So far they have been so many temples, that we have seen. Any idea how the first ever temple would have been. Right - The first ever temples were the cave temples. But any idea what were the first kind of built / constructed temples? Here they are...
This one was at Kaliyapatti. It was a bit freaky indeed to reach this place! It was a deserted thorny terrain and infact we had to shut down all doors & windows to prevent the thorny plants from coming in!!! Finally with the help of a local, we did manage to reach the place.. This Kaliyapatti temple is of the 9th C and has inscriptions too!!!
Another early temple was at Vesalur. Around this, a lot more has been constructed over a period of time till Nayak Period. The initial construction was done by Paranthaka Chola in the 9th C, and inscription are there for the same. A Shiva Lingam is in the sanctum sanctorum.
We did miss a lot places, thanks to the tight schedule! One was Ivar Koil. One was Tiruppur, which is an exquisite eg. of early Chola art. The temple of Veerakudi has a very beautiful sculpture of Jyeshta Devi (Moodevi - Goddess Lakshmi's elder sister). It was only post-pallava era that Jyeshta went out of daily prayers, after she was depicted fat with spread out legs!!!
We also missed Kundrandar Koil which was an early cave temple of Lord Shiva. It has a recent temple of Lord Muruga atop. Outside is the sculpture of Lord Vinayaka. Unlike the later depictions of Lord Vinayaka with huge tummy with small head, here its more inspired by Mammoth than elephant! The Ratha Mandapam (Mandapam of the Temple Car) is in the shape of a Ratha!! The best part - the wheel can be rotated!!!!! It has 100 pillars. Its said that this temple belongs to the 12th C.
However Prof. Jambunathan has his own doubts about that, coz of an inscription, which says...
'Sri Kodhai MaindhanThiru Kundrakkudi DevarkkuThiruvadhirai MaindhanVeera Kaanaayanai SaarthiAttrazhiya Vaitha ArisiNooru Orubadhu Parppaarukku'
This inscription talks about Kodhai Maindhan which mean 'Andal's son' which is not written anywhere in recorded history, so this temple is before that. Also it talks about 'Orubadhu', a terminology to denote 'Pathu' / the number 10 has not been used ever since Sangam Tamil age, so this temple must have been before that. Also it talks about 'Attrazhiya Vaitha Arisi' which means 'Boiled Rice' - Boiled rice has never been given as donation in known history, only raw rice was given, yet again, this temple must have been before that. It also talks about 'Veera Kanaayanai Saarthi' which means to 'To bring in the sculpture of Veera Kanaayan', why would someone bring a sculpture from outside to place inside a cave temple where the sculpture can be made out of the live rock itself!!!
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
Dedicated to Prof. Swaminathan, Prof. Muthazhagan, Prof. Jambunathan, and the whole group...