After visiting Thanthondreeswara Temple, my next stop was Mathangeeswara temple. This is also called Matangeshwar temple and Mathangesvara temple. When my friend lead me to the temple on the CSI Church Hospital Road, I was thinking the temple might be somewhere at the end of the road or in some left or right turn. Suddenly my friend stopped and turned around. I wondered why and there in the middle of 2 little shops on the busy road, was a gate with ASI board on it. Beyond that gate was this tiny, hidden, but absolutely mind blowing little temple!!! Btw, the road is the very reason, why amusingly this temple is called 'Church Koil' by some locals!!!!!!
The size was almost same like Jvarahareshwara Temple. This too was built by Pallavas. The typical simha thoon can be seen here. On the upper portion of the Simha Thoon are some inscriptions in Grantha script.
The temple is on an elevated platform. This temple too was closed when I reached there, so I have no clue of how the sanctum sanctorum looks like.
There were 6 huge panels in the maha mandapam. On either sides of the door were huge relief scuptures of dwarapalakas, complete with Pathra Kundalam, Vampire teeth, flying hair, 4 hands, club etc....
The first panel on the left wall is Gaja Samhara Murthy. The facial features are gone. A scared Uma is seen on the left. The elephants face is seen on the right. Lord Shiva has 6 hands.
The second panel on the left is Ravana Anugraha Murthy. Almost 2/3rd the height is covered by Ravana in the composition. 5 faces of Ravana are visible and almost 15-16 hands are visible.He is kneeling down and shaking the Himalayas and we see his back. 3 bootha ganas are seen and Shiva and Parvathi are atop. On either sides of them are flying celestials.
The first panel on the right wall is of Ganga descending on Shiva with Parvathi beside. A sage with beard and top knot, possibly Bagiratha / Arjuna is seen to the left. Shiva has 4 hands and is holding Parvathi with one. He's holding a strand of his hair with another hand and Ganga is coming down from the top right corner. She has her hands in praying pose, and her lower body is just stream like. A dog is seen on the top left corner. Remember the Lalithankura Cave temple at Trichy? A dog was seen there too. I dunno the specifics of the dog in this scene!
The second panel on the right wall is of Siva in Urdhva Thandavam. He had one foot on ground and one foot towards sky with a hand around that leg. He has 10 hands. A person (possibly, Parvathy) is seen seated on the left looking tired, vexed with one hand on the head and another hand supporting this at elbow! 2 musicians are seen on the right. And ofcourse there's Muyalagan beneath.
Sadly the rock here is not granite like Mahabalipuram or Trichy Rock fort. Its a much softer rock. So the finer details are all gone...
The outer wall is completely filled with panels of individual Gods and Goddesses with 2 people on either sides with Simha thoon at regular intervals. The temple serves as a peaceful abode for students and people preparing for promotion exams. I saw people of quite a vast age group studying in here!!!
On a final note, remember, I was telling Somnathpur is Hoysala in nutshell? Well, Mathankeshwarar is Pallava in nutshell...
TO GET THERE
To reach Kanchipuram: Refer to my earlier post.
Temple is located diagonally opposite to CSI Hospital at Hospital Road, Kanchipuram
Google Coordinates: http://goo.gl/maps/qVHZg
The place is wrongly marked as Marundeeswarar Temple in Google Maps!
Dedicated to Siva, Gopu and Vishwa