Featured in Everything Old A New Treasure http://www.redbubble.com/groups/everything-old-is-new-again Group on 10/25/12
The temple city of Mahabalipuram (also Mamallapuram) is situated just 60 km off Chennai on the Bay of Bengal coast in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Scan of 35mm print taken in 1982.
Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of history’s intriguing enigmas. The ancient Mamallapuram, as Mahabalipuram was formerly known, was flourishing port town of the Pallava rulers of south India who chiseled in stone a fabulous “open-air museum” of sculpture under the vault of a burning sky. Apart from this, nothing is known of the place. What was the purpose behind this whole exercise, and, more important, why all the royal patronage this place enjoyed suddenly disappeared, no one actually has any answer. Staying at Mahabalipuram Resorts is an unique way of experiencing its history.
Experts say that there were seven pagodas or temples on the shores of Mahabalipuram. All but one were pillaged by the rapacious sea, though there is little underwater evidence to substantiate their existence.
Most of the temples and rock carvings of this place were built during the reigns of Narsinha Varman I (AD 630-668) and Narsinha Varman II (AD 700-728). Though the initial kings of Pallava dynasty were followers of Jainism, the conversion of Mahendra Varman (AD 600-630) to Shaivism led most of the monuments to be related with Shiva or Vishnu.