapa is located at a corner in the Tiger's Cave complex, near Chennai, India. Tiger's Cave is located at a village named Saluvankuppam on East Coast Road (ECR) between the cities Chennai and Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu, India. The distance of Tiger's cave is 5 kms from Mamallapuram and around 52 kms from Chennai.

The front facade of the east facing mandapa is supported by two pillars and two pilasters. The pillars are square at the top and base and in between is an octagonal shaft.There are three cells carved in the mandapa. The central cell alone is complete; the remaining two cells just have the wall portions. The central cell has a black polished multi faceted Shiv Linga and Somaskanda panel on the back wall. Somaskanda is a form of Shiva, Parvati along with the baby Skanda, flanked by Vishnu and Brahma. Two dwarapalaks are carved in the niches at the entrance of the cell. The remaining two cells too have similar Somaskanda panels carved on the back wall. Scholars believe that this monument was built either by Mamalla or Rajasimha Pallava.

The temple is located below from the ground level . The temple also has some rock carvings depicting the images of goddess Durga killing the buffalo faced demon, Mahisasura. Outside the cell, the stone idols of Shiv Linga and Nandi are found.

You can also visit Tiger's Cave, ancient Muruga temple unearthed by Tsunami and the nearby beach along with this serene and calm ancient temple.
It is definitely an architectural marvel which you should not miss.

You can easily reach the site either by public transport or on your own as the site is located well on the high road.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Atiranachanda Mandapa, Tiger's Cave
Type: Sculpture, ancient rock cut temple
Location: Saluvankuppam village - 52 km from Chennai on East Coast Road (ECR)
1) 7th century AD Pallava architecture
2) Rock cut temple

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Tiger's Cave - Chennai, India

Tiger’s Cave is a place where you can find rock cut temples and sculptures but not tigers. :-)

Tiger’s Cave is located in a village named Saluvankuppam, which is around 5 kms from Mamallapuram towards the direction to Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. You can reach this place easily either from Chennai or Mamallapuram, as this is located on East Coast Road (ECR), the road that connects Chennai and Mamallapuram. The distance of Tiger’s Cave from Chennai is approximately 52 kms.

Tiger’s Cave is a unique cave shrine which is different in style from the other monuments of Mamallapuram. The south east facing structure is cut at a height of 6 feet from the ground level. The pavilion is closed on all three sides and a 4 feet deep and 6 feet high cavity is excavated in the front. There are stairs to reach the high raised platform. They are supported by lion parapets on either sides. The two lion pilasters with a female rider on the rearing lion are important features of the site. Around the central cell, a surrounding garland like arrangement of eleven yazhis (a mythological animal) is found. Interestingly, some scholars believe that this pavilion might have been used as a festival pavilion during Indira Vizha (festival of Indra). There are references about Indra Vizha in ancient Tamil books such as Silappadikaram.

The south facing side of the rock has two big elephant heads and an unfinished horse. The north facing side of the rock has a big lion with an unfinished figure carved in its stomach. It is a perfect picnic spot for Chennai people.  The site, which is believed to have been built by Rajasimha Pallava, is an ideal destination for nature lovers and art lovers.

If you do not visit this place, you are certainly missing something.

Happy Travelling.

Site Name: Tiger's Cave
Type: Sculpture, ancient rock cut temple
Location: Saluvankuppam village - 52 km from Chennai on East Coast Road (ECR)
1) 7th century CE Pallava architecture
2) Rock cut temple

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The Lord gets married daily - Nitya Kalyana Perumal Temple, Chennai, India

Site Name: Nitya Kalyana Perumal Temple
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Tiruvidandai area, ECR, Near Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Varaha temple; one of 108 Divya Deshams

Nearest Railway Station: Chennai
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Chennai and Mamallapuram
Hotel: A lot of options across ECR
Restaurants:  A lot of options across ECR

Chennai city, the gateway to South India, has a lot of temples. Many of them are ancient temples and few of them are well known even outside Chennai. Nitya Kalyana Perumal Temple is not very popular, but an important temple that is located in the outskirts of Chennai. It is located in a village called Tiruvidandai on the popular East Coast Road (ECR) between Chennai and Mamallapuram. The distance is 42 kms from Chennai and 16 kms from Mamallapuram. Let us discuss about this peaceful temple in this article. 


  • Tirumangai Alwar has sung 13 Pasurams about this temple in his verses.
  • Manavala Mamunigal has also sung hymns about this deity.
  • It is considered as the 62nd Divya Desham temple. It is located in Tondai region.
  • In the olden days, it was also called as Sripuri and Varaha Puri
  • There are 360 consorts for Vishnu in this site.
  • God Aadi Varaha Perumal or Lakshmi Varaha Perumal ; Utsava deity - Nitya Kalyana Perumal
  • Goddess Komalavalli
  • Teerth (holy water) - Kalyana Teerth
  • Vimana Kalyana Vimana


Tiru Idathu Eanthai

In this temple, Varaha is found holding Lakshmi on his left side. Hence, the village obtained the name "Tiru Idathu Eanthai" which means "the deity holding Lakshmi on his left side". The name of the site got converted as Tiruvidandai later. 

360 Consorts

As per the legend, the sage Klava had 360 daughters. He wanted Vishnu to marry all his daughters. Vishnu appeared in the form of a Brahmachari and married each girl daily throughout the year.  At last, all of them merged into one form, which is Lakshmi. Hence, Vishnu in this site is called as Nitya Kalyana Perumal. 

As per another version, the name of the first girl was Komalavalli, who is found as the presiding Goddess in a separate shrine. 

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple does not have a tower. It is located in a serene and peaceful locality with the beach in the walking distance.

The sanctum enshrines Lakshmi Varaha Perumal with Lakshmi on his left side. His foot is placed on the heads of Nagaraj and his consort. 

The sanctum also enshrines the festival (utsav) idols of Nitya Kalyana Perumal in the standing posture with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi on his either sides. 

Komalavalli is found in a separate shrine in the prakara. Her idol looks extremely beautiful. 

The temple also houses the sub-shrines of Andal, Ranganath with his two consorts and Ranganayaki. The idols of Ganesh, Vaishnavi, Ramanuja, Krishna, Alwars, Satyan, Aniruddha, Acchuta and others are also found in the temple. 

The flag staff, bali peeth and Garud are found facing towards the sanctum. 

Happy travelling. 

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