Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mahabalipuram - Excavated Remains

Stepped structure in front of Shore Temple
Continued taking away of the sand in the last century brought to light several hidden structures around the Shore temple. Unique among them is the early Pallava stepped structure, around 200 m long. This structure is running north to south parallel to the sea. The accurate intention of this huge structure is still in doubt. The steps are built of interlocking granite slabs over a laterite core. The intellectual interlocking method used here prevented the slabs from collapsing and recalls the megalithic traditions. 

Miniature Shrine to the north of Shore Temple
Fortuitously discovered in 1990, the Bhuvaraha image, the miniature shrine and the well belongs to Pallava King Narasimhavarman Mamalla’s (AD 638-660) reign, but enclosed by an elliptical enclosure of Rajasimha’s (AD 700-728) period. These ruins are carved on the live bedrock containing the reclining Vishnu.
 Close up details of Miniature Shrine and Varaha
The miniature shrine, dedicated to Siva, has its sixteen-side base carved out of the bedrock while the circular wall and superstructure are structural. Its form is unique and differs from all other single tier temples of Pallava period. The Bhuvaraha is shown retrieving the Mother Earth symbolically from the deep ocean.
Subrahmanya Temple, Saluvankuppam, view from north
It was intentionally broken for unknown reasons. The base is inscribed with titles of the Pallava king Rajasimha. The enclosure wall built possibly to arrest sand from covering the remains contains an inscription in Pallava-Grantha script on the topmost course equating the king in pun with Arjuna.
Newly, ruins of two temples were excavated, one to the south of Shore temple and another massive brick temple of Subrahmanya near the Tiger Cave at Saluvankuppam, a hamlet about 7 km from here.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

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