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The Sangam-era temple near Mamallapuram that had been submerged under the sea but came out because of sea recession during tsunami still remains largely unexplored.

Not far from the structure, there is a UNECSO-recognized heritage spot called Tiger Cave. The rock cut temple is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Though called Tiger Cave, there is no sculpture of a tiger inside the cave. The sculptures here have heads that resemble lions and mythical creatures of imagination.

The rock cut temple has been made out of boring into a small rock. There is a stage like structure on which important events can be held, it seems.

Tiger Cave ( Photo Credit: K Saravana Kumar -Wikimedia Commons)

At its entrance, are 16 lion-like mythical creatures cut in a circular pattern. This structure is different from other rock-cut temples here. Some researchers say it is a temple, while others say it is a stage where events can be conducted. In front is a raised space where, some experts believe, kings would sit and watch events.

The area has become a sanctuary for the Asian Bee Eater. Hundreds of these birds can be found here ( Photo Credit: J Charles Sharp -Wikimedia Commons)

There is a Shiva temple nearby. An inscription here carries the Tamil word, “Thiruvezhicchil”, which means, “a place where God rises and blesses”. Other inscriptions talk about who donated to construct the structure.

Near the cave, some 200 meters away, a Pallava rock-cut temple is there, which is called Saluvankuppam Adhiranasanda Pallaveswaram. Cut out of a rock, the temple faces the Bay of Bengal.

On the back wall of the rectangular structure a Somaskandar statue has been sculpted. At the sanctum is a Shiva lingam with 16 stripes on it. It is possible this was a latter-day addition.

At the front of the rock cut temple are two half pillars and two pillars near the side walls. There are two inscriptions, one on the left and one on the right wall. On the left, an inscription in Devanagiri has six verses in 16 lines. On the right wall, there are seven verses in 17 lines written in Pallava Grantha script.

Inscriptions say this structure is called Adhiranasanda Pallaveswara Griham. Researchers say that this structure could have been made during the reign of Rajasimha Pallavan who was called Adhirana Sandan.

Opposite to the rock cut structure is a sculpture that describes the battle between Mahishasuran and Korravai who is depicted with six hands. During the Vijayanagar empire too this form was worshipped. This historic site has not been researched properly.

The wildlife department should step in to protect these birds. At the same time, the ASI that is under the Union government should explore and research the structure.

During the tsunami, a Sangham-era temple came out nearby due to sea recession. It’s being called the Thiruvezhicchil Murugan temple.

Retired ASI official T Sathiamoorthy has shared some findings of his about this structure. Independent researchers too have shared some findings. But proper investigation by the archaeological department has not happened.

The site is under the control of the ASI. The structure that came out because of sea recession now has a compound wall to secure it. Yet, vandals have left their mark on the structure.

The area where the temple came out during tsunami is now a sanctuary for the Asian Bee Eater bird. Hundreds of birds can be found together here.

The Asian Bee Eater has dug burrows on the ground to live. Since the site doesn’t see too many humans, the birds probably feel secure here. That’s why they are multiplying. The Asian Bee Eater flock consists of hundreds of birds.

Burrows of the Asian Bee Eater

The wildlife department should step in to protect these birds. At the same time, the ASI that is under the Union government should explore and research the structure.

This week, more such remains have been unveiled by sea recession. Researchers are making models of the remains to study them.

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