Mukkantisvara temple, Kalavagunta

The Mukkantisvara temple, an elegant edifice is located in Kalavagunta, a small village 8 k.m. away from Chittoor. The ten inscriptions found in this temple belong to Vijayanagara period. The village is referred to in these inscriptions as Kalavay, Kalavaykuttai and the god as Mukkanar and Mukkantesvara-mudaiya-nayar.

The temple is surrounded by a prakara pierced with a gopura on the south . The main shrine of Mukkantisvara oriented to the east consists on plan a square garbhagriha, an antarala in two compartments and a mukhamandapa. The adhisthana is of manchabandha type and comprises the mouldings of upana, kantha and pattika. The walls of the garbhagriha and antarala are decorated with chamfered pilasters and niches housing deity figures.The pilasters have scroll designs on their shafts with Chola corbels. The niche on the south wall of the garbhagriha contains Dakshinamurti, on the west standing Vishnu and on the north standing Durga. 14 15

All the niches are surmounted by semi-circular toranas topped by a simhamukha and with a human head in the centre. The cornice above the wall is decorated with gables containing scroll designs inside. Over this is a row of makaras on all the four sides. The vimana  which rises above the garbhagriha contains phalaka, griva and sikhara. The phalaka contains the figure of nandi in each of the four corners. The griva above this phalaka is round and contains a deity figure in each cardinal direction. The sikhara is also round and belongs to the vesara order. There is a kalasa above the sikhara. Inside the garbhagriha there is a linga on a high vedi.

The mukhamandapa is a square structure with an enterance in the south. In the centre of this mandapa, there are four pillars having Chola capitals. There is a narrow pial built against the north wall of the mandapa. The metallic images of Siva, Parvati and Ganapati are kept on this pial. In the centre of the mandapa is a nandi facing the main shrine.To the east of this mandapa are found nandimandapa, dhvajastamba and balipitha. The nandimandapa contains four pillars with a nandi in the centre.

The snapanamandapa is located to the south of the mukhamandapa and contains eight pillars. The square blocks of the pillars contain sculptures like Sita and Hanuman, Ganapati, Virabhadra, Vali-sugriva wrestling etc. There are two dvarapalakas on either side of the entrance of the mukha-mandapa. There is an annexe to the snapana-mandapa in the west containing a small Shanmukha shrine. The stone images of Shanmukha, Valli and Devasena are housed in this shrine.

The maha-mandapa is located to the south of the snapanamandapa.This mandapa conatins twenty pillars with Vijayanagara capitals. To the west of this mahamandapa is situated kalyanamandapa with two rows of three pillars each having Vijayanagara capitals. The mandapa faces east and  is reached by flight of steps which have yali balustrades on either side. There is a pillared verandah in the south-west of the courtyard. In the south-east corner of the courtyard are situated the temple kitchen and yagasala with a pillared verandah in the front.

The Devi shrine is located to the north-west corner of the main shrine. This east oriented shrine on plan consists of garbhagriha, antarala  surrounded by a pradakshina and mukhamandapa. The walls of the garbhagriha  andantarala are decorated with pilasters and niches. The vimana  is of ekatala type. There is a phalaka above with four crouching lions facing the four cardinal directions. The griva and sikhara are four sided. The front wall of the shrine contains two pilasters with Vijayanagara capitals. The garbhagriha houses the stone image of standing Parvati. The mukhamandapa of the Devi shrine contains two rows of four pillars each with Vijayanagara capitals. The Chandesvara shrine is located to the north of the main shrine. There is a loose image of Chandesvara lying on the western side of this shrine.

The base of the gopura on the south is completely buried in the ground and the wall portion is decorated with Vijayanagara pilasters. In between the pilasters, on either side of the entrance, there are niches. The niche on the right side contains a seated Ganapati while on left side the niche is empty. The cornice above the walls is decorated with gables. Above the cornice is a row of makaras. The super-structure contains three talas. The griva and sikhara are long and there is a row of five kalasas above.

The Mukkantesvara temple was built when Chola hegemony was established here and may be assigned to the middle of 10th Century A.D. The snapanamandapa, mahamandapa, kalyana mandapa, devi shrine and the prakara  withgopura are Vijayanagara constructions and were added in the 16th Century A.D.