March 31, 2012

Mamallapuram Trimurti Cave Temple

Site Name: Trimurti Cave Temple
Site Type: Pallava architecture, cave temple, sculpture
Location:  1.5 kms from bus stand, Mamallapuram, near Chennai (55 kms from Chennai), Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A beautiful cave temple of Pallava era

Nearest Railway Station: Chennai
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Chennai

Hotel: A lot of options are available within Mamallapuram and East Coast Road outside the town
Restaurants: Many options and varieties across the town

Trimurti Cave Temple is a fine example for Pallave architecture. It is located in Mamallapuram, the city of sculptures and monuments. Although it is a well known monument, it is not regularly visited by all the tourists. It is located slightly away from the Krishna's butter ball.

The cave temple is dedicated to Trimurties of Hinduism - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Although it is obviously a Pallava architecture, it is clearly not known which Pallava king built this monument. Few scholars claim that it was the work of Parameshvaravarman I, whereas the others claim it might be the work of Rajasimha or Mamalla.

The cave temple is different from the other cave temples of Mamallapuram; it doesn't have pillared mandapa. It straight away has the three shrines. The middle shrine has prominence and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. All the three shrines have deities. The right most shrine is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the left most shrine is dedicated to Lord Subramanya (ideally, it should be Brahma; however, according to the scholars it is the idol of Subramanya; I am not sure if it is the case why the cave should be called as Trimurti cave).

All the shrines have two dwarf ganas and two devotees at the feet of main deities. Similarly, all the shrines have dwarapalaks at the entrance. The shape of dwarapalaks, devotees and ganas in each shrine is different depending upon who is the main deity.

There is an independent niche where the Goddess Durga in the form of Mahisasuramadini with eight hands is excavated. She is standing on the head of buffalo (demon Mahisa).

The back side of Trimurti cave has a beautiful bas relief panel where two elephants and their cubs along with a monkey and peacock are found.

Trimurti cave temple is definitely an exceptionally great Pallava period monument. Do not miss this place when you visit Mamallapuram.

Happy travelling.


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