|Trip to Mahabalipuram, Tamilnadu on December 5, 2007|
Information and photos by Sumathi
retired professor from IIT Delhi had organized a trip to Mahabalipuram
to understand and appreciate better the great art treasures gifted to us
by the Pallavas.
We have all
made several trips to Mahabalipuram before, starting from school excursions
to family picnics. But, that is what it has been, a jolly picnic
- a visit to all the monolithic rathas, cave & shore temples and fun
at the sea. True, we could and did appreciate the marvels excavated
out of hard granite, the beauty of the sculptures. In this visit, Mr.Swaminathan
shared with us the vast knowledge that he had collected from the books
of great scholars - people who had devoted their lifetime to studying and
researching these ancient monuments. He read out some of the inscriptions
and translated them for us.
only a few mandapams and caves, but at every spot Mr.Swaminathan shared
with us details such as - the Pallava kings who had contributed, the structural
variations / refinement that can be observed in the structures belonging
to different periods. And sadly, also the vandalism - mostly broken
noses, attempt to project a Siva temple as a Vishnu temple or vice versa
and also an attempt by the kings to take credit without contributing.
Since several Pallava rulers seem to have shared the same titles, that
further adds to the confusion.
first gave a general introduction to the temple architecture and sculpture
- the different styles of rock architecture seen at Mahabalipuram - the
monoliths, cave mandapams, structural temple, bas relief.
our tour with a visit to the Tiger caves. I am putting down all the
details pointed out to us by Mr.Swmainathan along with my own observations.
General information pertaining to all the monuments
cave, Atiranachanda Mandapam, Saptamatrika shrine
Penance / Bhagiratha's thavam (Unfinished
/ Krishna Mandapam
Great penance - a bas-relief (Arjuna / Bhagiratha)