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Our Heritage Journal ISSN 0474-9030 is a multidisciplinary journal for research publication. Urgent Notice to authors: Note: Removed from UGC-CARE List on 27th Feb 2020. Title of the document

Bhairavakona Cave Near Ongole, Andhra Pradesh: Pallava Style EIght Rock cut Cave Temple Group

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Bhairavakona (பைரவகோணா) , a group of eight rock cut temples are located close to the borders of Nellore (நெல்லூர்) and Prakasam (பிரகாசம்) districts. The caves are situated amidst dense Nallamala forest (நல்லமலா காடு) nearer to Ambavaram (அம்பாவரம்) - Kothapalli (கொத்தபள்ளி) villages. From Onipenta (ஒனிபெண்டா)  village on the Mydukur - Porumamilla road (bus route), the cave is 12 km away. Other nearest towns include Kadapa (கடப்பா) (60km), Yerraguntla (எர்ரகுண்டலா)  (50km), Mydukur (மைடுகூர்) (30 km) are nearest big towns. The geographical Coordinates of Bhairavakonda are 15.° 5'15" North and 79°12' 14" East and it has an elevation of 230 meters (757 feet).

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 Trimukha Durga devi / Shiva Lingam 
There are eight rock cut cave temples having resemblance with Mamallapuram (மாமல்லபுரம்) rock cut cave temples. There are eight cave temples excavated on the side of a granite cliff comprising carved architectural elements such as decorative pillars and finely sculpted panels. The Pallava (பல்லவர்) architects started carving rock cut caves and the rock cut architecture of Mamallapuram commenced from late 7th century A.D. Bhairavakonda cave temples have resemblance with Mamamallapuram cave temples  with certain Rashtrakuta-Chalukyan features.

Lord Shiva is the presiding deity here in the form of Kala Bhairava and hence the name Bhairavakona. Roughly the caves can be categorized into two divisions based on their rock cut architecture. The first group caves commencing from north have only shrine cells and completely bereft of any mandapam in front. The cave shrine appear with simple entrances guarded by sthanaka (standing) dvarapalas on either side. Each sanctum cell is provided with a Shiva Lingam. The Shiva Linga peeta sculpted from mother rock and the bull vehicle (Nandi) statue sculpted from the rock and set in front of each sanctum cell.  The back wall of the sanctum in the central cave carved with bas relief image of Trimurti and this image reminds us the Mahesa image at Elephanta cave. The unique cave temples wherein Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Bhairava are worshiped together at one place. The central cave temple also has the idol of goddess Trimukha Durga Devi. A cave temple is also dedicated to goddess Annapurna and the shrine accessible through ladder platform.  The northern most end of the rock bears two splendid images sculpted in conspicuous bas relief – a eight handed Hari Hra and ten-handed slim figure of dancing Siva facing the water falls,. The Trimurti rock cut caves (grihas) reminds us the Pallava caves at Mandagapattu and Mamallapuram To sum up the rock cut cave architecture can easily be assignable from 8th to 9th century AD.

One can easily recollect the rock cut architecture of Mahendravarma Pallava (மகேந்திரவர்ம பல்லவன்). The ornate pillars with Mahendra squatting lions at the base and also the bulbous capital surmounted by a  large abacus, a typical Pallava signature can also be found here. The pottika (corbel) above the pillar is curved but without roll and median patta.  The typical kapota or cornice is roughly sculpted with kudus. Frieze of Buta ganas found below kapota. The two armed gorgeously decorated dwarapalas (door keepers) do not provide front view but only side view and turn straight towards the shrine. Both are standing is similar tribhanga posture over the support of their club.  No protruding curved sharp canine teeth or horns noticed and they are decorated with very fine carvings representing cloth and jewellery.

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Cell bereft of any front mandapam
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Cell with front mandapam Lion pillar - Other Pallava signatures
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Another attraction is that smooth moonlight used to fall on the idol of Goddess Durga Devi on the day of Karthika Pournami and Maha Shivarathri.   The peaceful lush green forest surround the awesome waterfall cascading from 200 mts and flows 1 mt below the central cave temple.  The waterfall offer a pleasant weather. The thundering medicated crystal clear water descends from the height of 200 mt and retreats their health under fullmoon light.  


The legend says that Lord Shiva and his consort goddess Parvati descended from their mount Kailash and were lured by its lush green vegetation, the cascading waterfall and the cave temples. They installed a Shiva Lingam resembling the one at Amarnath. The scholars assign date back to 7th - 8th century A.D.


Karthika Fullmoon day,  found auspicious for Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, is celebrated in a large scale. Maha Shivaratri is another important festival attracts devotees in huge number.

Small guesthouse is available for stay


Ambavaram Kothapalle, Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh

How to Get There

By Road: Nellore to Udayagiri; Udayagiri to SR Puram; SR Puram to Kothapalle; Kothapalle to Bhairavakonda

Nearest raiway station Yerraguntla railwaystation (50 km.) Kadapa railway station (60 km).

Nearest Airport: Tirupathi

  1. Bhairava Konda Temple (http://careerinformation4u.blogspot.in/2013/06/bhairava-kona-temple.html)
  2. Bhairava Konda cave temples, Ambavaram, Kottapalli, Ongole Andhra Pradesh November 5, 2014 (http://www.templedarshan.in/bhairavakona-cave-temples-ambavaram-kottapalli-ongole-andhra-pradesh/)
  3. Many people throng Bhairavakona. The Hindu November 13, 2008

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