Tirumalai. Bahubali visited by his two sisters. Eleventh century.
A seated Mahavira flanked by two large lions grace this disused temple on top of the hill. Under the tree in the rear there are rock-cut footprints (padukas) commemorating the nirvana (death) of some renowned ascetics.
The temple-hill at Tirumalai (malai hill) is another ancient Jaina site in Tamilnadu which touches a string in the mind and heart of the not so frequent visitor to this remote place about half-way between Arni and Polur.
The work of the builders, excavators and sculptors commenced in the tenth century and continued, joined in the course of time by mural painters, for some hundreds of years.
The main temple, dedicated to Nemi- natha, is known as Kundavai Jina- layam, so named after the wife of a Chola king (Jinalayam denotes a Jaina shrine). A small, solid temple crowns the top of the hill (above).
The temples further down, partly ex- cavated and partly built in tiers within cavernous recessions of the rock, contain sculptures in high and base relief (opposite). Still further down, the rock-cut figure of a 4.8 metre high Neminatha. Illustration 105 (left).