Sunday, 15 September 2013

Visit to Mahabalipuram - Part II

Arjuna's penance has been depicted as a huge bas-relief & is said to be largest of it's type in the world. The rock measures 27 meters in length & 9 meters in height.
Arjuna is seen in Tapasya mode with Gods, demi-gods, beasts & birds. Figures of Yakshas, Gandharvas, Nagas & Nymphs all merge in to a theme. 
They all seem to be rushing towards Arjuna to watch & bless him. Enire bas-relief has been beautifully chiseled 1400 years back. Looks as if it has been done on wood with each carved figure telling a story.
There is a natural fissure in the stone which has been used to depict penance of Bhagirath for bringing Ganga to this world.
Brilliant & magnificent. 

Arjuna's Penance - on left is a small temple & a sage sitting near it. He is Dronacharya with his various disciples.

The depiction has a touch of humour as well. Near the trunk of the elephant a cat is standing with hands above his head in Tapasaya mode Arjuna-style. Finding the cat inactive, mice start playing & the cat devours one or two of them & again comes back in Tapasya mode! On the left two standing figures & two sitting figures (heads broken) are also following Arjun. They are termed Fakes!

Just over the temple with his hands above the head & right feet touching his left knee is Arjun. He was looking for powerful divine weapon. In the process he has grown beard & lost weight & his ribs are showing. On top left is moon-god & on top right sun-god both having round plates behind their heads.

In between two parts there is Vishnu releasing the Ganga to go to earth & feed millions. (Some people mention river Krishna instead of Ganga).

People & animals rushing from left to see & bless Arjun.

People & animals rushing from right to see & bless Arjun. Two black monkeys watch the proceedings sitting on a platform on the right side

1. Temple of Brahma. Rare find outside Pushkar, Raj

2. Temple of Vishnu

3.Temple of Mahesh. Lingam has been placed here about 125 years back. 

Out of this single rock three caves have been carved in for temples of Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh. Idols of the three are shown above. Statues outside the entrances are those of  Dwarpals.
Shore Temple. It is believed that there were seven beautiful temples on sea shore constructed in seventh centuary during the reign of Narsimha Varman II. The place was known to the sailors of the world as 'port of seven pagodas'. Only one has survived. Bushes & trees have been planted towards the sea shore to save further erosion & damage to this one. 

Erosion due to sea water can be seen

The bulls placed above the wall have been recovered from sea bed. Varah has been reassembled by cementing the pieces.

Weather & sea water has taken a toll

Effect of weather & sea water

Elephant after wear & tear

Some parts of the washed away temples recovered from sea
Parikrama around the temple

Another wonderful piece of work. Carving shows a cow & a calf. In case the head of cow is covered, it becomes an elephant & a calf! So two-in-one is not new but an ancient concept! 

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