This comparatively large cave is divided into three parts with walls of mud and adobe, turning it into complex of three shrines – trikūta. Earlier this structure had paintings in the so-called “Northern Technique” – similar technique has been used also in Bagh Caves. First, on the bricks, there was laid a thick layer of mud and then it was covered with lime. The material was bound by animal gum. The light surface of lime was suitable to make colorful paintings. Unfortunately, these paintings have not been preserved up to this day. But the fact that this method has been used in Southern India testifies that it might have been used in other structures of this region as well. It is also quite possible that guilds of artists were moving around medieval India, influencing the local traditions.
Happily cave had paintings in other techniques as well – in the so-called “Southern technique”. These paintings have been preserved a lot better. Ceiling and walls of the cave are covered with beautiful color paintings depicting the stories of Jainism. These paintings are similar to murals in Sittanavasal cave which is located 250 km further to the south. The western part of the ceiling is adorned with floral designs with the lotus as a dominating motive – similar as in Sittanavasal. Paintings show also a standing lady with other people.
The entrance in the cave is facing to the south. Cave floor contains deposits relating to Iron Age, in the valley below there are found remnants related to burials. In the debris of the cave there were found some fragments of sculptures – dvarapalas – guards of the portal, as well as details of lotus carving with Tamil inscription mentioning “Sri Kanaka… a disciple of Nandi Bhatāra.”
Armamalai Cave is exceptionally valuable and at the same time fragile monument of art and history – thus here is not given the exact address of it.
Armamalai Cave is included in the following list:
- Nagendra Kr. Singh. Encyclopaedia of Jainism. New Delhi, 2001.
Armamalai Cave on the map
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|Location, GPS coordinates:||12.7250 N 78.7269 E (mistake up to 2000 m)|
|Categories:||Jain shrines, Caves, Petroglyphs and rock art|
|Values:||Art, Architecture, History, Archaeology|
|Where is located?||Asia, India, Tamil Nadu, Vellore District, between Vaniyambadi and Ambur, near Malayampattu|
|Age:||the 8th century AD|
Video of Armamalai Cave
ILAKIYA OLI – இலக்கியஒலி, January 2019
India is seventh largest country of world by area, and, naturally such a large area contains huge amount of exciting attractions…
Wondermondo considers that India is the second richest centre of architectural heritage in the world after Europe and maybe no single country of the world can match it in this respect.
Jainism originated in India around 840 BC and is well-known as a religion heralding respect and compassion to all living beings of the world and promoting non-violence and constant spiritual development.
Jain temples belong to the most ornate and most impressive buildings of world. In their construction there is used stone with intricate, refined carvings.
From refined portraits of resplendent maharajas to earthy depictions of divine rogues cavorting with milkmaids, Indian miniature paintings depict the world as it should be: radiant, plentiful and passionate. These manuscript illustrations combine vibrant color with exquisite delicacy, offering immediate impact while also rewarding lengthy examination.
Tamils have a long history starting from the pre-historic period. Retracing their history is facilitated by various sources. One-third of India’s epigraphical sources pertain to Tamil Nadu and one of the dynasties of Tamil Nadu – the Pandyas – had the privilege of continuous rule from third century B.C. to sixteenth century A.D. It is a unique accomplishment in the annals of history, since very few dynasties in the world have reigned for such a long time.