Tiger Cave – Mahabalipuram

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Tiger Caves

Tiger Cave

Tiger Cave is a rock-cut Hindu temple complex located in near Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, India. Mouth of an unfinished cave decorated with tiger heads gives name to the place.Tiger Cave is considered to be one of the Mahabalipuram rock-cut temples constructed by the Pallavas in the 8th century AD. The site is located on the Bay of Bengal coast and is a popular picnic spot and tourist destination. The temple is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). (wikipedia.org)

Watch Tower - Tiger Caves

Watch Tower near Tiger Caves

Tiger’s Cave is a unique cave shrine which is different in style from the other monuments of Mamallapuram. The south east facing structure is cut at a height of 6 feet from the ground level. The pavilion is closed on all three sides and a 4 feet deep and 6 feet high cavity is excavated in the front. There are stairs to reach the high raised platform. They are supported by lion parapets on either sides. The two lion pilasters with a female rider on the rearing lion are important features of the site. Around the central cell the two surrounding nices, a surrounding garland like arrangement of eleven yazhis (a mythological animal) is found. Interestingly, some scholars believe that this pavilion might have been used as a festival pavilion during Indira Vizha (festival of Indra). There are references about Indra Vizha in ancient Tamil books such as Silappadikaram.

The south facing side of the rock has two big elephant heads an unfinished horse. The north facing side of the rock has a big lion with an unfinished figure carved in its stomach. It is a perfect picnic spot for Chennai people.  The site is believed to have been built by Rajasimha Pallava. (source: Indian Columbus)

The discovery of an inscription on a rocky outcrop in the Tiger Cave complex in 2005 led to the excavation of a Sangam period Subrahmanya Temple close by.

Explore my trip to Tiger Caves

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