ASI finds incomplete 7th century cave temple in TN
Archaeologists have stumbled upon an unfinished cave temple, considered to date back to 8th century AD
Evidence of the attempt to chisel the cave temple on an elongated granite outcrop at Pallapuram in Lalgudi, 28 km from here, was found recently during an ongoing study of rock temples by Director (Monuments) of the Archaeological Survey of India D Dayalan.
The plan for constructing the temple could have been made in seventh or eighth century, when similar cave temples had been made at Rock Fort here, Tiruvellarai (Sri Pundarikaksha Perumal Temple) and Tiruppanjili (Shiva temple) on the city outskirts, Dayalan said.
“Though there is no definite clue about the date of this attempt for cave excavation (converting the granite out crop into a temple), there is a doubt that this activity is almost contemporary to the cave temple excavations in the nearby areas including Tiruchirappalli” he said.
Dayalan said he was making a study of the rock temples, pioneered by one K R Srinivasan in the district, when he found the unfinished cave temple.
Attempt had been made to cut three bays by leaving rock mass for two pillars in between and two pilasters, one at either extreme.
Each bay was about 1.32 metres wide and the rock mass left for carving the pillars was about a metre. Had it been completed, it would have made a fine temple like the one at Tiurvallarai, Dayalan said.
Interestingly, an inscription of the 11th century Chola period donating land to the temple was found near the spot.