Three miles north from the last, among the sand on the sea beach, some rocks crop up, in two of which cells have been cut.
One is a cave-temple called the Atichandéswara Maṇḍapa, but it is entirely filled up with sand which drifts into it from the shore. It contains some inscriptions; on the end walls are two copies in different alphabetical characters of one agreeing generally with that in the Ganeśa temple, but differing in the fifth Śloka, which reads:—“Atiraṇachaṇḍra, lord of kings, built this place called Atiranachandeswara.”
On the frieze above the entrance, also in each of the two alphabetical characters, is the word—"Atiranachanda-Pallava."
This Atiranachanda-Pallarva was in all probability one of the Pallava kings of Kâṅchî (Konjiveram); but until some advance has been made in translating the inscriptions with which the Madras Presidency abounds, we must remain in ignorance of his date. Vinayâditya Satyâśraya in 694 A.D. claims to have subjugated them.1 Dr. Burnell (Pal., 2nd ed. p. 37 and Plate XII.) ascribes the elder character to A.D. 700, i.e ., the Ratha character, but the style of the characters in his grants differs from either of Atiranachanda's inscriptions, and it was only in the eighth or ninth century, according to Ellis,2 that the country was conquered by the Chôlas to whom the Pallavas were afterwards tributary.
The cell contains a lingam.
Not far from this is an inscription on a rock, dated “in the 37th year of Tribhuvana-Viradeva,” otherwise called Vira Chôla Deva (p. 140), which is believed to coincide with A.D. 1116, or thereabouts.
The other cave is more accessible than that mentioned above. It is only a small cell cut out of a rock, with nine simha or Yâlî heads round the front of it (woodcut No. 40), and small ṡimhas rampant in front of each jamb.
It is a curious development of the idea of the Tiger cave at Katak (woodcut No. 12). There can be no doubt that the same fantasy governed both, but the steps that connect the two have been lost during the seven or eight centuries that elapsed between their excavation.
To the left of it are two miniature cells over elephants' heads.