Vallimalai Jain caves are located in Vallimalai village in Katpadi taluk of Vellore district, Tamil Nadu.

Vallimalai Jain Beds
Vallimalai Jain caves
Vallimalai Jain caves
FestivalMahavir Janma Kalyanak
LocationVallimalai, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
Geographic coordinates13°04′24.6″N 79°15′50.9″E / 13.073500°N 79.264139°E / 13.073500; 79.264139
StyleDravidian architecture
CreatorRachamalla II
Date established2nd century BCE
Completed870 CE
MaterialsRock cut


Inscriptions below the Jain sculptures inside the cave

Vallimalai Jain caves contains natural caverns that were inhabited by Digambar monks in early historic period.[clarification needed] [1][2] The monks from Bihar used to come here during the late-maurya period. The smooth and polished beds were carved during the rule of Satavahana dynasty.[3] A total of five inscription are found[4] with one of the inscriptions dating back to 8th century.[5] The Jain carvings were created during the reign of Ganga King Rachamalla II in c. 870 CE after conquest of this region from Chola kings.[6][6][7][8] An inscription, below the sculptures, states the name of Devasena of Bana Kingdom along with his Jain monks Bhavanandin and Aryanandin.[9]

Vallaimalai was an important Jain center during 8th-9th century.[7]


Jain sculpture

Vallimalai is an important Jain site with several carvings of sculptures of tirthankara. The caverns is 40 by 20 feet (12.2 m × 6.1 m) with height varying between 7–10 feet (2.1–3.0 m). There is also a temple in the region which was converted to a Hindu temple.[10] The caves consist of three chambers, two of these chambers contain images of Jain tirthankar. Above this group, there are the remains of a wall, believed to have been a small fort occupied by Jains.[11] A torana is found above Jain images similar to carvings of Badami cave temples.[12]

The Jain sculpture are engraved on two spots, one on the northern side of Murugan temple and second on the southern side, with one sculpture with superhuman dimensions.[11] There is an image of Ambika in sukhasana position wearing a necklace, armbands, and crown.[13] Ambika is depicted sitting on a lion with carvings of her two sons below her pedestal.[14] There is also image of Padmavati with 4 hands, holding goad and noose in upper right and left hands.[7]



These caves are protected by Archaeological Survey of India.[15] In 2014, "Ahima Walks" was organized in the region to promote the place.[8]

See also





  1. ^ Ramaswamy 2017, p. 384.
  2. ^ The Hindu 2018.
  3. ^ Ramaswamy 2017, p. 52.
  4. ^ Umamaheshwari 2018, p. 38.
  5. ^ Subramanian 2002, p. 36.
  6. ^ a b Aravamuthan 1992, p. 30.
  7. ^ a b c Chennai museum, p. 59.
  8. ^ a b Murthi 2014.
  9. ^ Aravamuthan 1992, pp. 30–31.
  10. ^ Chennai museum, p. 138.
  11. ^ a b Sewell 1882, p. 156.
  12. ^ Owen 2012, p. 60.
  13. ^ Subramanian 2012.
  14. ^ Chennai museum, p. 105.
  15. ^ ASI.




  • Aravamuthan, T. G. (1992) [1930]. Portrait Sculpture in South India. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120608009.
  • Ramaswamy, Vijaya (2017). Historical Dictionary of the Tamils. Historical Dictionaries of Peoples and Cultures (2 ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781538106860.
  • Sewell, Robert (1882). Lists of the Antiquarian Remains in the Presidency of Madras. Historical Dictionaries of Peoples and Cultures. Vol. 2. E. Keys, at the Government Press.
  • Subramanian, K. R. (2002) [1929]. Origin of Saivism and Its History in the Tamil Land. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120601444.
  • Umamaheshwari, R. (2018). Reading History with the Tamil Jainas: A Study on Identity, Memory and Marginalisation. Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures. Vol. 2. Springer. ISBN 9788132237563.
  • Owen, Lisa (2012). Carving Devotion in the Jain Caves at Ellora. Brill's Indological Library. Vol. 41. Brill Publishers. ISBN 9789004206298.