I visited Mahabalipuram in Aug 16 during my return to Chennai from Pondicherry trip.This was way second visit to Mahabalipuram after 1998. This visit has something to do with my inner urge to explore more of ancient India after my Badami trip in June 2016.
Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) or Seven Pagodas is located at a distance of 60 km from Chennai and is a two hours drive from Chennai.
Mamallapuram was a major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom based at Kanchipuram.
The monuments at Mahabalipuram are testimony to the peak of architecture during Pallava dynasty. The temples were built between 7th and the 9th centuries and are UNESCO world heritage site.
The shore temples were built during the reign of the Pallava King Rajasimha between 700 and 728 CE. The Shore Temple is located on the beautiful backdrop of the beach of Bay of Bengal and is believed to be only surviving structure of the legendary Seven Pagodas and the other six are believed to lie submerged under the depth of the sea now.
Shore temples comprises of three shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. One can also see large sculptures of Nandi on the temple walls. Below of some pictures taken at Shore temple.
Temple walls with sculptures of Nandi
Sculpture of Durga seated on her vahana, the lion and a beheaded goat as a offering to the goddess.
The December 2004 tsunami, has helped unearth relics and sculptures in the ancient port city of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. This strengthens the belief that there indeed existed seven temples which is also mentioned in
Every year Mahabalipuram Dance Festival is held in Jan /Feb at Mahabalipuram.
Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots)
One can just awe at the brain behind the making of Panch Rathas temples by Pallava kings Narasimhavaram – I ( Mamalla). These temples were built from a single rock to perfection which looks like wooden chariot hence the name Rathas.
The five monolithic pyramidal structures were named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishtra, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi. although they have nothing to do with Mahabharata. Below of some pictures of Pancha Rathas: