Panamalai Thalagirishwara Temple (Viluppuram - Tamil Nadu)

Finally, after Mandagapattu, looking at the earliest ever rock-cut cave temple, looking at the huge water-body, chatting with the cute school kids there, we kind of lost track of time!!! Suddenly (well, not so suddenly!) it was past 5 and we wanted to complete atleast Panamalai, though we wanted to complete quite a lot more.
We literally raced to Panamalai, and the sun was almost touching the horizon. Again we raced through the flight of about 100 steps. The priest was there, almost locking down the place. He asked us to come in to the sanctum sanctorum, but we had other plans!!!
We headed right to the specialty of the temple. What's that? The amazingly beautiful frescoes... As soon as you enter, to the right, in the circumambulation passage (technically, its the wrong way to reach there, a circle around the temple should be taken to reach this shrine) is this separate shrine of a Shiva Lingam. Behind the Shiva Lingam, on the wall is an almost erased fresco of Lord Shiva. It did take us a lot of time to try to find out what pose is he in, which is hand, which is leg, how many arms, and finally we did. On the right wall was His consort Uma in a coy posture. Guess what, we're seen that already!!! I'll tell you about it...
First here's the fresco of Shiva and Uma. Try to figure out Shiva, if you can!!!

The detail on her outfit & leg posture and a closer shot of her face. She's not that damaged as Shiva's painting...

 Now, remember, Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple post? Let me pull a pic from there...
Look into Shiva's posture in this relief sculpture. Exactly the same in painting on that shrine. Just one way to make that out is by trying to spot His right arm that goes across his chest to the left, which you can spot in the painting. The Shiva is in that posture with 8 hands on either sides with a weapon in each arm. See the coy Uma beside? The painting on the right wall, is exactly the same, but a mirror image. 
Just below the shrine which has this painting was this Sanskirt inscriptions in Grantha Script. Such inscriptions were also there in the Artha Mandapam. 

After literally staying there holding out flash lights to try and understand the painting, the sun had almost set. This temple is located overseeing the Panamalai lake. Behind this shrine is the lake. The view of the setting sun over the lake was an amazing view by itself. Its indeed the right timing to venture to this place, thanks to the setting sun view! The first pic is how the lake was when we got into the temple and the 2nd pic is how the lake was when we got out of just that shrine!!!
Hurriedly we went into the actual temple to have a look at the sanctum sanctorum which was in total darkness now! The sanctum sanctorum has a huge Shiva Lingam. The Lord Shiva here is called Thalagirishwarar. This Shiva lingam has the Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva sections in it. It also has 16 stripes.  Just behind it on the wall, is a relief of Somasakandha, that's Lord Shiva with consort Parvathi and toddler son Skandha / Murugan / Karthikeya at the centre. In the artha mandapam, on the left wall was Lord Brahma with Saraswathi and on the right wall was Lord Vishnu with Lakshmi, all in high relief. His consort here is Astha Thaalambikai.
With this, looking at more sunset, our Mahendra Trail got over for the day and we raced back to Chennai. We did stop over from a few minutes in the middle of nowhere, in complete darkness, for a few minutes for star gazing and managed to spot some meteorites too!!!


From Gingee: 21 km on SH4 towards Villupuram.
At 21 km turn right. After 6.5 km the end of the road would be reached.
Turn left. In 2.5 km you would spot the temple to your right.
After 2 km, the half km has to be taken on a dirt track that deviates to the left, to reach the base of the hillock, which has the steps to be climbed. 
The Panamalai lake would be to your right, from about 1 km. 
On Google Maps:

Pic Courtesy: The 1st & 3rd pics and the last pic belong to Gopu.
Dedicated to Gopu, Shiva & Siddharth


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. Beautiful art work. Another unexplored place. Good work Bhusha.

    1. It was so disheartening to see the almost ruined piece of art!!! :(
      Thanks Niranjan!

  2. Replies
    1. Sure. Glad you liked! You must visit. You'll love the place! :)

  3. Awesome information. Keep posting. You should visit Pazhayaseevaram temple also.(பழையசீவரம்)

    1. Thanks dear! Guess its your visit visit to my blog. Do visit often!
      Thanks for the suggestion too! :)

  4. thank you, to give a very good article


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