Posted on: 4 May 2014

Kalugumalai, near Tinnevelly - 1868

Print from an album of 41 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. Kalugumalai (Vulture's Hill) is a rounded granite hillock in the Thoothukodi district of Tamil Nadu. It is known for its Jain rock carvings and a 7th-8th century monolithic temple carved out of the granite in a similar fashion to the great Kailasa temple at Ellora. This view looks across a tank (with central shrine in foreground) towards a small temple on the further side and the Kalugumalai rock rising beyond. 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, 'On the same side is situated the modern temple, which, with the tank and a part of the rock, is here represented. The situation is exceedingly pretty, but the temple itself of no great interest, and the pavilion in the centre of the tank is too top-heavy to be a pleasing object architecturally.'

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