Mahabalipuram Knowledge Guide
How is the landscape of Monument in Mamallapuram
The landscape of the group of monuments in divided into structural 5 categories such as
- Rock reliefs
- Structural temples
The Ratha temples are elongated chariot-shaped temples with curved roofs. Also known as the Panch Rathas, these monolithic temples portray marvelous carved scriptures on its walls of various legends regarding Hindu Mythology. Exceptional and unparalleled in its true form, these temples are named after the Pandavas known as Arjuna-Draupadi Ratha, Bhima Ratha, Yudhishtra Ratha, Nakula Ratha, and Sahadeva Rath.
Among them, the largest temple is the Bhima Ratha which is 46 feet long while the Yudhistra Ratha towers about 37 feet high making it the tallest Ratha of them all. The related legend and religious significance attached to them draws thousands of tourists every year.
Pillared pavillions with enclosed shrines dating back to the 7th century are also a part of the incredible landscape of Mahabalipuram. These chambers are known as Mandapas in Sanskrit. These exceptional rock-cut cave temples are a treat to the eyes. Such is the fine detailing of various mythological legends upon its pillars and walls, that you can feel scriptures coming back to life. These cave temples are believed to be holy shrines of Lord Shiva, Vishnu, and the Trimurti known as the Hindu Trinity. According to the carvings upon the walls, these structures were dedicated to numerous deities and holy incarnations such as Varaha, Dharmaraja, Koneri, Krishna and much more. Intricately carved ancient architectural marvels, these monuments are believed to be used for ceremonies and social gatherings.
Which are great UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Mahabalipuram?
Unlike Mandapas, structured monuments and temples are freestanding structures built by cutting rocks separately. One of the most renowned among these independent structures is the Shore temple. Lying amidst the seashore of Mamallapuram, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu. Built during the reign of Pallava king, Rajasimha, this massive temple is host to traditional dance festivals held in Mahabalipuram. Overlooking the Bay of Bengal this monument is a prominent UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other independent structured buildings consist of the heavily damaged Olakkanesvara temple also known as the Old Lighthouse and the Mukundanayanar temple.
Mamallapuram is home to one of the largest rock-reliefs in the world known as the Descent of the Ganges. Carved upon enormous granite boulders, the relief stretching about a whopping 89 feet while standing at a height of 9 meters. Incredible craftsmanship during the Pallava dynasty led to the creation of this unimaginable structure. The most favorite destination for historians and academics alike, it has immense cultural significance.