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Pudukottai Tourism Tours in Tamilnadu

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Address: Pudukkottai
Location: District, Tamilnadu State, India
Property Type: Business And Leisure Hotel

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About Pudukottai

Breathing Life Into Stone:
Not far from the bustling town of Pudukottai, on the periphery of the sleepy village of Annavasal, is a cluster of rock caves, which, on the one hand, show traces of the Iron Age and, on the other, can be termed as the Ajanta of the South.

Megalithic burial sites near the Sithannavasal caves testify their hoary past while the rich sculpture and painting adorning the caves are reminiscent of the famous Ajanta caves on the other side of the Indian peninsula.

Weather and vandals have taken their tool of the caves, which were used by Jain Tirtankara for meditation and penance, a fact borne out by the remains of granite beds carved out of rocks, and inscriptions in Asoka Brahmi script.

Tourist Attractions of Pudukottai

The sculpture, paintings, etching and inscription, as well as the Megalithic burial site, together make it an important archaeological site, not to speak of it being an art lovers delight. The meditation and penance caves are located on the southern side of the rock, as shown by the names of Jain leaders etched on the walls, while a temple has been carved into the western face. This cave in highly ornamental with sculptures and painting on the inner walls, making a work of art that, historians say, is paralleled only by the Ajanta caves. At the entrance to the cave temple stands a pillared structure brought from the nearby Kudimiyanmalai. The roof of the forecourt, archaeologists say, was brought from a quarry adjoining Panangudi.

Beyond the forecourt is situated the ardhamandapam façade, which comprises two pillars cubicled at the top and bottom and with an octagonal belt in between. And there are supporting corbels, with a highly carved beam and a cornice.

An almost life-size figure of a Jain saint in a seated posture of meditation in located under an umbrella. In another niche is the figure of Parsavanath, the 23rd Tirtankara, in a similar posture, under a canopy of a five-hooded snake and having an inscription at the base, which reads Thiruvasiriyan, meaning teacher. The sanctum sanctorum has a row of meditation Jain Tirtankaras, in bas-relief. The murals in the ceiling of the sanctum as well as the ardhamandapam are an artists dream come true.

Historian J Ramachandran, in his book Cave Temple Painting of Sithannavasal, describes them as a canopy of carpet pattern woven over the Parsavanath niche with lotus flowers and buds against back-ground of lotus leaves. The ceiling on the north face is again canopied similarly in a carpet pattern, with a background of circular floral design. In addition to these canopies there is the Dhama Chakra carving. A continuous and by far the most important theme of painting here features a tank with lotuses, lilies, fish, a crocodile, elephants, birds, buffaloes and three men (bhavyas) wading through it gathering flowers.

The cave temple and its artistic, religious and cultural treasures remained buried in the sands of time till it found mention in A General History of Pudukottai State, complied by S.Radhakrishnan Iyer who was commissioned by the Dewan Regent of Pudukottai State in 1899 to catalogue the archaeological wealth of the state.

In this book, Iyer has described in detail the caves, their structure and the sculptures and painting within. Detailing the painting, he wrote: On the ceiling of the hall are pictures in water colours of birds seated on lotuses in thank. These pictures, which are likely to be more than 10 centuries old, look as fresh as though they were painted only 10 or 20 years ago.

However, Iyers book, perhaps because of its insular character and limited readership, did not have the same impact as that of a later work and the monograph on Sithannavasal by a Frenchman, Jouveau Dubreuil, in 1920. Dubreuil, who collaborated with well-known iconographer Gopinath Reddy, was instrumental in placing Sithannavasal on the archaeological of India.


Buddha Statue Dound In Siva Temple :
A Buddha statue, dating back to the tenth century, was found in the Ekambareswarar Kamatchiamman temple at Sundarapandian pattinam on the borders of Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram district on the East Coast. The statue was identified as that of Buddha by Dr. J.Raja Mohamad, curator of the Government Museum at Pudukottai during his field survey as a part of a study of the maritime trade history. Earlier, only Ponparri (Ponpethi) was considered by scholars as having connection with Buddhism.

Sundarapandian pattinam has been a flourishing port even until the latter part of the 19th century, when it has trade ties with Sri Lanka. The statue of the Buddha, in a standing posture, measures 40 inches in height and wears a robe extending from neck to the feet. According to the curator, the face is oval shaped, with the nose, lips, chin and other features caved elegantly with meticulous care. The ear lobe is elongated and the forehead has a tilak like mark. The right hand depicts the abhya mudras. This is the third statue of Buddha in a standing posture in this part of the country, according to Dr. P. Jambulingam, Buddhist research scholar in Tamil University, who examined the statue along with Raja Mohamad. He said that it was akin to the style of Buddha idols found at Nalanda.

Adjacent to the Siva temple is a Mandapam in ruins, which Raja Mohamad feels may have been a Buddhist monastery from its architecture. According to him, the Buddha statue may have been taken from here and installed in the Siva temple. Scholars here feel that the discovery of Buddha statues in this part of the country reveals another phase of Buddhist history, which had hitherto gone un-noticed.

Reminicent of A Glorious Era :
The restoration work of the delicate 17thcentury murals in the Ramanathapuram palace in Tamil Nadu is going on in right earnest. These marvellous murals cover a whopping 28000 square feet of walls and ceiling of the Palace.

Tourist Places to See Pudukottai

The grandeur of the Palace, known as Ramalinga Vilasam, lies in the panels consisting of breathtaking painting in vibrant colours. The painting belong to the celebrate School of Nayakas, dating back to 300 years. The panels depict the staunch religious faith of the rulers of the land and the prime privileges of royal life-valour and love. The kings of Ramanathapuram played the role of guardians to those who came from far and near to have a holy dip at Rameshwaram, one of the most sacred places for Hindus.

The painting are based on themes of valour, administration, trade, religion, love and benevolence. The palace has been divided into four sections. The painting in the Public Hall detail important events that took place during the reign of King Muthu Vijaya Raghunatha Setupati along with the 10 avatars of Lord Narayana. The adjoining Proceeds Hall and the Durbar Hall have illustrations from Sri Krishna Bhagavatham and Sri Ramayana. Nearly 300 panels have been devoted to Ramayana and Bhagavantham, said Mr. Karunandan, the author of book on the Ramayana painting of the palace. The first floor has painting, which explore the exotic territories of love.

Dr. O.P. Agrawal, Director General of Indian Council of Conservation Institute and well-known conservators, said the style, colour, image treatment and the inscription of Telugu script resembled the murals of Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple at Srirangam. The paintings are done in lime plaster using Tempra technique which is the most common feature of Indian murals. The colour derivatives used are extracted from vegetables and from other sources.

The stunning panels provide a contrast to the damp and dark atmosphere the prevails inside the palace. The State Archaeology Department took over the Palace in the late Seventies. A quick scanning of the paintings shows the intensity of decay that has set in. The palace, built with lime, has no drainage system. The seepage of rain water has damaged many panels. Wild plants grow on the wall and the dropping of birds and bats with its acidity content have obliterated many classic panels.

The vandalism by the visitors should be seen to be believed. Electrical switch boxes wires and various other accessories have been nailed right on top of the paintings. Many more have been buried under a thick coating of whitewash. Several unknown bio-data have been inscribed on the murals with sharp tools.

The restoration work has been taken up with meticulous care and the Indian Council of Conservation Institute (ICCI) of the Institute of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has been entrusted with the job of restoring the murals. The group of leading conservation scientists of art, working under the guidance of Dr. Agrawal is led by Mr. S. Subbaraman, Directors of ICKPAC Bangalore, a unit under INTACH.

According to Dr. Agrawal, a six-member expert committee is working on the project expected to be completed in five years. The project is estimated to cost Rs. 20 Lakh of has already been sanctioned by the Tamil Nadu Government.

The experts have divided the work into different phases. The first phase includes a graphic documentation of each panel. They also are being numbered. Vital inputs regarding the location of panel in the Palace, its defect, theme and background, whether historical or religious, are also being documented. We want to keep a faithful record of each panel. Dr. Agrawal added. The second phase involves consolidation and strengthening of plaster as well as the paint layer to remove the air pockets with the help of hypodermic syringes.

The restoration is expected to provide a fresh lease of life to the decaying panels of rare art of orient charm.