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Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India   (info)


The religious centre of Mamallapuram (formerly Mahabalipuram) was founded by a 7th-century-CE Pallava king, Narasimhavarman, also called Mamalla ("great wrestler"), for whom the town was named. The Pallavas, a 4th-9th-century dynasty, began as indigenous subordinates of the Satavahanas in the Deccan, moved into Andhra, and then to Kanchi (Kanchipuram today), where they rapidly adopted Tamil ways. Their genealogy and chronology, however, are highly disputed. Their rule was marked by commercial enterprise and a limited amount of colonization in Southeast Asia. Ancient Chinese, Persian, and Roman coins found at Mamallapuram attest to a flourishing seaport.

The Pallavas supported Buddhism, Jainism, and Brahminism, and were patrons of music, painting, and literature. But they were, in the end, ineffective in withstanding military pressure from the Western Chalukya dynasty, and their feudatories, the Cholas, gradually ousted them from power. About 880 CE, the Pallava dominions passed to the Chola kings. The best surviving Pallava monuments in Mamallapuram are the Shore temple, the sculptured rock relief known as Arjuna's Penance, temples carved from granite monoliths (Five Rathas), and numerous cave temples. Today the town is a resort and tourist centre. It contains a college offering instruction in architecture and temple sculpture. [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica]

Coromandel coast

Sunrise

Sunrise

Morning on the beach


Shore temple


Weathered by wind and sea


Pallava art, 6th century CE


Inner sanctum (1, 2)


Arjuna's Penance


Trimurti cave temple (1, 2, 3)


Varaha cave temple (1, 2)


Rock-cut elephant


Ganesh Ratha


Sisyphean labor?


Rayar gopuram


Girl selling trinkets


Morning on the beach


Cave shrine on the beach


Fishing boats and nets


Seafood restaurants


Tourist hordes


Fresh shrimp


Coral fragment


Night on the beach


Krishna mandapam ...


Left panel


Middle panel


Right panel


A tsunami memorial


Higher secondary school


Landscape (more)


Writing on the wall


Mahishamardini mandapam...


Cave wall detail (more)


Olakkanneshvara Temple


Bharatanatyam dance

During the annual Mamallapuram dance festival

Mamallapuram lighthouse


Rangoli


Rangoli


Mahabalipuram girl

Five Rathas

Chariot-like temples

Hewn in situ from a rock cliff

Pallava art and architecture

Temples are named after the
five Pandavas and Draupadi


Elephant sculpture


Temple wall detail


Inner sanctum


Goddess of nothing

The sculptors of Mamallapuram





       

 

 

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