The Shore Temple-Mahabalipuram


The Shore Temple built by the Pallavas in 7th CE in the coastal city of Mahabalipuram , a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, stands on Coromandel coast of the Indian Ocean. It is the only temple on the site with a distinct Gopura or ‘pagoda ‘ structure on the top.

The temples of Mahabalipuram have been referred to from antiquity as the “Seven Pagodas”  in  Europe, and other parts of the world for over eleven centuries. This is a strange anomaly as there is only one ‘pagoda’ seen, that of the Shore temple of my painting.

Local Tamil fishermen have long asserted that when the seas are not rough, at least some of the other temples can be seen “glittering beneath the waves” from fishing boats. An exploration in 2002 had found remains of walls at a depth of 5- 8 meters of water, about 500 – 700 meters offshore, the layout suggested that they belonged to several temples. Archaeologists dated them to the Pallava era 7th CE

Immediately before the 2004 tsunami struck the Indian Ocean, including the Bay of Bengal, the ocean waters off Mahabalipuram’s coast pulled back approximately 500 meters. Some Swedish tourists, local fisherman and residents who witnessed this event from the beach recalled seeing a long, straight row of large conical tower-like structures emerge from the sea as the waters receded. As the tsunami rushed to shore, these structures were covered once again by water.

In April 2005, further exploration found several submerged structures, the layout of which closely matched a contemporaneous Pallava-era painting of the Seven Pagodas complex.

Current scientific opinion is that a previous tsunami in the 13th CE for which there is ample geo-marine physical evidence found along nearly the entire length of India’s East Coast, swallowed 6 of the 7 Pallava temples.

Prints : Available as Giclee print on finest quality paper or  canvas. International shipment

Sizes available: 8 x 12″(203 x 305 mm); 12 x 16″(305 x 410mm); 18 x 24″(457 x 610 mm); 24 x 32″ (610 x 813mm)

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