Mamallapuram (or Mahabalipuram)
|Fisher villlage just north of Mamallapuram||Path from our hotel to the beach|
|The beach and the Shore Temple||Mamallapuram Beach looking north|
South of town are the ancient monuments known as the Panch Pandava Rathas, the five chariots of the Pandavas, the heroes of the Indian epic, the Mahabharata. They were not masoned, i.e., made of stones set into place, but were all carved out of the rock around 650CE.
|The Panch Rathas||Bhima and Dharmaraja Rathas|
|Ardhanishvara, or androgynous Shiva||Left to right, Nakul Sahadeva, Draupadi, Arjuna and Bhima Rathas (plus elephant)|
The famous Shore Temple is probably the oldest stone-built temple in India, dating from the eighth century. It used to be on the beach, before protection was built all around it, and the wind and the waves have weathered it and rounded off its angles. It is still beautiful anyway and is in a striking locale, right on the sea.
|Approaching the Shore Temple from the land side||Western tourists at the Shore Temple|
|Weathered sculpture||The Shore Temple|
We then took a look at the Krishna Mandapa, a room carved out of the rock, with sculptures of -- who else? -- Krishna, and a curious rock sculpture known as Arjuna's Penance. In fact, it depicts the fall of the Ganga from heaven to earth after the long period of sanyasa by a rishi, or seer. It is notable for the many sculptures of animals, naga (serpents) in the river and an entire family of elephants.
|Krishna Mandapa||Arjuna's Penance|
Just north of Mamallapuram is Tiger Cave, park with a shrine to Durga, the goddess in one of her less pleasant moods.
|Durga Shrine at Tiger Cave||Durga with her bow attacking the bull monster|
The last evening, we took a walk on the beach and came across a stage with enormous speakers which had been set up by an orphanage as some sort of show for the kids. The kids were dancing on the stage and running all over -- and they were anything except shy!
|Doggies digging in the sand||Fishing boat setting out|
|Enjoying sunset on the beach||Kids being photographed on their own insistence|
The next day, we visited Siv's foster child at Sharma Sheva School, southwest from Mamallapuram. And the day after that, we hit the road.
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