Umai Andar Cave Temple - Thiruparankundram, Tamil Nadu

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prakash manjrekar

Umai Andar rock cut Temple is typical of one of the early Pandya cave temple types. Nataraja and his consort Sivakami, Kalbhairava, Ganesha and the three Saiva saints are carved on the outer walls & there is Lord Shiva in the form of ‘Arthanareeswarar’ inside small, dark cave room. This Cave Temple suffered damage during the early period of Jaina-Brahmanical conflict. It is datable to 8th century A.D. The sunk-cut reliefs on the inner rock surface, however, are of the mediaeval times.To which also the inscribed records belong. Protected by the ASI, this Pandya temple was probably a 1st Century Jain cave, which was later converted, according to the rock inscriptions near a tree. More inscriptions refer to the 13th Century Pandya ruler, Sundara Pandiyan, and it says that a Saiva saint, under the patronage of the king, converted this Jain monument into a temple and named it ‘Sundara Pandian Eswarar’ Temple after the monarch. Lots of Monkeys & Peacock are living around this place.