Thirumalai

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Location: Arani, Tiruvannamalai District, Tamil Nadu
Significance: Archaeological Site
Main Findings: Jain Relics


Thirumalai is located 4-km south west of Arani, where there is a hillock, which has 3 Jaina caves, 3 structural temples and a monolithic image of "Neminatha". Monks resorted to the huge cavern at the lower level in the 9th century AD.

Later on in the 10th century it was converted into three shrine chambers to accommodate stucco figures of Tirthankaras and a Yakshi, but now stucco figures are lost. In the 10th century the side rock was carved with fine sculptures of Ambika Yakshi, Gommateshvara, Parsvanatha and Adinatha.

The elder sister of Rajaraja Chola I built Kunthavai Jinalaya, which stands at the foot of the hillock, in the 10th century. One can find another temple dedicated to Mahavira to the west of Kunthavai Jinalaya, built in the 16th century.

On the summits of the hillock there is a small shrine for Parsvanatha, built in the 17th century AD. Below this shrine is the monolithic image of Neminatha, which is the tallest Jain image in Tamil Nadu. It was carved in the 12th century AD and is about 16 ft in height. Fragmentary paintings of the 15th century as well as 17th century could be seen inside the first cave at the ground level. All these monuments are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.

HOW TO GET THERE

Road: Arina is well connected by road to the neighbouring towns and cities.

WHERE TO STAY

Accommodation is available at the small hotels and lodges at Arina.



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