Talagirisvara Temple, Panamalai, Villupuram
Talagirisvara Temple is located in Panamalai which lies 23 kilometers from Gingee, Villupuram in Tamil Nadu, India. The site is known as a location to various ancient structural temples built during the Pallava dynasty. One of them is the Talagirisvara Temple.
Panamalai is again in the Senji-Villupuram belt. Here is a stone temple – stated to be the first - built by Rajasimha. This temple is atop a hill surrounded by scenic paddy fields. The shrine known as Talagirisvara is for Lord Shiva. It has Pallava trade mark ‘Somaskanda panel’. It has several ornamentally written Sanskrit inscriptions. It still retains a small piece of original mural on one of the smaller shrine on the left. Even after 1300 years, the paintings – however vandalized – are beautiful.
Narasimhavarman II, also known as Rajasimhan is credited with constructing structural temples of Pallava dynasty namely the Shore Temple at Mamallapuram, Kailasanatha and Talagirisvara temple at Panamalai. The temple is built on a small hillock overlooking the Panamalai Lake. This 7th Century structure has a Vimana which resembles that of Kailasanatha temple of Kanchipuram. The garbhagriha houses a Dharalingam and as in Pallava temples of that time, there is a Somaskanda panel on rear wall of the sanctum.
There is an Ardhamandapam (half Mandapam). On the walls of the Ardhamandapam one can see panels of deities such as Brahma with Saraswati and Vishnu with Lakshmi on either side. The shrine faces east and the garbhagriha is surrounded on all the three sides by sub-shrines (Anga Kovil or Limb Shrines – which are attached to the main shrine).
A few more sub-shrines and a Mahamandapam (a big Mandapam) have been added to the structure at much later period. The Vimana is three tiered and the top tier has been reconstructed. The pillars with squatting lions, a typical Pallava signature can also be found.
The sub-shrine to the north has a small section of mural painting which has survived over the years, bearing testimony to the Pallavas' mastery of the art.
From Gingee: 21 km on SH4 towards Villupuram. At 21 km turn right. After 6.5 km the end of the road would be reached. Turn left. In 2.5 km you would spot the temple to your right. After 2 km, the half km has to be taken on a dirt track that deviates to the left, to reach the base of the hillock, which has the steps to be climbed. The Panamalai Lake would be to your right, from about 1 km.