KUDAIVARAI KOIL (CAVE TEMPLE)
After descending a few steps on the other side, a monolithic cave-temple is seen. This mandapam is full of rare sculptures built by Mahendira Varman. There are two verandahs in the cave, each being supported by four massive pillars.
In the lower one, there are two life-size statues, decorated with ornaments. In the upper verandah, there is a huge lingam with figures of Brahma and Vishnu on either side. The peculiarity is that the whole mandapam with sculptures is sculpted out of a single rock. Hence this cave is known as Orukkal Mandapam. There is also an interesting stone inscription inside the cave which indicates about Dutch people’s visit to this place, driven by curiosity to visit the temple where eagles visit on a regular basis. Further, they have also etched the names of the persons, who paid a visit to this temple along with the date (29 th November, 1667).
There are no stone inscriptions that record any information about King Mahendira Varman. However, archaeologists have discovered a stone inscription that indicates the victory attained in Battle of Vatapi (Vatapi, also known as “Badami”, is a town situated in Karnataka) by King Narasimmavarman. It is also said that there is one another stone inscription indicating Narasimmavarman’s victory which could be seen in Vatapi.
In addition to the stone inscriptions in the cave temple, there are as many as 110 inscriptions identified. One of the significant inscriptions which is made during the 27 th ruling year of Adhithya Chozhan, a king from Chozha dynasty, indicates the vow which King Adhithya had made with respect to carrying out the tradition of leasing lands for the temple practiced by his predecessors, originally started by King Skandha Sishyan and carried forward by the subsequent heir to the throne, King Narasinga Varma Pallavan.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVERY OF INDIA
This monument has been declared to be of national importance under the ancient mounments and archaeological sites and remains Act 1958. As per The ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains(Amendment & validation) Act 2010, whoever destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces, imperils or misuses this monument shall be punishable with imprisonment up to two years or with fine up to RS. 1(one)lakh or with both.