Keezhavazhavu (also known as Kilavalavu and Keelavalavu and Kizhavalavu) is a village in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is located 43 kilometres (27 mi) from Madurai. It is known for two hillocks called Panchapandavar Malai or Panchapandavar Padukkai which contains ancient Jain sculptures and stone beds, and another is Sakkarai peer oliulla Mountain. It has a cave.

Kizhavalavu Jain Sculptures


Panchapandavar beds

Keelavalavu is located in the Melur taluk of Madurai district. It is located 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from Melur. In the 2011 census of India, it had a population of 5686, of which 2847 were males and 2839 females.[1] The village is rich in granite and it is one of the hubs for illegal quarrying in the district.[2][3]

Panchapandavar Malai


Panchapandavar Malai (Hill of Five Pandavas) is located in the village on the MelurTiruppattur road.[4] The hillock contains caves that were converted as adobe by the Jain monks who lived here when their religion flourished in the ancient Tamil country.[5] The hillock is one of the national monuments declared by the Archaeological Survey of India.[4][6]

The cave contains nine Jain sculptures belonging to 9th and 10th century AD, including sculptures of Mahavira, the last thirthankara and Bahubali.[5][7] It also contains Tamil-Brahmi and Vatteluttu inscriptions.[8] The Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions in the cave were discovered by Venkoba Rao in 1903.[9] The inscriptions were engraved from right to left and upside-down. This kind of inscription is only found here in the Kundrakudi hill.[5][10] There are stone beds in the caves which were used by Jain monks for rest. An inscription in the cave mentions that these stone beds were sculptured by a person from Thondi.[5]



The granite quarrying in the hillock, carried out by the government and private companies, vandalised some of the sculptures and inscriptions.[8][11] In response to a public interest litigation filed by the residents of the village in 2008,[12] in 2011 the Madurai bench of Madras High Court banned the granite-quarrying activities of the Tamil Nadu Minerals Limited (TAMIN) and private companies inside an area of 51 acres (21 ha) around the hillock,[13][14] citing the presence of a Jain monument of archaeological importance.[15][16]


  1. ^ "Population distribution of village Keelavalavu". Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Illegal quarrying: Rs 8k-crore hoarded granite found". The New Indian Express. 28 August 2012. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Case against six granite quarries as raids continue". Times of India. 7 August 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Monuments in peril". Frontline. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Namma Madurai: History hidden inside a cave". The Hindu. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Alphabetical List of Monuments - Tamil Nadu". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 9 March 2014. S. No. 84 — Panchapandava Bed, Jain Statues, And Brahmi And Vatteluttu (Malai Inscription On The Panchapandar)
  7. ^ Kavitha, S. S. (31 October 2012). "Namma Madurai: History hidden inside a cave". The Hindu.
  8. ^ a b "Vandalised hills and vanished history". The Hindu. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  9. ^ Plenary sessions. Hoe & Co. 1968.
  10. ^ Iravatham Mahadevan (2003). Early Tamil epigraphy from the earliest times to the sixth century A.D. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01227-1.
  11. ^ "Storehouse of treasure". The Hindu. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2014. Mahadevan is upset that quarrying of granite at Kizhavalavu has destroyed the first letter in the word Tondi.'
  12. ^ "Plea to stop quarrying near hill in TN". One India. 21 March 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  13. ^ "No quarrying at Panchapandavar". The New Indian Express. 24 February 2011. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  14. ^ "TAMIN quarrying within protected area". The Hindu. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  15. ^ "Protect Keezhavalavu hillock: High Court". The Hindu. 24 February 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  16. ^ "Freeze mining near Jain monument: Bench". The Hindu. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2014.