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Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram: Facts about a World Heritage Site

12-MAY-2016 11:18

    The monuments at Mahabalipuram are situated on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu,India. It has near 40 sanctuaries, including the largest open-air rock relief in the world. These monuments includes: the Pancha Rathas of Dharmaraja Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Bhima Ratha, Draupadi Ratha, Nakula Sahadeva Ratha, and also Ganesha Ratha. It was tagged as World Heritage site in 1984.

    Location of Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram:

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    Facts about Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram:

    1. Mamallapuram was a sea-port during the time of Periplus (1st century AD) and Ptolemy (AD 140).

    2. The towns of mallapuram were found 2000 years ago.

    3. It was a very big port, brought  many traders to India.

    4. This was the second capital of great Pallava ruler Narasimhavarman-I (AD 630-68).

    5. The monuments at Mahabalipuram are situated on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu,India.

    6. There are several temples at the Mahabalipuram i.e. Krishna Cave Temple, Mahishasuramardini Mandapa, Araha Cave Temple, Panchapandava Cave Temple and  structural temples includes the Shore Temple and the Olakkannesvara Temple.

    7. The monuments at Mahabalipuram got the status of UNESCO’S World Heritage Site in 1984.

    8. The Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture is taking care of the conservation work at this site.

    9. Ministry of tourism is running a project namely "Integrated Development of Mamallapuram" for its preservation.

    Shore Temple

    The Shore Temples at Mahabalipuram, a coastal village 50 km south of Madras, was constructed during the reign of Rajasimha in the 7th century. The temple with its beautiful polygonal dome saved the statues of Lord Vishnu and Shiva. These beautiful temples damaged by wind.  This temple is declared as world heritage sites since 1984.

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    'Ratha' Cave Temple-

    The incredible Ratha cave temples of Mahabalipuram were constructed by the Pallava king Narsimha during the 7th and 8th centuries. The beauty of the rock-cut sculpture of the temple is reflection of grand architecture of Pallava rulers. This temple is known for its Rathas (temples in the form of chariots), Mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous 'Descent of the Ganges', with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva.

    There are 8 rathas at Mahabalipuram, out of which 5 are named after the 'Pandavas' (five brothers) of Mahabharata and one after Draupadi. The five rathas that can be seen are Bhima Ratha, Dharmaraja Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Nakul Sahadev Ratha and Draupadi Ratha. The style of construction of these temple was based on Buddhist viharas and chaityas style.The unfinished three-storey Dharmaraja ratha is the largest. The Draupadi ratha is the smallest; it is one-storey and has an interesting thatch-like roof. The Arjuna ratha is dedicated to Lord Shiva while Draupadi Ratha is dedicated to Goddess Durga.

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    Olakkannesvara Temple:

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    The Olakkannesvara Temple ("flame eye"; commonly Olakkanatha; also known as, "the Old Lighthouse") is in Mahabalipuram in Kancheepuram District in Tamil Nadu, India.  It is also a structural temple Like the Shore Temple. It was built during the 8th century. It is situated exactly above the Mahishasuramardini mandapa on a hillock, from where the town can be seen. It is dedicated to an incarnation of Lord Shiva. This temple is also counted in the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram which were designated as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site since 1984. This temple is referred as ‘Mahishasura Temple’ by mistakes occasionally.

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