Rock-cut Jain sculptures and inscriptions, Kallugumalai, Tinnevelly District
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Jain sculptures and inscriptions at Kalugumalai, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu, taken by a photographer of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1899-1900. This large rock-cut panel chiselled on a boulder dates back to the eighth century AD and is considered a masterpiece of early Pandya style. It represents seated and standing nude figures of the Jain saints known as Tirthankaras (or Ford-makers across the ocean of suffering). The large panel on the right in the photograph shows Nagaraja or the serpent king protecting the saint Parasvanatha with his hoods, with Dharanendra and Padmavati flanking as attendants. The Pandyas were an early South Indian dynasty who were known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The dynasty extended for several centuries, from c.4th century BC to the 14th century AD, with their main centre at Madurai.