Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Saturday, June 25, 2022

Keelavalavu Caves






Keelavalavu is a village in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is known for a hillock called Panchapandavar Malai or Panchapandavar Padukkai which contains caves that were converted as abode by the Jain monks who lived here when their religion flourished in the ancient Tamil country. The hillock is one of the national monuments declared by the Archaeological Survey of India.



The cave contains nine Jain sculptures, including sculptures of Mahavira, the last thirthankara and Bahubali.








It also contains Tamil-Brahmi and Vatteluttu inscriptions. The Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions in the cave were discovered by Venkoba Rao in 1903. The inscriptions were engraved from right to left and upside-down. This kind of inscription is only found here and in the Kundrakudi hill. 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.