Sunday, 27 July 2014

Chapter 51 – Mammallapuram

Mammalapuram Today
Readers! We invite you to journey with us to Mammallapuram harbour. It has been more than 300 years since Mahendra Pallava and Narasimha Pallava built stone temples near the harbour. Mammallapuram wore a weary look as the sun shone down on the harbour. Many stone palaces are in state of disrepair and what once was a busy harbour bringing in trade from different parts of the world looked deserted today. The harbour near Mammallapuram was quite deep, though during the Pallava times, ships could come close to the beach. Now, the merchant ships were stationed at a safe distance and goods were unloaded with the help of small boats.

After the decline of Pallava Kingdom, the Cholas too built many temples near the harbour from a stone quarry that was found nearby. Within the city, a huge temple for Maha Vishnu was built by Parameshwaran Pallavan, a king who patronised both Saivaites and Vaishnavaites. A holy temple that was sung by Thirumangai Azhwar, Maha Vishnu is found in a Thala Sayana form here, where he sleeps eternally on the ground. His divine verses about the temple and the harbour reveal the greatness of Pallava period, even after great kings like Mahendra Pallava and Narasimha Pallava.

Sthala Sayana Temple Today
One hundred years after Thirumangai Azhwar sang about this temple, the Pallava Kingdom grew weak and the sun rose on Chola Kingdom.

But nothing could erase the beautiful sculptural work of Mammallapuram or the significance of beautiful Kanchi temples. They remain as embodiments of iTamil culture and history even today.

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Volume 1 - New Flood