The Kulandisvara temple is located in Kattimanchi, a suburb of Chittoor town on the Chittoor-Tirupati road. The temple has no epigraphs. The temple resembles in all respects the Mukkantisvara temple at Kalavagunta which is characteristic of the early Chola period.

The temple is inside a walled enclosure with an entrance in the south surmounted by a gopura. The main shrine oriented to the east consists on plan garbhagriha, antarala and mukhamandapa. The adhisthana is of mancha-bandha type and comprises the moulding of upana, kantha and pattika. The outer walls of the garbhagriha and antarala are decorated with pilasters and niches. The pilasters have plain shafts and Chola capitals. The niche in the south wall of the garbhagriha is surmounted by an arch like torana with a simhalalata at the top and the figures of a cow and a linga inside it. The toranas on the west and the north walls of the garbhagriha contain inside the figures of Vishnu and squatting lion respectively. The torana over the niche on the south wall of the antarala contains two lady figures inside. The east wall of the mukhamandapa contains a small niche with a perforated screen inside it.

The vimana which rises above the garbhagriha contains a single hara with the kuta, panjara, sala, panjara and kuta series. The cornice above the hara contains simhalalata gables. Above the kapota is a step containing nandi’s in four corners. The griva and sikhara are circular in shape. The circular sikhara has simhalalata gables in the four cardinal directions. The upper portion of the sikhara carries adahpadma with a kalasa in the centre. The garbhagriha is square and houses a linga on a somasutra.

The mukhamandapa has an entrance in the south with four pillars in the centre having Vijayanagara capitals. The squatting lions, creepers, lotuses etc., are carved on the square parts of the pillars. There is a narrow vedi abutting the north wall of the mukhamandapa on which are kept the metallic images of Siva and Parvati. To the east of the mukhamandapa are situated nandi mandapa, dhvajastambha and balipitha. The nandi mandapa has four Chola pillars.

To the south of the mukhamandapa is a six pillared snapanamandapa having Ganapati shrine at its western end. In the north there is a dvarapalaka on either side of the entrance leading to the mukhamandapa.  Two relief sculptures of Ganapati and Subrahmanya with his consorts are found carved on the western half and eastern half of the sourthern wall of the mandapa.The snapanamandapa contains in its north-west corner the stone image of Dakshinamurti and a slab containing portrait figures of a male and a female. There  is a small connecting room between the snapanamandapa and the mukhamandapa.

To the south of the snapanamandapa is a twenty four pillared mahamandapa of the Vijayanagara times. The kalyanamandapa is situated in the south-west corner of the courtyard and contains nine pillars. The three pillars in the inner row have Chola corbels, while the other six pillars have Vijayanagara capitals. The innerside of the western prakara  wall has loose stone images of Ganapati, Shanmukha and Bhairava. In the north-east corner of the courtyard there is a vedi with the navagrahas.

7 8

The Parvati shrine is situated in the south-west corner of the main shrine. It faces the east and consists of garbhagriha, antarala and a twelve pillared mukhamandpa. All the pillars have Vijayanagara capitals. The garbhagriha enshrines the four armed standing image of Parvati. The Chandesvara shrine is located to the north of the main shrine.

The base and walls of the gopura in the south are built of stone and the superstructure is of brick and mortar. The wall is decorated with pilasters having Chola capitals. On either side of the entrance, in between the pilasters, there are relief sculptures of Ganapati and Kumara on the left and right respectively. The cornice above the walls contains gabels. Above the kapota, the superstructure contains three storeys with kuta, panjara and sala series. The griva is rectangular over and is crowned by a salasikhara with three kalasas. At the centre of every tala there is a doorway flanked by dvarapalakas made of stucco.

The Kulandesvara temple at Katamanchi resembles the temple at Kalavagunta and it may be ascribed to the early Chola period. For its style, the gopura can be ascribed to 12th century A.D. The other structures can be ascribed to 16th century A.D. on the basis of the architectural features.

News Reporter