4 years ago

On the Coromandel  coast of the Bay of Bengal, in the south of the Chennai, lies a historic city name Mahabalipuram. Formerly it was known as Mamallapuram. The name Mahabalipuramgot its existence because the town was ruled by an arrogant king ‘Mahabali’ who was killed by lord Vishnu in a battle. Mahabali also means ‘Great wrestler’. The town became prominent  during the Pallav dynasty. UNESCO designated the town as world heritage site in 1984 because of presence of ancient monuments and hindu temples. The town was known as “Seven Pagodas” as the place once holds towers of seven Hindu temples. These monuments are the blend of religion, heritage and aesthetism. These monuments are categorized into Rathas, Mandapas, Rock reliefs, Structural temples, Excavation.  The sculptures and architecture incorporate Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism dedicated to a deity or a character in Hindu mythology.

Rathas are in the shape of Chariot. There are five monolithic structures projecting above the beach, known as the Five Rathas or the Pandava Rathas. Biggest Ratha sculpture is of Dharamraja.

 Mandaps are known as cave temples used for social gatherings. They are square in shape and used as shrines. Varaha, Kotikal, dharamraja, Mahishasuramardini, Panchapandava mandapam, Koneri are some of the famous cave temples.

Mahishasurmardini cave, Mahabalipuram
Pic Source: Google

Structural temples were built from cut stones. These temples are dedicated to shiva and Vishnu. One of the oldest temple is shore temple as it is near to the shore. It is dedicated to the lord Shiva surrounding by his vehicle Nandi. Olakkanesvara temple and Mukundanayanar templeare other temples which have been ruined now and only builidings are there.

Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram
Pic Source: Google

Rock reliefs are the carvings on rocks. ‘Descent of Ganges’ or  ‘Arjuna penance’ is the most significant and an open air rock relief. It is believed  to be Bagirath’s  penace to bring the Ganges to the earth. It is also one of the largest bas-relief works in the world.

Arjuna’s Penance, Mahabalipuram
Pic Source: Google

Mahabalipuram is not only famous for its sculptures and ancient monuments, also famous for its sandy beaches and crafts. To see the ancient history remnants and sculptures, one should visit this historical place. It is very easy to reach this tourist place as it is near to Chennai and nearest air and rail transport is Chennai. To visit the place, climate is suitable throughout the year.

Seema Jain

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