Highlight the Architectural Features of Mamallapuram.

Mamallapuram Architectural Features:

Mahabalipuram lies on the Coromandel Coast which faces the Bay of Bengal. This is an elegant place to watch which a well established sea port was during the 7th and 10th centuries of the Pallava dynasty. This was the second capital of the Pallavas who ruled Kanchipuram. Formerly, Mahabalipuram was known and called as Mahabalipuram. The fomer name of this place Mahabalipuram has a history.

A very rude cruel king Mahabali reined this place and in a fierce battle king Mahabali was killed by Lord Vishnu and the place was named after the dead, arrogant kind Mahabali. It was during the reign of King Narasimha Varman I, the name Mahabalipuram was changed. It was renamed Mahabalipuram which is called till now. There is a story behind. The name Mamallpuram king Narasimha Varman I was a great and valiant warrior. He was given the title Mamalla which means ‘the great wrestler’ so the name was converted from Mahabalipuram to mahabalipuram considering the great king and his achievements.

After the decline of the Gupta Dynasty, the pallavas rose to the pioneer in south India. They ruled over from the 3rd century till the end of the 9th century A.D. The best period of their rule was between 650 and 750 AD and this period was called the Golden Age of the pallavas. The pallavas were very powerful. They were profound thinkers. It was during the rule of the pallavas, great poets, dramatists, artists, artisans, scholars and saints emerged. As one can say that the pallavas are the pioneers and forerunners of new styles both in art and architecture and Mahabalipuram is the best place to praise off their skill and talent. New sculptures and unique paintings were innovative and exuberant.

This place Mahabalipuram itself became their exploring field and they made the best use of the resources. They game a shape and creative energy to what they imagined. It became a dream come true as it witnessed innovations in all styles. The monuments are mostly rock-cut and monolithic, and constitute the early ‘stages of Dravidian architecture wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible. They are constituted by cave temples, monolithic rathas (chariots), sculpted reliefs and structural temples.

The pillars are of the Dravidian order. The sculptures are excellent examples of Pallava art. It is believed by some that this area served as a school for young sculptors. The different sculptures, some half finished, may have been examples of different styles of architecture, probably demonstrated by instructors and practiced on by young students. This can be seen in the Pancha Rathas where each Ratha is sculpted in a different style.

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