Tourist Places in Kerala

Kaviyoor rock cut temple

This temple is cut out from a rock four miles north-east of Thiruvalla in Alleppey district. On stylistic evidences it is dated to the 9th century AD. The usual orientation of a Siva shrine is to face west,or east and this temple is facing west. The cave is approached by a flight of steps hewn out of the rock. Just adjacent to that is this two and a half ft wide unprotected verandah.

The cave is 18ft * 8ft and 8 and half ft high. There are two pillars and pilasters and they measure 8"* 8". The pillars are of the usual cave type with the bottom and top portions as cubes and the central an octagonal shaft.

There is no capital as such and it is surmounted by the usual corbel with horizontal roll ornament. The central shrine is a square cell. The cell is plain and devoid of all ornamentation with a cylindrical linga slipped on to the socket of the simple rectangular "yoni" pedestal. The door jambs appear to be later additions. The rectangular hall in front of the sanctum has two dwarapalakas, one on each side of the doorway.

The niches are flanked by pilasters supporting double brackets at their tops contiguous to the ceiling. The dwarapalakas in the niche to the left of the entrance is leaning aggressively on a club entwined by a cobra. His head dress is comical - Karantamakuta and beneath his locks fall in picturesquely on the shoulders. All the ornaments like necklaces, udarabanda, Keyuras, kankans are worn by him.

The dwarapalaka on the other niche strikes a different pose. He has his hands crossed on his breast and head slightly bent in a respectful attitude, and his hair is dressed like a jadamakuta. The northern and southern wings of the hall contain respectively a four handed Ganesa and a mendicant. His hair is in the top knot fashion peculiar to the west coast of state with a lower cloth hanging up to his knee. His arms are in akimbo and the left holds kamandulu. It is presumed that this rock cut temple came into existence during the Chera rule as inscriptions of Bhaskara Ravi Varman have been discovered in nearby temples.

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