Before venturing into the article on Ancient Energy Centre Mamandur Caves,let me digress.
Couple of years ago, I had been to Thiruvannamalai,Abode of Shiva in Tamil Nadu with my son who is an Agnostic bordering Atheism.
I visit Ramanasarmam first, I stay there.
Ramana Maharshi was a Realized Soul
He was my grandfather’s class mate and I am named after him,with a slight variation.
After checking in I took my son Dhyana Mandala,where Maharishi used to sit and meditate and asked him to sit for fifteen minutes.
When we came out, my son attempted to say something.
I asked him to keep quiet and took Seshadri Swamigal Adhistan,which lied next to Ramanasarmam.
I asked my son to go around the homakunda( homa is performed daily) and sit for a few minutes.
After coming out I asked him what he wanted to say earlier.
He was surprised that he felt peace descending on him in Ramanasarmam hall,while he felt a mild shock/tremor while at Seshadri Adhishtanam.
I explained him that Ramana Maharshi specialised in Gnana Yoga while Seshadri Swamigal specialised in Tantra Shastra and Mantra Siddhi.
So the difference on vibration.
Gnana Yoga is gentle while Tantra Sastra is tough to practice and the vibrations from the place where Tantra is practiced and Homas done,the vibrations will be intense and one can feel the difference.
Those who visit temples can feel this.
The peace that descends in Shiva temple ,Devi and Vishnu’s temples differ qualitatively.
One has to feel it.
Similarly even among Temples of the same Deity.
The peace you get at Thiruvidaimaruthur Shiva try is different from what you experience in Thanjavur Big Temple.
This is due to vibrations from the Deity, Structure of the Temples,Mantras used.
There are many temples in India along these lines.
There is a series of cave temples in Maamandur,near Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India.
Series of five Caves are found here.
Latest inscription is from Mahendravarma Pallavaram around 7 century AD.
Earlier inscription belongs to Chola period and they are much earlier.
The place was called Thiruvaleeswaram.
One of the Cave Mandapas has a hall where evidence is found that it was a Meditation Hall .
It has diagrams.
No idol,unlike other caves where Brahma,Vishnu and Shiva is found..
Cave Temple 1 “is approached by a staircase cut into the hill. The façade is made up of two pillars and two pilasters. Two pillars made up of cubes above and below with an octagonal shaft in the middle make up the façade of this cave. There are lotus medallions on the lower and top cubes. Behind these pillars there is a second row of pillars. A central shrine protrudes from the back wall. The pillars are in typical Mahendravarman style.”
dedicated to Vishnu
Mamandur cave temples is the template style of Dravida temple architecture
On the northern wall of the mukha-mandapa there is an inscription probably authored by the same king. Lines 12 and 13 suggest that the king ‘wanted to achieve what was not achieved before in the realm of music’.
Cave Temple 2, situated south of the first cave, also has an ardha mandapa and mukha mandapa separated by two pillars behind the first row. There are three sanctum sanctorum in this cave temple, dedicated Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Two steps in front, with a low stone rail shaped like the back of an elephant lead into each garba griha.
According to an inscription inside the central sanctum, it is called Uruttiravalisvaram (Rudravalisvaram). Thus Shiva or Rudra would have been the deity of the central sanctum. The dvaarapalas of the central sanctum stand in tribhanga, one hand on the waist and another resting on their heavy clubs which are intertwined with serpents, wearing huge jatabhaaras on their heads, yajnopavita (sacred thread) and ornaments. The Linga in the sanctum indicates that this garba griha was dedicated to Shiva.
The dvaarapalas of the southern sanctum stand in tribhanga, with a hand on the waist and a lotus in the other. Wearing a yajnopavita and jatabhaara on their heads, they were obviously intended to be sages or braahmanas, and the deity within must have been Brahma.
dedicated to Vishnu, although there is no figure inside.
Traces of painting are visible inside the sanctum, suggesting that the cave temples were once painted.
There are two inscriptions of Parantaka I Chola inside this cave temple, saying that the caves were called Vruttiravaliswaram and Valiswaram The irrigation tank, Chitramegha tataka, is assumed to have been excavated on the orders of Mahendravarman I Pallava.
Cave Temple 3 – Situated south of the previous cave, this is the largest of the four caves. There are several cracks on the pillars, which may be the reason for not finishing this cave. There are five pillars and two pilasters on the façade, in typical Mahendravarman style. The corbel above the pillars is in curved profile. The southern façade has two pillars and two pilasters. Corbels are finished above the pillars, however these are not fully cut in to make the space for circumambulation. This cave has an ardha-mandapa and mukha-mandapa, the two differentiated by two rows of pillars and pilasters.
The five shrines at the back of the cave share a common platform, with staircases in front of each, consisting of three steps. The cells are all cubical and empty, with no dvarpalas or inscriptions. This shrine would have had seven cells, five on the back and two on the side.
Cave Temple 4 – This is the smallest cave on the hill, unfinished, with a façade of two pillars and two pilasters. The façade suggests a three shrine cave, but the work was stopped due to cracks in the rock and load above the roof.
Featured image credit.