Mahabalipuram / Mamallapuram Part II (Kanchipuram - Tamil Nadu)

First let me come back to the light house from my last post

Actually this is the Olakkaneshwara Temple, which was used during the British era as the light house till they built the new one. Next we proceeded to the Dharmaraja Mandapam. This has 3 shrines in it and unfortunately it’s all empty. 
Our next venture was Mahishasura Mardhini MandapamThe central shrine here is Somaskanda. Somaskanda is little Lord Muruga/Karthikeya with Lord shiva and Parwathi on either sides. 

On the left wall is the Mahishasura Mardhini Panel. Mahisha is Bull and Asura is demon, so this is about Goddess Ambal who kills the demon who comes like a Bull. The whole scene of Ambal on a lion killing Mahisha with Bow and Arrow is depicted here. 

On the right wall is Anantha Sayana Panel. Sayana is sleeping – Anantha Sayana is the Sleeping posture of Lord Vishnu. We got a bit freakily funny by this time and started our freaky photoshoot. Along with the several devotees of Lord Vishnu, I too bow at his feet, here. You think this is not freaky.??? Well go on reading, you’ll see more…

Our next place was THE Panel. U know, THE panel! The huge Finished panel of Great Penance. Now, you may remember the Unfinished panel that I referred to in my last post. Now this panel is the finished one. There are so many things to note in this. The Elephants – Remember in the unfinished one those were fierce and very dynamic. Here they seem to be just standing with the babies sitting beneath them. Here there are not 2 boulders, instead it has a single boulder with a deep cleft in between. There are these beautiful Nagas – Snake figures. I love their thought process in this. When it rains and the water pours down through this cleft these Nagas would seem to be coming down. There is a huge water storage system beneath – rain water harvesting!!! This water flow depicts Ganga coming down from heaven.
The legend is that Bhagiratha prays to Ganga to come down to earth to provide water to the people. She accepts but says that when she comes down, her fierceness and force would destroy so many things. So he prays to Lord Shiva to absorb her force and let down only the water. He too accepts. Now as Ganga comes down, Lord Shiva catches her with his matted locks and holds her in his head. And Ganga flows gently from there.

So where is Bhagiratha? He is the main character of this panel. So realistically depicted with even his ribcage jutting out of his frail body after days together meditating in the single-leg posture as a Tapasvin (meditator/yogist). Lord Shiva is beside him.

At that era itself, the sculptor had a funny bone!!! Near the elephants is this Cat’s Penance. This is the story that says about a cat that acts like performing penance to fool the rats which come near it thinking that the cat is a tapasvin, so the cat can eat ‘em. A moral story today has its evolution during or before this era. Would you belive that???!!!! Hard for me…
Several other Bhootha Ganas, Flying celestials, Chandra, Surya, A forest scene where Bhagiratha performs tapas animals comprise the whole scene.

Beside this panel is a free standing statue of 2 monkeys, with one picking lice on the other. And I became the 3rd monkey and picked lice on the first one!!! Again, freaky Photoshoot!!!

Next to it is the Krishna Mandapam. Krishna Mandapam as the name suggests, denotes the Krishna Leela or the plays of Krishna. The main scene is the Govardhana Giri scene, where Krishna lifts the mountain Govardhana when rain and thunder storm ravishes the village.
The legend goes that in Gokul people always prayed to Indhra for rains but Krishna says it’s the mountain Govardhana that blocks the clouds and showers rain. So instead of Indhra lets pray Govardhana Giri/Mountain. And people of Gokul accept his idea. So angered Indhra forces thunderstorm and rain in Gokul when Krishna lifts Govardhana with his little finger and the whole village comes under the mountain and gets protected.

Seen here is the whole village depicted under the mountain that Krishna lifts. Now, comes again our crazy shoot. There is a couple seen dancing in rejoice in the scene and we decided the separate the couple. How crooked minded we are, right? While my friend pulled his hand, I pulled her hand in the opposite direction. Freaky, no…???

The shot of this milk man milking the cow while the cow caresses her child by licking is the best part of the whole series. Even the tongue of the cow is shown so perfectly. Don’t you just feel the mother-child love in this shot?!!!
Ha, would you believe!!! Its not yet over… Ok, I give you an assurance now. Its gonna be over in part 3....


Dedicated to Vaishu


An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.


  1. Appreciate your interest in giving lot of information....

  2. Your country is so full of history. Great information.

  3. Hey just awesome snaps yar!! I want to visit this place asap :) And very good description about the place. Thanks for this wonderful blog. I can plan my trips based on ur posts :D

  4. Just now finished ur part 1 & 2 at a stretch so am leaving a comment here :)
    Ur works are really commendable yaar ,loads of info can be obtained here pa :)
    Kudos to u for that ...

    keep up the gr8 work

  5. India is so rich with history and thanks for sharing them.. Lovely photos by the way..

  6. Its a very Unique post :-)
    Its all masterwork
    and fantastic handcraft art !!
    Nice shots ...

  7. Hey Jij,
    Thank you Jij... Cho chweet of uuuuuuu.. :)

    Thank you so much dear.. :)

    Do visit dear.. Hee hee! That's such a great compliment I'd say.. :)

  8. @Sathish,
    Wow... At a stretch.. That's good... Thank you so much for the appreciation...

    Thanks dear. :)

    Thank you so much sweetheart... :)

  9. Mitr, wonderful photos!!! Wow...those wall carvings are freaky and amazing...I've never seen that before...can't wait for part 3!!

  10. Felt as if i visited Mamallapuram . nandri Thozhi

  11. I loved this post so so soooo much.... Bombarding with sooooo many info :) Like it :)

  12. oh wow. love all the carvings and cut outs...

  13. I love the cow licking calf. Very realistic.
    Interesting how each of the carvings tells a story!

  14. @Rain,
    Thank you so much for the appreciation and encouragement...

    U r welcome Thala...

    Thank you so much sweetheart...

  15. @Phivos,
    Thank you so much dear.. :)

    Glad you liked it all...

    Yes dear... I too loved it so much. That's why mentioned it specially. And ya, these are the standing documents of Indian history.. :)

  16. The 7th photo(3 monkeys picking lice on the other) is the best one!
    I think you should include the route map and the best possible means of travel to the location.Also please remove the word verification for comments if you are not having any Spam comments.

  17. I could have perhaps never seen these great locations without having your wonderful blog. Thanks!

    My Birthday

  18. Wow! Great poses and captures!
    Fun shots indeed.

  19. @Prasanth,
    Hee hee... Thanks.. Lolz... :D
    And ya the route is included in Part I itself and I do get some spams which pass through word verification and I delete em in moderation. So please bear with the word verification part. Thanks dear.. :)

    Thank you so much Bhavesh for your appreciation.
    And Hapy B'day dear.. :)

  20. @Ayesha,
    Thanks da... I'll pass on the lice photo appreciation to Vaishu... :)

    Thanks dear... :)

  21. Oh dear one day I'll get also to Chennai... ;))

  22. @GMG,
    Plan a trip soon. I promise, u'll fall in love with this place... :)

  23. @Work Hard,
    Really our ancestors are such great people... Thank you so much.. :)

  24. Kurenggekkei pen paakom penn....interesting exposition. enjoyed reading this.

  25. @Cyclopseven,
    Hee hee... Lolz... Thanks dear... :)


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