Photographer's Note

I am sure the colours of this scanned photo may not please everyone, but this is the best I can do. This photo from southern India in 1987 was taken at the beginning of the north-west monsoon, when the sky was often covered with heavy clouds creating a strange light. This was probably from just before one of the daily heavy showers.

These girls have come to visit the famous 8th century Shore temple in the town of Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram), 58 km south of Chennai (Madras). Mahabalipuram is classified as a UNESCO world heritage site because of its abundance of ancient temples and sculptures.

In December 2004 Mahabalipuram was hit by the devastating tsunami. To tell you what happened then I will quote straight from Wikipedia:

Immediately before the 2004 tsunami struck the Indian Ocean, including the Bay of Bengal, the ocean water off Mahabalipuram’s coast pulled back approximately 500 meters. Tourists and residents who witnessed this event from the beach recalled seeing a long, straight row of large rocks emerge from the water. As the tsunami rushed to shore, these stones were covered again by water. However, centuries’ worth of sediment that had covered them was gone. The tsunami also made some immediate, lasting changes to the coastline, which left a few previously covered statues and small structures uncovered on the shore.

Eyewitness accounts of tsunami relics stirred popular and scientific interest in the site. Perhaps the most famous archaeological finding after the tsunami was a large stone lion, which the changing shoreline left sitting uncovered on Mahabalipuram’s beach. Archaeologists have dated it to the 7th century AD. Locals and tourists have flocked to see this statue since shortly after the tsunami.

In April 2005, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Indian Navy began searching the waters off the coast of Mahabalipuram by boat, using sonar technology. They discovered that the row of large stones people had seen immediately before the tsunami were part of a 6-foot-high, 70-meter-long wall. ASI and the Navy also discovered remains of two other submerged temples and one cave temple within 500 meters of the shore.

I have scanned this from a Kodachrome slide. I will add another photo from the same place, but from a nicer day, as well as a closer view of the Shore temple, as workshops.

Here is a larger version.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6947 W: 407 N: 13737] (65138)
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