Tamil Nadu

About 16km northwest of Pudukkottai, this small Jain cave temple conceals magnificent vegetable-oil frescoes, which you’ll probably get to appreciate all by yourself. Note the Edenic garden paradise painted on the main ceiling, which includes fish, mythical sea monsters and beautiful water maidens. Or try making your ‘Om’ echo across an acoustic masterpiece of a meditation chamber, where statues of Jain saints sit cross-legged.

In the same complex, after climbing the rock face via 287 steep steps, you'll reach a tiny cliff-side cave with 17 rock-carved beds once slept in by Jain monks, allegedly as far back as the 1st century BC; access requires a separate ticket (Indian/foreigner ₹25/300).

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