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Avadea Covill [Avudayar Koil]. Tower of the entrance.

Avadea Covill [Avudayar Koil]. Tower of the entrance.

Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 212/4(1)

Item number: 21241

Genre: Photograph

Print from an album of 38 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. Avudayar Koil is 45 kms south-east of Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu. The temple, noted for its granite roof-work, was formerly known as Thiruperundurai and is dedicated to the worship of Shiva as Atmanatha. The Nayanar poet-saint Manickavasagar is believed to have founded the temple in the 8th century under the Pandyan dynasty, but its present form mostly dates from the 17th century. The temple does not feature the usual signifiers of Shiva temples, the Nandi bull and the lingam. It is the formlessness of god which is venerated here, symbolising one of the key tenets of Hindu spirituality. Lyon's 'Notes to Accompany a Series of Photographs Prepared to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' (Marion & Co., London, 1870), edited by James Fergusson, gives the following description of this view: 'This Photograph shows the Pyramidal Tower [gopuram] over the entrance to this temple. The large portico, which has been built outside the entrance, and the large thatched shed in front of the portico, completely hide the tower from view...Though there is a considerable admixture of Vishnave [Vaishnava] sculpture in this temple, the bulls on the upper storeys of its gateways, and other emblems, prove that it was originally, as now, dedicated to the worship of Shiva'.

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