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History Of Sittanavasal Caves And Paintings

Last Updated : 30 Aug, 2022
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From being the world’s second-largest populace to the world’s largest democracy, from mysterious lands of snake charmers to the world’s leading manufacturer of engineering students, from being colonized for years to being the fastest-growing democracy, India has left the world in shock. Likewise, many empires and kingdoms like the Indus Valley civilization, India is an archaeological gem. The Sittanavasal Caves in Tamil Nadu in the lap of the Kaveri river in the Pudukkottai district are one such gem. The caves are also known as Arivar Koil. Sittanavasal Caves are a perfect example of Budha’s teaching, as Budha thought you must be a traveler for life and preach. 

Sittanavasal Caves:

The Sittanavasal Caves are undeniably a significant piece of Indian history. The Sittanavasal Caves are where the monks from the eastern portion of India resided, according to a legend. In a monastery or temple dug out of the rock, Jainism was practiced nearby by the monks. Positive thinking and an austere lifestyle were the monks’ guiding principles, much as the culture of Jainism suggests. The murals from the Sittanavasal Caves are the ideal example of variegated culture.

History of Sittanavasal Caves and Sittanavasal Caves paintings:

  • Sittanavasal Caves paintings are a spectacle for the eye. They are known as one of the best cave paintings of early medieval India. These paintings represent the Jain thoughts and ideologies on rock-cut architecture. Most Sittanavasal Caves paintings date back to the 9th century AD in the Pandyan period. The paintings include a pond with lotuses, bulls, elephants, apsaras(angels), and other gods.
  • There are seventeen polished stone berths following each other in a row. These stones are of great importance as there are inscriptions in Brahmi scripts on them from the first century BC. There are ceiling paintings, called frescos that portray the Jainism culture in the area of Tamil Nadu. The Sittanavasal Caves are a fantastic representation of Budha’s philosophy. The name Sittanavasal comes from “the home of superior saints.” It is a 2nd-century Tamil Rama cave complex.
  • From the first century till the tenth century AD, Sittanavasal Village showed signs of Jainism. It is also noted that the area was a pilgrimage site for the Jains during the era as it was found that the Jain stone was bedded on the top of the hill. 
  • The Sittanavasal Caves have a queue of seven polished stone berths, each with a raised section. The Brahmi Scripts inscription from the first century BC includes names of the monks such as Tittaicbaranan, Tirunillan, Tolakan Rattu Kadavulan, Tiruppuranan, and others.

Excavation of Sittanavasal Cave:

  • Pallava King Mahendravarman built the Sittanavasal Caves temple in 580-630 AD before he converted Hinduism to Jainism.
  • Pandyan kings, most likely Maran Sedan in 654-670AD or Arikesari Maravarman in 670-700 AD, were credited for restoring the Sittanavasal Caves, according to an inscription.
  • The Pudukkottai region has many discoveries of megalithic burial sites where the monuments are located.


The mysterious land of India is filled with unique artifacts and history, and the more you explore the subcontinent, the more amazed you will be by the grandeur of the culture and history. Similarly, the old Jaina pilgrimage site is an excellent portal to the culture and history of the region of Sittanavasal Caves. The Sittanavasal Caves paintings are the world’s finest cave paintings of the medieval age. These paintings have created masterpieces for the ancient period that are real shows for the eyes. One can reach the Sittanavasal Caves complex through Tiruchirappalli and travel an hour. Flight and train options are available for the same.


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