Buddhist and jaina Vestiges
Kerala has no extant Buddhist monastery. But images of Buddha ascribable
from the seventh to the ninth centuries have come to light from the places
like Karumadi Mavelikkara, Bharanikavu and Pallikkal in the districts
of Alleppey and Quilon in South Kerala. The discovery of an image of Buddha
at Marudurkulangara, near Thiruvananthapuram, bearing the stamp of the
Anuradhapuram tradition from Sri Lanka the image has been dated stylistically
the seventh or eighth century. Of the Buddhist monasteries in Kerala,
the most renowned was one known as Srimulavaasam identified generally
with Tirumulpadam of the Paliyam plates of the Ay King Vikramaditya Varaguna
recording the grant of land to the Bhattaraka of Tirumulpadam. A Vihara
of the same name (Mulasava) is mentioned in the Mushika-Vamsa a Sanskrit
epic of about the eleventh century, composed by Atula, the court-poet
of the Mushika King Vikramarama. The monastery was about to be engulfed
by encroaching sea. The image of Bodhisattva Lokanatha of this monastery
attained renown throughout India and its representation is preserved in
the Cambridge University Manuscript dated to AD 1015. It depicts the figure
of a four-armed standing Lokanatha white in colour, with the inscription
Daskhinpatha Mulavasa-Lokananta. The Bodhisattva is shown accompanied
by two attendants. Tara with a blue lotus and Bhrukuti with a lotus and
a water pot.
The Jaina monuments, mostly ascribable to the period
from the ninth to the eleventh centuries, are available over different
parts of Kerala. The most impressive one, amongst the rock-shelters, is
the Tiruchcharanattumalai, near Chitral district Kanyakumari. One the
side of natural cavern formed by an over hanging rock are sculptured a
number of Tirthankara figures apart from some inscribed votive images
carved the visitors hailing from distant places. Of these relief's, the
most important are Parsvanatha, Mahavira, Padmavati and Ambika, the last
with the lion mount. An important inscription here, is the one belonging
to the Ay king Vikramaditya Varaguna, and it records the gift of some
golden ornaments to the Bhatariyar of the Tirichcharaanattumalai. After
the mid-third century it was converted into a Bhagavati shrine.
There is a Jaina rock-shelter at Kallil, near Perumpavur,
at Ernakulam district which was later transformed into a Bhagavati shrine.
On the facade of this rock shelter is carved an unfinished seated image
of Mahavira, represented also on the back wall of the cavern.
Of the structural temples, the ruined site of Sakkiyar
Bhagvati Shrine at Godapuram, near Alattur in Palaghat district deserves
special mention as it is associated with two Jaina figures, Mahavira and
Parsvanatha, now in the Trishur museum and an inscription of the tenth
century. At present, the site is represented by a few buried structures
and some scattered architectural pieces. Palaghat proper has also a Jaina
temple dedicated to the eighth Trithankara Chandraprabha. In front of
the present temple stands the basements of an earlier shrine, a headless
Jina figure, of the ninth / tenth century sealed in the vajra-Payranka
pose was recovered from the site. Sultans Battery also known as Ganapati-Vattam,
has the ruins of a Jaina Basti, which may be dated to the fourteenth century.
It is an example of cloistered temple built entirely a granite.