November 7, 2009

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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