Mahabalipuram temples are well known famous temples, located in Kanchipuram district in Tamil Nadu, India. It is about 60 km south of the city of Chennai. However, the city is famous for beaches, rich architectural temples, and casuarinas trees. Mahabalipuram’s another name also known as Mamallapuram. Hence the name of the city named after King Mahabali, the famous demons king in the epic history of Hinduism.
About Mahabalipuram Temples:
The Temple constructed during the Pallavas dynasty. These shore temples were largely built between 7th and 9th centuries A.D. Since then the Indian traders used this fort city to travel to countries of South East Asia for trading. The UNESCO declared this site as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Pallava Kings Contribution to Mahabalipuram Temples:
The Pallava kings ruled Mahabalipuram during 3 rd century to 9th century A.D. They used this port to trade and maintain diplomatic activities to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
The presence of Mahabalipuram temples described in Mahabharata. In the 7th century AD. The Pallava King Narasimhavaramn II developed Mahabalipuram. Since the Seashore temples built with great architecture. Hence the mandapas and the rathas carved in granite rock. The sculptures carved on the granite rocks as bas-reliefs. These reliefs carved as much as 100 ft long and 45 ft high. Some of the rocks carved in the models of Buddhist viharas. As a result of the rock cuttings, they seem like the Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves.
Mahabalipuram temple comprises three shrines and each one dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. In the garbhagriha, an image of Shivalinga embraces the site. At the rear end, there are two shrines facing each other. Here, one shrine dedicated to Ksatriyasimnesvara and other to Lord Vishnu. Almost the walls of the shrines carved images elaborately and each
sculpture panels depict scenes from everyday life. Due to the rich structures of the temple, the visitors impressing and felt astonishing while they know the hard work of the sculptures. During the Pallava dynasty, art and culture flourished broadly and Pallavas themselves interested in art based works, so they mobilized the artists to built such beautiful temples like Seashore temples. Since every year in Jan and February, the government conducts the Mahabalipuram Dance Festival to promote the traditional dance and tourism in Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram Shore Temples:
Adi Varsha Perumal Cave:
The Adi Varsha Perumal Cave temple, the first carved temple by Pallavas in Mahabalipuram. The temple dedicated to Vishnu and Sanctum Sanatorium carved elaborate relief sculptures. The style of the construction is in the style of Pallava Architecture. The two relief sculptures of Pallava Kings Simhavishnu and Mahendravaraman I, accompanied by their respective wives.
The Trimurti cave is dedicated to Lord Brahma, we can see the rich carved sculptures and pillars in this cave with different postures.
The Mahishasuramardini Cave:
This cave can be found at a hilltop location. Hence this cave dedicated to Goddess Durga the incarnation of Shakti. She got this name after the slaying of the demon Mahishasura.
The Tiger Caves:
These caves are one of the Mahabalipuram Temples. The caves are the combination of designed pillars and sculptures. As a result, the sculptures are in the form of mythical creatures, lions and tigers. Almost these caves also contain the relief sculpture of Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha, who ruled Pallava dynasty during 700 AD – 728 AD.