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Koneri Mandapam

WorldBlue  In short

One of the many cave temples in Mahabalipuram is Koneri Mandapam.

4.2 out of 10 stars 41.8%

GPS coordinates
12.618647 N 80.191289 E (possible mistake up to 100 m)
Location, address
Asia, India, Tamil Nadu, south of Chennai, Kanchipuram district, Mahabalipuram town, northern end of "hillock" near the centre
Hindu shrines, Rock cut temples and monasteries
Writing in Tamil
கோனேரி மண்டபம்
The 6th – 7th century AD
UNESCO World Heritage status
Part of "Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram", 1984, No. 249

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

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 the 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 on 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.

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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.

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