Stone chains of Varadaraja Perumal temple, Kanchipuram,TN and Karnataka temples

/The Hindu temple architecture based on certain specific laid down principles and norms is unique and is known for grandeur, beauty and imagination far beyond comprehension. Built by various Hindu rulers, the historical temples are known to be richly ornate both inside and outside the on the outer walls, in the latter, the tower/ gopura has amazing intricate sculptures that are made at dizzy height. Made of hard rock, the inner parts of the temples  around the sanctuary such as mantapas or covered corridors (prakara or circumambulation path), particularly in South India are supported by a row of well-aligned tall pillars with complex, but pleasing   carvings of deities, strange, weird-looking  animals (Yalis, etc), 

Some south Indian temples like Nellaiappar kovil of Tirunelveli, TN or Vittala temple of Hampi, KA do have  musical stone pillars in the mantapa. These  bear testimony to the skilled sculptors  of by-gone era and their sky-high imaginative power. Among the numerous attractive artistic features of the Hindu temples, monolith stone chains stand apart. Only a few south Indian Hindu temples possess them in the corner of a hall. Such intricate sculptures need experienced skilled workers, patience and above all the knowledge of the rock from which stone chains are made with meticulous care.  

Such stone chains  are found  in temple mantapas  of Tamil nadu, Karnataka  and Andhra, especially in those that were built by the Vijayanagara rulers. 

These chains were sculpted from monolithic stone. Unlike metal chains, they can not be either heated, or reshaped to get the desired  finish. Nor can they be cut and rejoined as it is done in jewelry making.  Starting with a  mass of rugged rock and to finish it with a serious chains, barring breakages, no sculptor would undertake the risk unless he has tremendous skill and dexterity with his chisel. In this case vast experience counts a lot. 

Carving a Stone Chain involves several stages: 01. Selection of right rock that can be chiseled easily without breakage. 02. Quarrying  selective block. 03. Removal of sharp edges, uneven surfaces,etc. It may be done at the quarry or at the work site. 04. The rough stone is further made smooth and cut into proper size preferably rectangular. 05.  Mater craftsman draws the outline of the size as per specification. 06. With careful chiselling on the outline, the  sculptor carefully removes the unwanted rock around the outline. Over a period time after several days the chain begins to shape. 07. Further trimming of rough edges grits, etc. Final finishing is given with coarse sanding, followed by medium sanding and finally burnishing or persistent rubbing up and down.  As you may see it is a tedious and time consuming process.   

Stone chains of Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram , Tamil Nadu: 

Sri varadaraja perumal kovil   is a popular one known for its striking architecture. The temple covers an area of about 23 acres (93,000 m2). There are about 32 shrines, 19 Vimanas, numerous pillared halls (most with  lion faced  Yali sculpture) and sacred tanks some of which are located outside the temple.  This tallest gopuram (180 ft) has seven tiers.The varadarajaswamy temple, Kanchipuram of Tamil Nadus tands as a good example of monolithic stone chains. You will find this chain at all the four corners of this mantapa. The interesting aspect is  the rings can move freely within even though the entire chain is made of a single stone. The entrance of the mantapa is in typical Vijayanagara style with a crocodile head on both sides.

Varadaraja Perumal temple, Kanchi, TN

.Varadaraja Perumal temple.Kanchi

kanchi perumal temple

kanchi perumal

Above image - Carefully view the soldiers on war horses, they seem almost alive, ready to leap out. The chain hanging in front is carved out from a single stone and hangs from the cornice ends of the mandapa. A Vijayanagara architectural masterpiece from 13th-14th century CE. courtesy:

kanchi Premal temple

Kanchipuram Varadaraja

stone chain is in Kanchipuram Varadaraja temple 

This is a picture of a stone chain hewn out of a single piece of rock located  in the 100 pillared hall of  Varadaraja Perumal temple, Kanchipuram. It was built as addition during the Vijayanagara time (15th century). The granite pillars in the hall have intricate carvings of deities, etc. When a visitor steps into hall, he can not miss  and go past the mind-boggling  stone craft -  monolithic chains hanging from the corners of the mandapa. They are  an integral part of the roof and have many links (as many as 12) and an ornate pendant all carved out of a single granite piece;  an  architectural masterpiece. . It is quite awe-inspiring how the entire  monolithic seamless chains and the pendant on the roof  are made from a single rock piece  at the corner of the hall - mantapa; the rock appears to be granite or its group. The puzzle is there are no joints. How is  the interlinking of chains made of stone is done? It is indeed a great feat considering the fact the granite stone is not malleable as metals are.

Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram


Monolithic Stone Chain at the Vaidyeshvara Temple Talakadu , Karnataka:

Vaidyeshvara  temple, in a small town called Talakadu. The temple itself was constructed somewhere around 1000 AD to improvements done till 14th century by Chola dynasty. 

   Vaidyeshvara  temple,Temple, Talakadu

Above image: Three Headed Snake and Monolithic Stone Chain at the Vaidyeshvara Temple, Talakadu, Karnataka.................
Above image -Vaidyeshvara Temple Five headed snake and stone chain at Vaidyanatheshwara temple, Talakadu, KA:.............

Delicately hanging stone chain talakadu

Above image -: Vaidyeshvara Temple  temple, Talakadu. The chain  hangs from a hook that represents five serpent head. Interconnected Chain rings made out from single piece of rock  without any joint.......


Sringeri  Temple:, KA:
Hoysala Architecture - the stone rings inside The Sringeri Temple. Sringeri Sharada Peetham is one of the four Advaita Vedanta monastery matha established by Adi Shankara around 800 AD in Sringeri on the banks of  Tunga River in Chikmagalur  district Karnataka, The Vidyashankara temple has stone rings inside and outside the temple and the temple is built in Hoysala architecture.

Sringeri Sri Vidyashankara. temple,

Sringeri Sri Vidyashankara. temple,
Above image: note the stone chains around the outer wall of Sringeri temple.....
 Gaurishvara_Temple,_Yelandur, Karnataka: 

stone chain.Gaurishvara_Temple,

Gaurishvara_Temple,_Yelandur#en.wikipedia.orgsringeri  temple , KA


Above image: The Gaurishvara temple (also spelt Gaurishwara or Gaurisvara)  at Yelandur, Chamarajanagar district, Karnataka state. The temple was constructed in 1500 AD by Singedepa Devabhupala, a local feudatory chief of the Vijayanagara Empire. Main entrance without gopura called mahadwara with chains of stone rings in the front. Bale (bangled) mandaba dates  back to Chola period. When tapped one can hear musical sound.