Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mamallapuram

I am posting a series of pics on the Pallava temples and sculptures at Mahabalipuram, about 50 km south of Chennai on the east coast. Today it is a small town with tourism as its mainstay.
Once, about 2,000 years ago it was a major seaport.
Some details from a publication by the Archaeolgical Survey of India, which says it has been famous as a sea port and has been mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraen Sea written by an unknown Greek navigator in the first century -
“The modern name Mahabalipuram is derived from Mamallapuram, `the city of Mamalla,’ a title of Narasimhavarma I (630 – 670), a great Pallava ruler of the seventh century, who was responsible for most of the rock-cut teples and carvings at the place.”
“The Pallavas –
The monuments at Mahabalipuram owe their origin to the Pallava rulers of south India, who came into existence in the third – fourth century and ruled from their capital at Kanchi.”
The book categorises the monuments into four groups. They are: monoliths – temples cut out of solid rock; caves – excavated from the hills; temples – built up masonry temples (with richly carved sculptures); and sculptured scenes carved on the hill sides.
So this series of pics over the next few weeks will follow this format. The first will be of the Shore Temple – the third in the above category – the masonry temple.

A Note: The East Coast Road leading to Mahabalipuram from Chennai makes it a great drive – if you drive cautiously and allow for the mad driving of some of the maniacs who get on to that road. It is important that people choose a pleasant day to get there. During summer it can get quite hot and humid.

3 comments:

ramki said...

Terrific pictures all, as usual. Particularly liked the one showing the temple through the entrance. Nice perspective and haven't seen any from that angle so far.

R. Balaji said...

Thank You, Ramki.

tilotamma said...

sorry sorry premature comment on the other post.
I will wait for this:
sculptured scenes carved on the hill sides.