Architecture of Thirunandikkara Cave Temple
Thirunandikkara Cave Temple has been constructed by the Jains in 7th century CE. Till the 9th century AD the temple was regarded as a pilgrimage site of the Jains. Rajaraja Chola I later captured the temple in the 10th century AD and an idol of Shiva was installed in it. Thus, the temple was converted into a Hindu shrine. The temple has been decorated with ancient murals in Kerala architectural style. Apart from these the temple also has been embellished with faded outlines of ancient frescoes that date back to the 9th and 10th century. These frescoes depict various scenes from the great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Though the main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, it also houses the idol of Lord Vishnu. The idol has been installed facing the main idol of Shiva. Another traditional rock cut cave temple can be seen on the northern side of this temple. Stone inscriptions can be seen within the temple that depicts the birthday celebrations of Raja Raja Chola and the capture of Muttom. The temple is also a storehouse of several ancient sculptures that boast about the skills of the ancient craftsmen. Few of them are now in ruins. The remnants of the magnificent Thirunanthikkarai rock cut cave temple are now maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.