Mahabalipuram Sculptures Tour
Mahabalipuram also known as Mamallapuram is as old as the Pallava dynasty in the 7th-9th century in Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu, India. Mamallapuram, 58 km south of Chennai, has a beautiful beach spanning a distance of over 20 km. An erstwhile port of the Pallava dynasty the place abounds with stone carvings, caves, rock cut temples also attract tourists. A crocodile farm, venom extracting centre, schools of art and sculpture and a wide choice of resorts along the beach draw holiday-seekers all round the year.
Situated on the shore of the Bay of Bengal is an ancient sea-side town. The Pallava art at this place emphasizes robust earthly beauty, imbibed with life. The Pallavas have created many marvelous monuments sculptural panels, caves, monolithic rathas and sculptural temples. Mythological episodes, epic battles, demons, gods, animal, are all vividly depicted on the wall. Mahabalipuram Sculptures are breathtakingly real and artistic. This fantasy was created and architect by the great Chirpi Devadapperunithachan.
Places to Visit Mahabalipuram
These monumental splendors and the sunny beach attract tourists from all over the world. Some of the sightseeing places which the travelers are not afford to miss in Mamallapuram are Arjuna's penance, five rathas, the shore temple, cave temples, Mahisasuramardhini Cave, krishna mandapam, krishna's butter ball, tiger cave, open air museum, covelong beach, dakshina chitra and so on.
List of Tourist Attractions in Mahabalipuram
- Arjuna's Penance
- Sea Shore Temple
- Monolithic Rathas
- Krishna Mandapam
- Tiger's Cave
- Pancha Pandava Cave
- Trimurti Cave
- Ganesha Ratha
- Varaha Mandapa
- Descent of the Ganges
History of Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram has been famous as a sea-port even from the beginning of the Christian era. A work called the Periplus of the Erythraen Sea by an unknown Greek navigator of the first century AD refers to it along with Poduke (modern Pondicherry) as a port north of the river Kaveri. Ptolemy, a geographer of the next century, refers to its Malange. The occasional finds of Roman coins in the neighborhood testify to its importance as a trading centre.
Mahabalipuram, (Mamallapuram) The city of Mamalla, a title of Narasimhavarman I (circa AD 630-668), the great Pallava ruler of the seventh century, who was responsible for scooping out most of the rock-cut temples and carvings at the place. But probably the name Mallai/Mamallai was known earlier and used by early Vaishnava saints.
Another ancient name of the place was Kadalmallai referred to by the Vaishnava saint Tirumangaialvar, probably a contemporary of Nandivarman, one of the successors of Narasimhavarman; he gives a graphic description of the harbor with its anchored ships laden with treasure, huge elephants and the nine gems. As Mallao, the place known to be the birth place of Bhutattalavar who preceded Thirumangaialvar. let it be said at once that the name Mahabalipuram is in no way connected with Mahabali, the mythical demon suppressed by the god vishnu, nor with the Mahabali dynasty which rose into prominence in south India in about the ninth-tenth centuries.
Sea Shore Temple Mahabalipuram
Close to the sea-shore, so close as to almost allow the spray of the waves to dash against the walls of the temple, is what is known as the Shore temple, an example of a masonry temple of Rajasimha’s time. The vimana top here is somewhat narrow and elongated. The main shrine faces the east and the entrance to it, which is a small gopuram with the continuation on either sides leads to the perambulatory passage between the temple and the outer wall. A stepped approach leads to the entrance of the temple and beyond the poch is the main cell which enshrines a broken fluted Siva-linga. As is usual on the pallava temples, the Somaskandha group is presented behind the Sivalinga, it is also repeated on either sode on the walls of the porch. There are rampant lions at interval dividing the carved panels of the outer walls of the temple. Behind this shrine, there is a figure of Seshasayi Vishnu.
Opposite top this temple at some distant is a bali-pitha and the pedestal of dhvaja-stambha, around which have been stacked some loose sculptures. Here an expansive courtyard is partly surrounded by an unfinished enclosure, along which rows of sculpted Nandi are arranged. Near the entrance to the west there are panels probably dealing with tech scenes from the history of the pallavas.
Sculptures of Mahabalipuram
Ratha Temples : Ratha temples are the monolithic erections that are cut into the residual blocks of diorite that came out from the sand. These temples, as mentioned above are in form of the processional chariots. The five rathas of the South India, which are the most renowned, date back to the sovereignty of Naharasimhavarman Mamalla, the great Pallava king.
Mandapas : Rock sanctuaries are known as mandalas as well. They are modeled in form of rooms that are enveloped with bas-relief. The mandapa of Varaha, mirrors the works of this incarnation of Vishnu; the mandapa of Mahishasuramardini, Pandavas and the mandapa of Krishna are notable.
Descent of the Ganges : A well-liked episode in the iconography of Siva is depicted by the rock relief in the open air. This illustration is that of the Descent of the Ganges. According to the legends, the prudent king Baghiratha requested him to do so, thus, Siva commanded the Ganges to tumble down to Earth and to nurture the earth. The sculptors have made use of the natural cleft and have divided the cliff to put forward this celestial event which is witnessed by a teeming crowd of gods, goddesses, mythological beings such as Gandherya, Kinnara, Gana, Apsara, Naga and Nagini, along with wild and domestic animals.
Monolithic Rathas : Monolithic rathas depict an assortment of architectural structures ranging from single-to triple-storeyes. While the Dharmaraja Yudhishthir, Arjuna and Draupadi rathas are quadrangle in plan, the rathas of Bhima and Ganesa are rectangular, and the Sahadeva ratha is apsidal. It was during the reign of Pallava Rajasimha when structural architecture was established on a splendid scale and concluded in the creation of the Shore Temple.
Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) Tourism Photo Gallery
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