|Coordinates:||12.6198 N 80.1943 E (possible mistake 100 m)|
|No:||49 (list of all attractions)|
|Categories:||Hindu shrines, Rock cut architecture|
|Values:||Art, Architecture, History, Archaeology|
|Address:||Asia, India, Tamil Nadu, south of Chennai, Kanchipuram district, Mahabalipuram town, northern end of "hillock" near the centre|
|Writing in Tamil:||கோனேரி மண்டபம்|
|Age:||the 6th - 7th century AD|
|UNESCO World Heritage status:||Part of "Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram", 1984, No.249|
One of many cave temples in Mahabalipuram is Koneri Mandapam.
The age of this temple is hard to guess. While several other rock-cut temples in Mahabalipuram can be dated (roughly) by the design of details, especially columns, Koneri Mandapam is not that simple. It has two kinds of columns, each of which is attributed to its own period - simple Mahendra-style pillars and also later ornamented columns.
First four pillars and two pilasters adorn the entrance - these front columns have been designed in Mahendra style - slender, four-sided on the top and bottom and eight-sided in the middle. Further inside there are four more columns in different style - more sophisticated and well ornamented.
Temple has five cells and this is one of arguments why it could have been devoted to Shiva - because number five is closely linked to this deity. It is also possible that Vishnu followers - Vaishnavites - took over the temple in Vijayanagara period as it happened in some other temples in Mahabalipuram (see Ramanuja Mandapam).
There have been preserved few sculptures except for the rear wall with its five sanctuaries. Each of these sanctuaries is guarded by a pair of dvarapalas - only one of these guards in the far left side is chiseled away in later times. Above the sanctuaries there are pairs of vyalas - some of these sculptures are not completed.
Nowadays sanctuaries of this temple are empty, temple contains no inscriptions.