Kottukal Cave Temple
Vayala – Manjappara Rd, Kottukkal, Kerala 691306, India
The 8th century cave temple carved out of a large boulder.
Location of Kottukal Cave Temple
More about Kottukal Cave Temple
Kottukal Cave Temple, as the name suggest is carved out from a gigantic piece of rock. The temple lay in the middle of a paddy field and from a distance gives the impression of a sleeping elephant.
Meaning behind the name and little bit of history of the temple
The name Kottukal in Malayalam is a shorter version of ‘Kottiya Kallu’ which means ‘carved rock’. Hence the name Kottukal Cave Temple or ‘carved rock cave temple’.
The temple is believed to be constructed in 8th century during the time of Pallava Dynasty. The exact age of the temple and name of the person who constructed it are not known.
Currently the temple is administered by the Travancore Devaswom Board and there are daily offerings conducted. The temple is declared as a protected monument by Government of Kerala in 1966.
Exploring the temple premises
The size and grandeur of the temple in no way can be compared to that of the much larger Ajanta and Ellora cave temples in Maharashtra. Kottukal Cave Temple is comparatively small, yet offers a pleasant change from the temple architecture that is generally seen in Kerala.
The temple has two square caves of uneven size carved into the rock. The larger cave has a mukha-mandapam (rectangular hall) in front that is supported by two massive stone pillars while the smaller one does not have any hall. Bas relief image of the deity- the elephant god Ganapathi is present in-between these two caves. In addition to Ganapathi, deities of Lord Shiva in the form of Shiva Lingam (an iconic representation of Shiva) with Hanuman- the monkey god and Nandikeswara- the celestial bull on the sides are also present at the temple.
The temple also has a well that never dries up due to the presence of paddy fields in the adjacent areas.
Reaching Kottukal Cave Temple
Kottukal Cave Temple is located in Kottukal Village in Kollam District of Kerala State in Southern India. The nearest major railway station is at Punalur (17km) from where there are bus services to Anchal Town (6km) nearby the temple. From Anchal, you can either take buses to Kottukal or hire a taxi.