Tiger Cave lies 4km north of Mahabalipuram, near the village of Saluvankuppam. Of all the sites in and around the town, this one seems to be largely overlooked by visitors which is a great shame as it is a somewhat fantastic and unique monument.
The temple consists of a large boulder, out of which a small portico has been fashioned in the middle, potentially used for displaying bronze images during festivals in Pallava times (8th century A.D.). It is surrounded by a ring of fierce Yali heads, with two additional elephant heads to the left.
It’s quite unlike any other rock cut temple I have visited in India, and well worth the short rickshaw drive from the town to see it. Situated close to the shore and in a well maintained grassy area, it would also make for a pleasant picnic spot.
A little further north before you reach Subrahmanya Temple (which I missed!) lies another temple, the name of which I am unable to determine. I presume this is later in date, and consists of some fine detailed carvings, a nandi, and linga, and an inscription on the inside left of the portico.
If you plan to spend any longer than a day in Mahabalipuram I highly recommend visiting this site for an hour or so.
The Tiger Cave is one of four primary locations worthy of exploration in and around Mahabalipuram, which include:
- Tiger Cave (4km north of the town)
- Central Monuments (immediately west of the town)
- Shore Temple (a very short walk east of the town)
- Pancha Rathas (1/2km south of the town)
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Categories: India, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, Tiger Cave
Though structure is 1200 years old it looks like as if built this year.Thanks for nice photographs and information.
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Thanks for the comment !
Yes Girish, and this was the reason that the earlier visitors thought that these temples are very recent as these were so fresh and good state of preservation. Its only later when the inscriptions were found that these were the creations of seventh century CE.One of the reason of these being fresh is the granite stone which does not weather much.
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I was wondering as well if there may have been a period when it was buried in the sand, although it does stand quite tall…