One of the 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 a different style – more sophisticated and well ornamented.

Temple has five cells and this is one of the 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, the temple contains no inscriptions.


  1. Koneri Mandapam, Tamil Heritage. Accessed on April 17, 2010.
Koneri Mandapam on the map
Travelers' Map is loading...
If you see this after your page is loaded completely, leafletJS files are missing.
Location, GPS coordinates: 12.618647 N 80.191289 E (possible mistake up to 100 m)
Categories: Hindu shrines, Rock cut temples and monasteries
Values: Art, Architecture, History, Archaeology
Rating: 1.5 out of 10 stars
Where is located? 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
Religion: Hindi
UNESCO World Heritage status: Part of "Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram", 1984, No.249

Video of Koneri Mandapam

indiavideodotorg, June 2009

Landmarks of India

Key Gompa, India
Key Gompa / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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.

Hindu shrines

Sri Meenakshi Temple - gopuram
Sri Meenakshi Temple – gopuram / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Hinduism is one of the oldest religions – possibly the oldest one among contemporary religions and Hindu temples belong to most impressive religious buildings in the world.

Recommended books

Tamil Nadu: The Heart of Dravidian India

The huge temples of Tamil Nadu are justifiably famous. Through history and forty-four original photographs, this book explains how the temples came to be and what their statuary symbolizes. The book also paints a picture of what life was like in the civilizations that built them.

Mahabalipuram (Monumental Legacy)

Built in 700 CE by the famous Pallava king Rajasimha, Mahabalipuram is a unique monument where art form combines with religion and legends. Also known as Mamallapuram, it showcases the best of Tamil art and architecture. The beauty of the monument is further enhanced by its location on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, the latter significantly influencing the creations. Part of the prestigious Monumental Legacy series, this book presents a graphic account of the site and its monuments-mandapas (cave temples), rathas (chariots), open air bas-reliefs, and structural temples.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x