Vettuvan Koil – The Temple of the Slayer

Related Articles

Related Articles

Vettuvan Koil is a rock-cut temple, located in Kalugumalai, a panchayat town on the ancient trade routes from Kovilpatti to courtallam, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

The temple was constructed during the 8th century AD, during the reign of the Pandya dynasty (also known as the Pandyas of Madurai) in dedication to the Hindu god Shiva, one of the principal deities of Hinduism.

The Pandyas ruled extensive territories, at times including the large portions of present-day south India and Sri Lanka, with the capital of the kingdom centred on Madurai.

 

Vettuvan Koil – Image Credit : Reclaim Temples – Public Domain

The complex was built in the Dravidian style, an architectural idiom adopted in various Hindu monuments such as the Virupaksha Temple at Karnataka by Vikramaditya II, Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple built by Narasimhavarman II, and the Ellora Temple by Krishna I – but has characteristics that present a distinct Pandyan art form.

Several contemporary sites in Kalugumalai share the same distinct Pandyan art type, including the rock-cut Kalugumalai Jain Beds, the Kalugasalamoorthy Temple, the Murugan shrine, and various 8th-century houses.

Vettuvan Koil – Image Credit : Reclaim Temples – Public Domain

Vettuvan Koil was carved from a single granite rock, with the upper section depicting various carvings of “Parsavadevatas” (the attendant deities of Shiva) such as Uma (goddess of fertility, love, beauty, marriage, and children), Nandi (the gate-guardian deity of Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva), and various animals such as monkeys and lions.

According to legend, the temple was the result of a father and son rivalry over who was the greater sculpture. The father constructed the Vettuvan Koil, whilst the son built the Murugan shrine. The son mocked the father that the Vettuvan Koil would never be finished, who retaliated in anger by murdering the son. In his grief, the father abandoned his temple which to this day remains unfinished.

Vettuvan Koil – Image Credit : Reclaim Temples – Public Domain

Another variant of the legend states that the father had tried to teach his son the skills of his trade. Foregoing the orders of the father, the son started chiseling in the inner chamber. Hearing the sound and raged by the disobedience, the father killed the son.

As a result of the legends, two literal translations of Vettuvan Koil mean in Tamil, “heaven of sculptors”, whilst the other means the “temple of the slayer”.

Header Image Credit : R.K.Lakshmi – CC BY-SA 4.0

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Camulodunum – The First Capital of Britannia

Camulodunum was a Roman city and the first capital of the Roman province of Britannia, in what is now the present-day city of Colchester in Essex, England.

African Crocodiles Lived in Spain Six Million Years Ago

Millions of years ago, several species of crocodiles of different genera and characteristics inhabited Europe and sometimes even coexisted.

Bat-Winged Dinosaurs That Could Glide

Despite having bat-like wings, two small dinosaurs, Yi and Ambopteryx, struggled to fly, only managing to glide clumsily between the trees where they lived, according to a new study led by an international team of researchers, including McGill University Professor Hans Larsson.

Ancient Maya Built Sophisticated Water Filters

Ancient Maya in the once-bustling city of Tikal built sophisticated water filters using natural materials they imported from miles away, according to the University of Cincinnati.

New Clues Revealed About Clovis People

There is much debate surrounding the age of the Clovis - a prehistoric culture named for stone tools found near Clovis, New Mexico in the early 1930s - who once occupied North America during the end of the last Ice Age.

Cognitive Elements of Language Have Existed for 40 Million Years

Humans are not the only beings that can identify rules in complex language-like constructions - monkeys and great apes can do so, too, a study at the University of Zurich has shown.

Bronze Age Herders Were Less Mobile Than Previously Thought

Bronze Age pastoralists in what is now southern Russia apparently covered shorter distances than previously thought.

Legio IX Hispana – The Lost Roman Legion

One of the most debated mysteries from the Roman period involves the disappearance of the Legio IX Hispana, a legion of the Imperial Roman Army that supposedly vanished sometime after AD 120.

Popular stories

Legio IX Hispana – The Lost Roman Legion

One of the most debated mysteries from the Roman period involves the disappearance of the Legio IX Hispana, a legion of the Imperial Roman Army that supposedly vanished sometime after AD 120.

The Secret Hellfire Club and the Hellfire Caves

The Hellfire Club was an exclusive membership-based organisation for high-society rakes, that was first founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton, and several of society's elites.

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.