Sittanavasal Cave ( Arivar Koil) Its name is a distorted form of Sit-tan-na-va-yil, word which means "the abode of great saints"
The monument is a rock-cut monastery or temple. Created by Tamil Śramaṇa, it is called the Arivar Koil, and is a rock cut cave temple of the Arihants. It contains remnants of notable frescoes from the 7th century. The murals have been painted with vegetable and mineral dyes in black, green, yellow, orange, blue, and white. Paintings have been created by applying colours over a thin wet surface of lime plaster.
Ancient structures such as Gol Gumbaz, Talagirisvara temple and this one are claimed to be relatively unappreciated.] Archaeological Survey of India has listed Sittanavasal Cave in the list of "Must See" Indian Heritage.
The Sittanavasal Cave are listed as one of the Adarsh Smarak Monument by Archaeological Survey of India.
While the Sittanavasal village is dated from 1st century BC to 10th century AD when Jainism flourished here, the Temple-cave was initially dated to Pallava King Mahendravarman I (580–630 AD) prior to his conversion from Jainism to Hinduism as a Shaivite. However, an inscription attributes its renovation to a Pandyan king probably Maran Sendan (654–670 AD) or Arikesari Maravarman (670–700 AD). The Śramaṇa beds on the hill top is attributed to the Jain era pilgrimage centre which lasted till the 9th century AD. However, in the Pudukkottai region, where the monuments are located, there are many archaeological finds of the megalithic burial sites from much earlier.
Sittanavasal is a rock-cut cave, situated on the western side of central part of a hill, which runs in a north–south direction. The hill measures approximately 70 metres (230 ft) in height, and sits above the surrounding plain which has some archaeological monuments. The Jain natural caverns, called Ezhadippattam are approached from the foothills. The cave is approached by climbing a few 100 steps.
The architectural features of the Sittanvasal Cave include the painting and sculptures found within its precincts. Archaeological Survey of India is responsible for the maintenance of the cave and the Jain beds
The paintings have been painted in fresco-secco technique with many mineral colours. The painting depict beautiful lotus pond with lotus flowers, people collecting lotuses from the pond, two dancing figures, lilies, fish, geese, buffaloes and elephants. Mulk Raj Anand said of the paintings, "Pallava craftsmen used greens and browns and puqiles, with a genuine ability and a lyrical flow of line. Lotuses spring up from imaginary ponds amid variegated greenery, under a bluish sheen." In addition, inscriptions of the 9th and 10th century are also seen. The ceiling of the Ardhamandapam is decorated with murals from the 7th century. The cave temple has simple pillars and sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras. However, most of the frescoes which were covered fully in plaster have been severely defaced or not clearly visible due to inadequate security and maintenance resulting in vandalism in the past five or six decades. Originally, the entire cave temple, including the sculptures, was covered with plaster and painted. The paintings are with theme of Jain Samavasarana, the "most attractive heavenly pavilion" (it means the attainment of nirvana), and Khatika bhumi
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