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Thirumalai is a small hill, situated 4 km south-west of Arani, in Thiruvannamalai District, Tamil Nadu. The place has great archaeological significance and is famous as home to three Jain caves, 3 structural temples and a monolithic image of ‘Neminatha’.

In the 10th century, it was converted into three shrine chambers to house the stucco figures of Tirthankars and a Yakshi, but now the figures are lost in antiquity. The side rock was carved with fine sculptures of Ambika Yakshi, Gommateshwara, Parshwanath and Adinath in the 10th century.

A temple, built in the 16th century, dedicated to Mahavir is situated at the foot of the hill. There is a small shrine, built in the 17th century, dedicated to Parshwanath, situated on the top of the hill. Below this shrine is the 16 ft tall monolithic image of Neminatha, believed to be the tallest Jain image in Tamil Nadu. It was carved in the 12th century.

The ground level of the first cave contains fragmentary paintings of the 15th and 17th century, preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Updated on 25th June, 2014
District: Thiruvannamalai
Location: Arani    

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