Thursday, July 14, 2011

Arjuna's Penance, Mamallapuram

This is one of the most important sites in Mamallapuram (State: Tamil Nadu). This amazing relief, carved sometime in the 7th century, measures approximately 30m (100ft) long by 15m (45ft) high. This beautiful work symbolizes either "Arjuna's Penance" or "the Descent of the Ganges", or possibly both.

Arjuna's Penance: According to the story in the epic Mahabharata, Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers, offers prayers in extreme conditions in order to obtain Lord Shiva's weapon.

Descent of the Ganges: According to this story, the sage Bhagiratha, offeres prayers in extreme conditions in order to bring the river Ganges down to earth.

On the relief one can can see many scenes being carved out in support of both the stories. The left side has the main elements of the story. Just above the shrine, Arjuna (or Bhagiratha) stands on one leg, his arms upraised, in a yogic posture.

While the right side has scenes of the natural and celestial worlds and the life-sized elephants protect their young. A natural cleft populated by nagas (snakes) separates the two halves of the relief.

We shall explore finer details of this relief soon: 1

53 comments:

Pradeepa said...

I have always wanted to visit mamallapuram. I have been to Chennai so many times but I never had a chance to go there.

George said...

This is simply amazing.

Jyoti Mishra said...

Indeed it is beautiful !!

Krishna said...

beautiful photos

DeeBee L. said...

Stunning carvings, really love your temples!

joo said...

What a beautiful carvings!!!

Magia da Inês said...

♥ •˚。
Amigo,
Seu país é fantástico!!!
As fotografias são fantásticas!!!
Passei para te deixar um abraço.
Beijinhos, querido.
Brasil
♥ •˚。
°° 。♥。
●/ ♥•˚。˚
/▌
/ \ 。˚。♥

kavita said...

A place i would love to visit .Amazing carvings and interesting history.Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures.

Team G Square said...

Lovely piece of Art work .

clairz said...

Marvelous carvings and stories. I love the littlest elephants. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Liz said...

Such intricate artwork. Great shots!

Happy sky watching.

Liz @ A Simple Life

Kim, USA said...

Elephant is very helpful in your country. Are there many elephant around till now? I heard that many people killed elephants because of their horns they should be punish for doing that. ^_^

SWF

Pearl Maple said...

Great photos, it is interesting to see people next to the carvings to get a feel of how big they area, very detailed work, thanks for sharing

Sylvia K said...

Such a gorgeous, fascinating place! Terrific capture, Rajesh! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Sylvia

ewok1993 said...

I was only able to open the middle image, I wonder why.

Carver said...

The relief is fantastic. Incredible artistry.

Steffi said...

Great photos and thank you for your weekly interesting travel around India!
Have a nice weekend!

Mark Kreider said...

Those relief carvings are amazing. I wonder what type of stone this has been carved into.

Spiderdama said...

wonderful place and art. Love the elephants:-)
Happy weekend!

Mama Zen said...

Amazing!

Kay L. Davies said...

Fascinating, Rajesh. And life-sized elephants? Wonderful.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Al said...

Incredible - that is something a person could spend many hours exploring and understanding.

Genie said...

What awesome sculpture work...and to think it dates back to the 7th C. Unbelievable. How can one country have so much? Your posts continue to amaze me. Genie

eileeninmd said...

Amazing detail on these carvings, Rajesh! Thanks for sharing, great photos. Happy skywatching1

lotusleaf said...

Very beautiful!

Karen said...

Beautiful intricate carvings!

magiceye said...

amazing work!

D said...

Interesting

alicesg said...

It is indeed a beautiful work. Thanks for sharing the lovely stories behind it. Have a great weekend.

Indrani said...

Truly a great place to be with children. Nice shots Rajesh.

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's history lesson on stone.

My SWF

ladyfi said...

What wonderful intricate work!

nishaslifestyle.blogspot.com said...

i enjoyed ths place thoroughly rajesh...got more informn thrgh ths post...

sm said...

nice shots

eden said...

Impressive. Great shots.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Fotokarusellen said...

A wonderful post and great images. Beautiful work.

Harsha said...

Great architecture! India is simply beautiful.

Gary said...

I can't believe the work!! Boom & gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Sailor said...

Beautiful! This is like our weekend spot these days!

Cruise Pictures

Rizalenio said...

Consistently fascinatingly carved. Awesome. :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It is amazing! And hard to imagine that beautifully intricate work was done so long ago.

I liked the flower show post above too -- when I see your flowers it helps me to realize that we actually live the same world ;>)!

(We are in Oregon (the Pacific Northwest) right now -- and in this part of the country, structures built in the 1800s are old ;>)

chubskulit said...

Beautiful shadowy photos!

My shadows, hope you can visit and see. Have a great week ahead!

momijitomitsukoshi said...

Wow! Amazing craftsmanship and such a perfect place to catch some very interesting shadows.

Liz said...

Beautiful. I'm back for MYM.

Have a fabulous week!

MLC
MCN

Life Moto said...

great that they still preserved this.


- Happy a Blessed Monday from Life Moto

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

What a wonderful post and story. Reading your posts we can learn a lot about Indian history.
Very nice shots.

Regards!

Jeevan said...

We especially go to this place to check the carved elephants and play a little slide made in rock beside this. Good shots!

Sujatha Sathya said...

i had been here recently - in sept last month

lovely place & the stone relics

http://sujathasathya.blogspot.com/2011/10/visit-to-mahabalipuram.html

Shadows Galore said...

You missed Arjuna :) He was the guy with ribs protruding in the middle :)

Nice pics, Mahabs was like our Tavern, hope you liked the place.

25BAR said...

I didn't know of these relics. Thanks for posting it. I'm going to make a trip here sometime.

Ranjana said...

Excellent! I wish to visit this place sometime. India is so rich culturally and there is so much to see. One lifetime is not enough.

deepazartz said...

OMG! This is gorgeous!

Rajesh said...

Thank you all for appreciating the wonderful craftsmanship.