Alagarmalai

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Alagarmalai is situated adjacent to a range of hills bearing the same name. On the hill range between Alagarmalai and Kidaripatti is a huge cavern with beds. The way to the cavern appears to have been along a precipitous rock edge, but a narrow set of steps with holes by the side for what might be wooden hand-rails have been cut into the rock to provide easier access, like the caves at Tirupparankunarm. The cave itself is a volwninous fifty yards wide along its east-west axis -three times the size of the cave at Tirupparankunram and contains an excellent spring in one corner. There are many stone berths of varied size throughout the cave; some are singles, and some are configured into groups. We can find eight Bramhi inscriptions in these caves which detail the chronology of the stone berths and their patrons. The names of a nun and monk, Saparnita and Kasyappan, were given special place of honour in the inscriptions.

One final note about the Alagarmalai site. Situated just below the cave is a massive boulder containing a beautifully carved image of a seated Tirthankara. To one side of the icon is a Vatteluttu inscription of the ninth century, which declares that Ajjanandi was responsible for the creation And consecration of this sacred image. This particular preceptor, whose name appears at other sites, emerges as someone who played a dominant role in the propagation of Jaina doctrines, and had been, during his sojourn in Tamilnadu, instrumental in the consecration of Tirthankara images.

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Alagarmalai is situated at a distance of about twelve miles north west of Madurai.

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Post Author: JHC