The shore temples of Mahabalipuram


mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

In early 2007, we had to go to Chennai over a weekend for a family function; this was the first time that me and Sangeetha were visiting Chennai together. After the function we had some time on hand and post lunch we headed out to Mahabalipuram, which is included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

The Archeological Survey website says "Mamallapuram, the city of Mamalla, is after the title of great Pallava ruler Narasimhavarman-I (AD 630-68). It was a sea-port during the time of Periplus (1st century AD) and Ptolemy (AD 140) and many Indian colonists sailed to South-East Asia through this port town.

While there is some evidence of architectural activity going back to the period of Mahendravarman-I (AD 600-30), the father of Mamalla, most of the monuments like rock-cut rathas, sculptured scenes on open rocks like Arjuna’s penance, the caves of Govardhanadhari and Mahishasuramardini, the Jala-Sayana Perumal temple (the sleeping Mahavishnu or Chakrin at the rear part of the Shore temple complex) are attributed to the period of Narasimhavarman-I Mamalla.

Of the nine monolithic temples found in Mahabalipuram, the most important are Five Rathas known after the famous five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata fame. These monuments are carved out a single rock with choice of all known forms of plan and elevations. While the Dharmaraja, Arjuna and Draupadi rathas are square on plan, the Bhima and Ganesa rathas are rectangular and Sahadeva ratha apsidal. The Draupadi ratha is a simple hut like kutagara shrine while the Arjuna ratha is a dvitala vimana with a mukhamandapa. The Bhima ratha is rectangular on plan with a salakara wagon-vaulted roof. The Dharmaraja ratha is a tritala vimana having functional shrines at all the talas. The Nakula-Sahadeva ratha with an apsidal plan and elevation indicate the experimental tendency of the architect."

The five rathas… as captured in a 1825 watercolor painting…

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO
Courtesy: British Library

The five rathas as captured by us in 2007 πŸ™‚

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

Since the monuments in the complex seem to be carved out in a somewhat adhoc manner, I think there is a possibility that this was a temple complex that also doubled up as a training ground and a ‘modelling zone’ for the architects of that era…(As mentioned in one of the sites I came across while reading up about Mahabalipuram)

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

Mahishasuramardhini…

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

The reclining Vishnu…

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

The lower parts of most of the monuments have been badly eroded by the sea and sand over the millenia…

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO

mahabalipuram, chennai, pallava, shore temple, rathas, UNESCO






Required



Required - Your email will not be displayed in the comment.


Your Comment:



Other Travelogs and Photologs...
Kadapa, Pushpagiri, Gurramkonda & Horsley hills. Tirumala, Tiruchanoor, Vellore and Sripuram. Chembra Peak, Meenmutty waterfalls, Himavad Gopalaswamy betta.
Brahmagiri , Irpu falls – A trip and trek. A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car ??? Yes!!! Havelis & Mosques – Ahmedabad old city
A Long walk, Monsoon, Leeches, Wildlife & Railway History. Incredible Rajasthan ! – A 2320 kms road trip, without reservations. Melkote and Srirangapatna, a day trip.
Chamundi hills, the big Nandi and Lalitha mahal palace Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highforce waterfalls. Adalaj, Modhera, Patan & Sidhpur – Vav, vav – Wow!
Pranlal Bhogilal Vintage Car Museum – Autoworld Shivaganga, a sunday in the sun. Hampi – The city of victory…
An incomplete guide to Hoysala temples ;-) A Dream Trip to Disneyland Weekend drive to Srikalahasti.
Mysore, Byalukuppe, Madikeri, Bhagamandala, Talakaveri, Dubare. IIMA Campus – Nature Walk. 5 years with the Xing…
Is this most haunted place in India ? – Bhangarh, Rajasthan. London Dreams ! – London, Warwick, Windsor, Stratford, Hampton, Cotswold, Oxford – Jan 2012 Belief – A trip to Kebre
Angsana Oasis Spa & resort. HAL Aerospace Museum & Heritage Center. Bangalore. Kotilingeshwara – A quick little trip.
Trekking in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thoovanam Waterfalls. Ruins in the Jungle – IIMA MCC Trip. Little Rann of Kutch Wild Ass Sanctuary & Rann Riders resort – Dasada.
Hathi Singh Temple, Sidi Saiyyed Mosque & a Haveli in Ahmedabad. The legend of the Golden Garland – Gandi Kshetram Search for the perfect sand dune – Osiyan, Khimsar and Nagaur trip.
Abhaneri, Rajasthan – A Sunday Drive from Jaipur… Andaman & Nicobar, Port Blair & Havelock Island – 2009 Big trip – Part I Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.
My brush with the ‘Yamdoot’ :-) The Elephant & the Tiger – Hathi Bhata & Ranthambore trip. A DIY (Damp It Yourself) story: DynaMat, FonoMat…Yoga-Mat ????
Masinagudi, Ooty and Coonoor. Trek from Mullayanagiri to Bababudangiri… after 13 years! A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty.
The Bhoot bungalow trip – ACMCC Trip II Gurramkonda, Vontimitta, Siddhavatam, Brahmamgari matam. Chennai and Kanchipuram
Kukke Subramanya & Kumara Parvatha; a drive and trek Chandragiri – Relics of the fallen empire. Belum Caves, 1 day , 700kms.
Temples of Tamilnadu – 2009 Big trip – Part II Flying High – Ballooning @ Jaipur. The MacLehose Trail – Hiking in Hong Kong
5am to 5am – Uchangidurga, Santhebennur, Shantisagara, Koolahalli, Bagali The shore temples of Mahabalipuram A Tra’Village’ – Farmhouse visit.
7 days of driving around Karnataka – Temples, Hills, Forests, Caves, Ruins, Forts and Highways


Sites we follow...


Image Gallery...



Featured India Blog on GO! Overseas   Powered by Wordpress