Home News Few things you need to know about Mamallapuram

Few things you need to know about Mamallapuram

Though not confirmed yet, ancient heritage city of Mamallapuram likely to host to Modi-Xi summit. Mamallapuram is also known as Seven Pagodas or Mahabalipuram. This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous ‘Descent of the Ganges’, and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva.

The harbour of Mahabalipuram traded with the distant kingdoms of southeast Asia during 7th and 8th centuries. The fame of its role as a harbour has been transferred to its rock sanctuaries and temples which were constructed at Mahabalipuram between 630 and 728. Some of the important aspects of these monuments are:

  • The Ratha temples in the form of processional chariots, monolithic constructions cut into the residual blocks of diorite which emerge from the sand. The five Rathas of the south, which are the most famous, date to the reign of Narasimhavarman (630-668), the great Pallava king.
  • The mandapa, or rock sanctuaries modelled as rooms covered with bas-reliefs (the mandapa of Varaha, representing the acts of this avatar of Vishnu; the mandapa of the five Pandavas and, especially, the mandapa of Krishna and the mandapa of Mahishasurarrardini).
  • The rock reliefs in open air, the largest of which is world renowned, illustrates a popular episode in the iconography of Siva, that of the descent of the Ganges. the wise King Baghirata having begged him to do so, Siva ordered the Ganges to descend to earth and to nourish the world. The sculptors used the natural fissure which divided the cliff to forcefully suggest this cosmic event to which a swarming crowd of gods, goddesses, mythical beings.
  • Temples, constructed in cut stone, like the temple of Rivage, which was constructed under the King Rajasimha Narasirmhavarman II (695-722), with its high stepped pyramidal tower and thousands of sculptures dedicated to the glory of Siva.

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