History & Culture

Sittannavasal: relics from the 2nd century B.C.

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With its prehistoric and proto-historic significance, this rock-cut cave temple in Pudukottai is an architectural wonder from a bygone era.

Sittannavasal, a small hamlet in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukottai district, is a muse for historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and art lovers alike. Located 50 km from Tiruchi, the Sittannavasal rock-cut cave temple, with its beautiful frescoes, sculptures of Jain Theerthangaras and stone beds atop a hillock, is believed to be an ancient abode for Jains when Jainism flourished in the region till the 10th century A.D. While the numerous dolmens, stone circles and other forms of megalithic relics in the vicinity of Sittannavasal indicate the prehistoric and proto-historic antiquity of the region, the village itself dates back to the 1st century B.C.

The temple is now a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. The archaeological and cultural remains nearby at Kodumbalur, Narthamalai, Kudimiyanmalai , Thirumayam and Avudayarkoil are proofs of its rich cultural heritage.

(Photos and text by M. Moorthy)

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