The Coromandel Coast
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 to 10th centuries of
the Pallava dynasty. This was the second capital of the Pallavas who ruled
Kanchipuram. Formerly, mahabalipuram was known and called as Mamallapuram.
The former name of this place ‘Mahabalipuram’ has a history.
It was during the reign of
King Narasimha Varman I(630 - 668AD), 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 Mamallapuram 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 richness in
mahaballipuram was not known to many, as these pallavas did not outlet and
expose their quality and innovative creations to the outer world for obvious
reasons. The aestheticism in mahabalipuram was hidden until the late 185h
century. What is special about mahabalipuram? Of course every one can point out
the rock - cut caves, temples made from a single rock, temples and strives of
different structures, and bas-reliefs which are so artistic and sheer
creativity. Mamallpuram is referred as an ‘open-air museum’. The great pallava
kings Narasimha I and Rajasimha have well preserved these stylistic qualities
that one enjoys in mahabalipuram even in the present day.