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Mahablipuram or Mamallpuram, the historically-rich seaside town near Chennai in Tamil Nadu. Somewhere in 600-630 A.D., Pallava King Mahendravarman laid the foundations of elaborate rock cut cave-temples at Mamallapuram. Then from 630 to 688 A.D., his son, Narasimhavarman I, who was called Mahamalla, started the Mahamalla style of temple architecture, which consists of free standing monolithic structures. The monuments built by Narasimhavarman I at Mamallapuram include the monolithic ratha, the rock cut cave-temples and the sculpted scenes from the Mahabharata and mythology on open rock face. Narasimhavarman Iís son, Rajasimhan ruled from 700 to 728 A.D., and pioneered the masonry-style of architecture and built the magnificent five-storied Shore Temple.

Mamallapuram wakes to the sound of sculptors' chisels on granite. There are lots of good art galleries and antique shops here. You may find scores of granite idols displayed in front of the shop, or shelved inside small rooms of the shop. Lord Ganesha (elephant faced god) and Lord Hanuman (monkey faced god) appear in various forms. The other Hindu gods and goddesses include Lord Shiva (Shivlingam), Lord Vishnu, Saraswati (goddess for learning), Lakshmi (goddess for wealth) and several other Hindu pantheon of deities . The other prominent idol seen at every shop was the life size Buddha, elephants, lion, swan and some other art forms.

I have come across this shop wherein the sculptor was actively engaged in his chisel work on a piece of granite stone. You may find the huge idol of goddess and other small and large idols on display.

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Additional Photos by Muthusamy Ira (muthusamy) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 13 W: 2 N: 33] (83)
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