February 25, 2011
The magnificent shore temple of Mahabalipuram has an amazing architecture and leads itself for an stupendous silhouette during the early morning sun’s light. The journey from Chennai to Mahabalipuram in the morning is by itself an unmatched experience. The road moves along the beach, never leaving it for more than couple hundred meters. But u would need to have these two (the sunrise and the drive) separate. If ur planning for the sun rise, better leave real early and drive up in the dark. This was shot around 5:00 AM on a beautiful morning, just before the sun came up. Though am not much of a morning person, it did pay, to be up early and drive all the way from chennai :)
May 30, 2010
The monolithic temples @ the Mahabalipuram are known as rathas as they resemble wooden chariot. It is an innovation of Pallava King Narasimhavarman-I (Mamalla) [AD 630-668]. A Huge rock sloping from south to north was utilized judiciously to cutout different forms of temple, besides few animal sculptures.
Though these monolithic temples are termed as panchapandava rathas, they have nothing to do with Mahabharatha. These rathas with their ekatala to tritala, vimanas and different in plan and elevation, exhibit splendid forms of south Indian art and architecture. The nakula-sahadeva ratha has apsidal vimana, a relief sculpture of ardhanariswara on the wall of Dharmaraja ratha, with perfect balancing of the masculine and feminine features. It is considered to be one of the finest specimen of the early Pallava art. The ratha also contains Pallava-Grantha, inscription recording the titles of Narasimavarman-I.
The group of the five rathas were executed as models of South Indian temples and were not consecrated as their stupas are still attached with the bed rock.
November 22, 2009
Arjuna’s Penance, as locally known as , is located in Mamallapuram or Mahaballipuram [???????????](60 kms from Chennai enroute to Pondicherry). It is believed to be from 7th century, measuring 96 feet long by 43 feet high.
Arjuna’s Penance, perhaps the world’s largest bas-relief, is the universe itself in stone, throbbing with a vastness of conception. Legend has it something close the tale of Noah, but differs in its cast of characters. It goes like that, King Bhagirath brought down the Ganges from Heaven to purify the souls of his ancestors. His plan went awry when he realized that the flood would inundate the earth, so he had to undergo a penance to convince Shiva to intervene, who came down to earth and let the flood trickle through his hair, dispersing the waters safely in innumerable streams all over the world.
Arjuna’s Penance has the magically sculpted scene, which opens the doors of cosmic imagination, it has over 100 figures of gods and celestial creatures, birds and beasts, man and saint.
Mamallapuram is 60 kms from Chennai and connected by a good road that runs along the coast. It a good one day trip, or probably a weekend drive if clubbed with Pondicherry from Chennai.