-The temple complex is complete in all respects as it has garbagriha
(sanctum sanctorum), antarala (inner enclosure), mandapa, a high compound wall, and an entrance gate, the gopuram.
The mandapa, which was initially detached, was made part of the main shrine by interposing an ardhamantapa
(smaller hall). The pillars of the mandapa have the repetitive features of mythical lion mounts.
The structure has a simple layout with a tower or vimana at the center of the complex. The vimana of the temple, above the main shrine (sanctum sanctorum), is square in plan and rises up in a pyramidal shape. The tower has many levels rising proportionately. At the top of this tower, there is a small roof in the shape of a dome. The pillar elements with mythical animal shapes (lions on the base) are extra features in Pallava style.
At the entrance, the gopuram
walls are plastered. Its entrance wall has eight small shrines and a gopura, precursor to the main gopura. At some later stage, the mandapa and the sanctuary were joined by an intermediate hall called the ardhamantapa
, which is reported to have marred the beauty of the temple to some extent. The temple is enclosed within walls in a rectangular layout.
A sculpture in one of the niches of the 58 subshrines.
The main shrine has a 16 sided Shivalinga in black granite stone deified in the sanctum sanctorum. Within the walls of the main shrine there is padabhanda adhisthana (main pedestal) with very elegantly carved images of gods with a sculpted Nandi, a little distance away giving guard to the deity. On each face of the outer walls of the main shrine there are many carvings of deities.
In the south facing wall the sculpture depicts Shiva as Umamaheshavara (Shiva with his consort Parvati) with Lingodbhava (emergence of Shiva as fiery pillar – linga) surrounded by Brahma and Vishnuand flying amaras on the lower level.
The west facing hall has sculptures of Shiva in the form of Sandhya Tandavamurti and Urdhava Tandvamurti and the ensemble is completed with images of ganas in dancing poses and also with images of Brahma, Vishnu, Nandi and Parvati.
The carving of Shiva on the north facing wall is a composition of Tripurantaka flanked by three ganas, goddess Durga with three ganas, and goddesses Bhairavi, Kaushiki and Jyestha.
The exterior faces of the vimana (tower) have images of aspects of Shiva – Bhikshatana, Somaskanda and in Samhara-Tandava (destructive dancing) pose.
In the inner walls of the prakara (circumambulatory passage) there is galaxy of images of Durga, Kartikeya, Bhavati, Tripurantaka, Garudarudha-Vishnu, Asura Samhara (slaying of demons), Narasimha(Vishnu’s avatar), Trivikrama (another Vishnu’s avatar), Shiva Tandava (Shiva in a dancing pose), Shiva severing the fifth head of Brahma, desecration of Yagna of Daksha, Brahma and his wife, Gangadhara, Urdhava tandava, Vishnu flanked by Bhudevi and Sridevi, Lingodbhava, Bhikshatana, Ravana, and Vali offering prayers to Atmalinga Chandikeshvara. The image of Ardhanariswara sitting on a bull is considered the most noteworthy among all images.
Vimana’s south facing wall has very elegant image of Shiva in a sitting posture of peace and quietude known as Dakshinamurthy, and its west wall has Shiva in the form of Lingodbhava.
The tower has multiple shrines embodied on all its external faces which have the appearance of miniature shrines. These shrines have three features, the sala (rectangular), kuta (square) and panjara(apsidal) styles. Eight small shrines also decorate the entrance wall. The 58 small shrines are built into the niches of the compound wall that encloses the main shrine; they depict Somaskanada reliefs of Shiva and his consort Parvathi in many dance forms