Gudimallam linga - Satavahana style

This is truely one of the most spectacular sculptures found here, a little north of Chennai. It is known to date back to the 1st century BC, it is also proclaimed to be sculpted in the Satavahana style. Surprizingly there is no other sculpture of the same kind any where near this geographically to associate it with any pattern in art styles.

The gudimallam linga, depicts the true nature of a Shiva linga, with the human form carved well within the limits of the linga. Here we see a sculpture of Shiva standing with a club on one side, the only sculpture where shiva is carved completely within the linga. We later see versions of the same in the Lingodbhavamurthi which shows only part of shiva, found at Kanchipuram and later temples in the southern regions.

We get to know more about the Pallavas from the 6th century onwards because of the constant clashes with the Chalukyas, but as far as early sculptures are concerned, the Gudimallam Linga, stands a class apart.

There are other interesting caves around the Pallava region. The caves at Dalavanur, are probably one of the earliest caves made by the Pallavas. This cave at Dalavanur, depicts the characterestics of the pallava caves with very confused dwarapalas, whose bodies are flexed rather awkwardly. Interestingly, the pillars are very bare and at the most have medallions which is a Chalukyan take off. This si actually in the Shatrumalla cave near Chennai. These caves were built during the period of Mahendravarman and have very square pillars on two ends with an octagon in the center. No yali figures accompany this cave which are so charcterestic to Pallavas. We see that the yali figures come in later constructions.


Neel said...

Interesting. If I have understood right this is a Pallava creation sculpted in Satavahana style( as early as 1st century?) Where exactly is this Gudimalla.Is it one cave or a cave complex.Forgive my ignorance.

ANNA said...

It is marvellous and amazing. it is a piece of excellent carving. Gudimallam is located in Chittoor District(Andhra Pradesh). I heard about it long back, but till today(06-07-2006), iI did not see any picture of it. Thank you very much, Ms.Kavitha.

Vijay said...

I saw this temple on 05-12-2006. this is near by tirupati airport. 24km from tirupati railways. - Vijay Anand

kavitha said...

Hi Vijay

I am yet to see this place. Will make it there sometime.


Vijay said...

Hi Kavitha,

i am from hyderabad. let see..

i have taken couple of pictures.


Puranam said...


This is a wonderful place. Calm, pristine and interesting architecture.

The Alaya prakaram is quite big with the smaller temples of Kumaraswamy and Ganesh and Durga and the Lord Parasurameshwara in the middle.

It is astonishing that this temple belongs to 1st century BC and has stood the test of time till now.

It is interesting to note that the dome of the temple is actually made out of wood. Though the wood has decayed way out of condition, it still stands. The sanctum sanctorum is little more than 15x15 feet. And there is little or no light on the Linga. It is a marvellous piece of architecture and the carving of the God is exquisite. I am not bluffing when I say your hair stands up when you touch the diety.

Incidentally, I am from Papanaidupeta which is 3 kms from Gudimallam.


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munikrishna said...

hi, iam very near to this place called gudimallam.chennai is very far from this place (not really an identification point)you can reach it easily from tirupathi the temple town in adhra pradesh.it just ajourney of <10km from here by road.oh,ya it is not a cave it is a like our regular temples but u will find it unique if u see it by it,s oldness and its unique sculpture.there are many local beliefs about this temple like every year on one day the lingam will be submerged with water from sacred ganga thru asecret link there are many more like this .......

Chandu Naidu said...

Hi guys,

This is Chandu. Gudimallam is very nearer to my home town. The distance might be 2 kms from my home.

I would like to share one thing with all of you guys if you visit this temple please visit APPALAYAGUNTA village here Sri venkateswara temple is there. This is one of orizinal statue. If you have any queries regarding these temples and route kindly write to me.

My mail id is: hema.chandu1@gmail.com