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Mamallapuram Travel Guide

If you are on the trail of temples, your journey simply has to begin at the heritage city of Mamallapuram, the 7th century seaport of the Pallava Empire. Mamallapuram draws thousands of tourists every year, who come here to see it's lovely beaches and fascinating temples and architecture. Mamallapuram is the birthplace of temples, the crucible of Hindu religious architecture in the south. The style first initiated in this heritage city was redefined and refined till it reached its zenith in Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple and Thanjavur’s Brihadeeshwera. Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram has to be experienced for its beautiful beaches, 14 rocktemples, 9 monolithic shrines, 3 stone temples including the exquisite Shore Temple and 4 sculpted bas reliefs defy description.

The archetype of Dravidian temples, the inspiration and the cornerstone of all others belonging to the genre can be found at Mamallapuram. This was the first time ever that builders used features that would become integral elements of every temple, not just in the south but also elsewhere in India. The craftsmen who built the rock temples pioneered the use of vimanas, gopurams, mandapams and the intricate carving that make them works of art.

The monumental works of art at Mamallapuram use nature’s bounty as their canvas, monolithic rocks, hills, blocks of stone, cliffs and caves were all put to good use by the builders. Rocks were fashioned into rathas, temples scooped out of hills and boulders chiselled into blocks and pillars for mandapams. Take the fabulous bas-reliefs, they use sheer cliff faces as their canvas, engraving upon them complete legends and stories.

Travel to Mamallapuram. You will not be disappointed!

It is believed that the Shore Temple is the only surviving temple of the original seven. The other six are believed to have been claimed by the Bay of Bengal. When the coastline receded after the December 2004 tsunami some stone remains were found embedded in the sand that were rumoured to date back to the 7th century, and had engraving similar to the existing temples in Mamallapuram.

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