|Kalugumalai rock carvings.Know Your Heritag|
Tamil Nadu has many rock cut temples, a good example is those at Mahabalipuram near Chennai city and the Tiruchy Rock Fort temple (Malaikottai) at Tiruchirapalli.
Of particular interest to us are those of Kalugumalai Jain beds in Kalugumalai, in Thoothukudi district in the SE Tamil Nadu, Dedicated to the Jain and Hindu religious figures in rock cut style, the unfinished temple is said o have been built during the reign of Pandyan king Parantaka Nedunjadaiya (768-800 CE). It exemplifies the rock-cut architecture and craftsmanship of early Pandya period. Also included are the other portions of Kalugumalai that have the 8th century unfinished Shiva temple, Vettuvan Koil and Kalugasalamoorthy Temple, a Murugan temple at the foothills.
|Kalugumalai rock carvings.newsnviews.online|
|Kazhugasalamoorthy Murugan temple//en.wikipedia.org/|
Amazingly, there are as many as 150 niches in the beds that contain images of Jain saints - Gomateshwara, Parshvanatha and other Tirthankaras It shows the influence of Jainism in this part of Tamil Nadu. It is a protected monument under the administration of Department of Archaeology of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
The rock cut carvings and the caves, according to researchers, suggest the prevalence of Digambara sect of Jainism in this region. It is said in the recent century some of the Digambaras wanted to replace the idol of Murugan in the lower cave temple with that of Mahavira. We also come to know the important role of women in Jainism along with their male counterparts. In the Monastic Order; women held higher position and travalled far and wide. Among the 21 places where women carried on their religious duty, Kalugumalai is one. In the District of Ramanathapuram, there are five places of jain worship, one in Kanchipuram district, four in Kanyakumari district. Through these places, the Jain religious workers including women promoted education . From the inscriptions we understand that the Pandyan rulers gave due importance to education and established an education centre on the model of a Jain University near Kanyakumari exclusively for women. The conclusion one can draw from the records is Jainism had an upper hand over Buddhism in this region and Madurai had a large community of Jains.
|Kalugumalai rock-cut temple. Tamil Nadu Tamilnadu Tourism|
Ramanathapuram Raja gifted five villages to the Hindu temple -
Alugasalamoorthy Temple and the hill was under the control of Ettaiyapuram Zamindar until 1954. Kalugumalai is about 21 km from Kovilpatti and 22 km from Sankarankovil.
|Kalugumalai rock carvings. paadunar|