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Avadea Covill [Avudayar Koil]. Interior of porch at entrance

Avadea Covill [Avudayar Koil]. Interior of porch at entrance

Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 212/4(2)

Item number: 21242

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. In his 'Notes to Accompany a Series of Photographs Prepared to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' (Marion & Co., London, 1870), edited by James Fergusson, Lyon explained that 'This Photograph gives a view of the Interior of the large Porch in front of the entrance to this temple. It is quite impossible to give any idea of the beauty of the work here to be found. Each pillar is of itself worthy of the closest investigation, and hours might be spent in this one outer porch, and still not half its wonderful carving be discovered...The whole of the outer pillars in front of the portico have been carved into different incarnations of the gods...'

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