If you are looking for some inscriptions about the lithic period of the state, the caves here are the ideal places to look for. There are quite a few caves spread across various regions of Tamil Nadu and they contain inscriptions about the early epigraphic records. These inscriptions are written in one of the earliest languages – the Brahmi script.  Most of these caves explain about the spread of the Jainism religion in India as they contain details about the monks who visited here and how they propagated the principles of Jainism and made it popular in the state.

Most of these caves were the abodes of these monks who lived many centuries ago. Stone beds were created in these caves and their ceilings were well-maintained and constructed so that rain water didn’t get into through them. There are natural springs located in and around these caves, which aggravate their beauty to a great extent.
There are close to 26 caves in Tamil Nadu and most of them are located in and around Madurai. The irony is that most of these caves are related to the religion of Jainism.

Famous Caves of Tamil Nadu

Armamalai Cave

This is located in the Vellore district and is a monument protected by the Archaeological Society of India. The cave dates back to 8th century AD and was a Jain temple then. Cave paintings are the special highlight of this cave. There are paintings and murals all over the walls and ceilings of the caves, which makes them similar to the beautiful Sithanavasal caves in another part of the state. Limestone rocks have made up  this cave. The paintings represent all tales related to the religion of Jainism and have portraits of the major protectors of Agni, Kubera, Vayu, Yama, Varuna, Indra and Esanya.

Sithannavasal Caves

These are very famous not only in Tamil Nadu, but in India as well. It is located in Pudukottai district and it literally means, “a place where great saints live”. The paintings here are made of different colours of vegetable dyes (orange, white, blue, black, green etc.) It belongs to 2nd century and is a predominantly Jainism related cave complex. The hill on which these caves are located are 70m tall and the paintings here depict various natural elements, elephants, lotus, fishes, geese, buffaloes, dancing figurines and the most attractive Jain painting concept of Samavasarana, which means highly attractive heavenly pavilion.

Other famous caves in Tamil Nadu are Chitharal Jain Monuments and Rock Temple, Krishna Cave Temple, Mahabalipuram cave temples and paintings, Narthamalai, Mamandur, Varaha Cave Temple, Thirunadhikkara Cave Temple, Samanar Hills and many more.



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