Getting down from Melamalai, our next target was Kadambar Malai where Kadambar Koil is situated. The Lord here is Kadambanathar aka Malai Kadambur Thevar. Next to this is the Nagareeswaram temple where the Lord is Nagareeswarar and then is an Ambal Temple where she is Mangalanayaki. The first one was built by Raja Raja Chola in 11th C and the other 2 by Maravarman Sundara Pandyan in 13th C.
Kadambar Koil has a huge inscription of 27 lines in the south facing wall, which is the hill itself. There were some small crude shallow relief of Dakshina Murthy. A bit more further ahead, is this 27 line inscription which Prof. Muthazhagan read out for us.
This is the only inscription that celebrates the Vishwakarma community, who were the temple builders of that era. The inscription says that Rajendra Chola has appreciated an this person named Akalanga acharya for his services towards the temple and his father and have gifted them tax-free land. There was another shallow relief of Chadikeshwara.
The temple pond was huuuuge, complete with steps. Ofcourse I did have Fish Pedicure!!! Why spend a bomb on the so-called Fish Pedicure when I can immerse my feet in such temple ponds and let the fishes bite me, in the ambience of ancient monuments surrounded by natural breeze away from pollution and traffic. I bet no parlour can give me that!!!!!
From Kadambar Malai we proceeded to Alurutti Malai where my dearest spot - the Jain Beds were located!!!
These 4 Jain beds are dated at 2nd C BC. Not just the Jain Beds, but also the 2 reliefs of Thirthankaras atop sculpted later during 7th-8th C AD. How would they have sculpted this with such finesse at such height - really makes my mind go bazoonga!
Its a shallow cave with 1 set of bed and 2 individual beds. There were 2 more loose sculptures beside. But the sad part is that unlike other places where Jain Beds are located, this is open without any grills. That has caused the place to be dirty and open to ravages of humans & animals!!!
To Reach Pudukkottai:
From Chennai: 400 km via Villupuram, Trichy
Trains to Rameshwaram go via Pudukottai.
Trains / Buses can be taken to Trichy and regular buses are available from Trichy.
From Trichy: 50 km. Regular buses are available.
From Madurai: 115 km via Tirupatthur
From Coimbatore: 300 km via Dharapuram, Dindigul
Narttamalai is 10km from Pudukottai via Oorapatti.
Photographs by Mr.Gopu, Ms.Shillika & ofcourse, yours Ms.Bhushavali!
Dedicated to Prof. Swaminathan, Prof. Muthazhagan, Prof. Jambunathan, and the whole group...