Art and Architecture in Second Pandiya

The Pandyas contributed more for the development of architecture. Gopuras, Prakaras, Vimanas, Garbagrahas are the special features of the Pandya temple architecture. Temples at Madurai, Chidambaram, Kumbakonam, Thiruvannamalai, Srirangam are good examples for the development of Pandya architecture. The images of horses and other animals are carved on pillars. According to historian A.L .Basham, The zenith of Pandya architecture are Meenakshi temple at Madurai and Aranganathar temple at Srirangam.

Rock cut Temple

The Pandya period is marked as renaissance period in the field of rock cut temple. The rock cut temples are known for their merit. More than 50 rock cut temples were excavated from the Pandya kingdom. More rock cut temples are found in Thirupparankundram, Anaimalai, Karaikudi, Kalugumalai, Malaiyadikurichi and Trichy. These temples were constructed for Lord Siva and Vishnu. Cave temples are also found in temples at Kalugumalai and Trichy. Rock cut caves were also there.

Structural temples

Structural temples were built on stones. They were simple in style. Each temple consists of Garbagraha, arthamandapa and mahamandapa. Such structural stone temples are found in Kovilpatty, Thiruppathur and Madurai. The Pandya kings constructed structural temples at Ambasamuthram, Thiruppathur. Mannarkudi, Madurai, Alagarkoil. Srivilliputhur and in Chinnmanur, Internal structures of these temples were constructed in a planned manner.

The second Pandya kings also promoted structural temples. The Vadapadrasayi temple at Srivilliputhur, Siva temple at Ambasamudhram, Vijayanarayana temple at Nanguneri. Lakshmi narayana temple at Athur are some of the famous structural temples. Pandya rulers built big gopurams at the entrance of the temples. Pandyas built temples mandapas, gopurams at Chidambaram and Srirangam. Kulasekara Pandya built arthamandapa. manimandapa and sannathi in every temple, Sundara Pandya and Sadaiyavarman built gopurams during their period. Pandya rulers renovated Alagarkoil and Jambukeswara temples.


Pandyn sculptures are beautiful and ornamental. Some sculptures are engraved on single stone. They have got more messages and values. Pandya period witnessed renaissance in the art of sculpture. Sculptures of Somaskandar, Durgai, Ganapathy, Narasimha, Nataraja are very good specimens. Sculptures at Kalugumalai, Thirupparankundram, Thiurmalaipuram and Narthamalai are very famous. Vishnu sculpture at Kunnakudi and Nataraja sculpture at Thiurkolakkudi are on par excellence with the sculptures of pallava, chola period.
Paintings: The beauty of the Pandya mural painting can be seen in the Chittannavasal cave temples constructed during the time of Srimaran and Srivallaba Pandyan. The ceilings and pillars at Chittannavasal bear the paintings of dancing girls, the kings, the queens, plants and animals. The picture of lotus, bathing elephants and playing fishes were good at Chittannavasal. Oil painting was also there. They are outstanding examples of pandiya paintings.
Pandya rulers contributed more for the development of literature, art and architecture. Their contributions created a unique and permanent cultural impact upon the tamil society.