Mahabalipuram, Trimurti cave, Tamil Nadu:
Its a cave i have been missing for a while, and a long while at that. 7 years is a long time, to miss something which is so close to home!!! How could i miss it is all i ask myself right now!
but the feeling of discovering something new is great, specially when everything is so known in this little town. And a quaint little town it is. This cave is hidden, one needs to walk a little and hunt around and get there. Its hidden among rock caves, and its a complete beauty when its found!
this cave, dedicated to the trinity, has a few interesting features. it has three shrines, each dedicated to shiva, vishnu and brahma respectively. all three have flying ganas, a very shaivite symbolism. vishnu stands in samabhanga pose, stiff backed, hand resting on his hip. shiva looks half clad, brahma, well he didnt look himself.
there are three seperate entrances to each shallow shrine into the cave, the center one seems to be dedicated to shiva, though the corner one looked like they had sculpted him in the background. to be honest am still guessing here. but the interesting element is that this cave having been so well hidden that the shiva linga in the central cave still stands.
its a beautiful linga. black and clearly carved into three parts. The upper part is the "shiva bhaga" which is circular and depicts the linga in true style. The second part (lower) called the vishnu bhaga, is octagonal and the lowest half which is inserted into the yoni pitha is the brahma bhaga which is square, fitting perfectly into a square cavity in the stone floor.
the facade of this cave has a line of haras, in true dravida style of architecture. Among the dwarapalas who guard the entrances, there is a beautiful sculpture of the mother goddess, Mahishasuramardhini which looks more like an after thought to me.
a completely perfect cave... untouched by time.