Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mahabalipuram - Pallava Architecture

Mahabalipuram was a 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas around 60 km south from the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. It is believed to have been named after the Pallava king Mamalla. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th century, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are three main attractions in Mahabalipuram. One is the shore temple, another is the pancharatha (pancha pandava) temples and third is Arjuna's penance.

The Shore Temple
Shore temple is a complex of three temples, one large and two small, located right on the shores of the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal in Mahabalipuram. The main temple is a five-storeyed structure dedicated to Lord Shiva and is sculpted out of granite. The key attraction of the Shore Temple are the five chariots or the Pancha Pandava Rathas, four of which are named after the Padavas and the fifth one is known as the Draupadi Ratha. Each of these Rathas is huge and distinct from the others, speaking of the aesthetic excellence of the artisans of that time. 

Sunrise and sunset add to the scenic charm of the Shore temple. So it is best to visit the temple at dawn. 

A monolith sculpture of a partly carved and partly sculpted lion with a hole in its torso is erected within the compound wall of the temple complex. A female guardian with a bow is also carved on the right leg of the lion. 

Miniature shrine in shore temple

The entire compound wall surrounding the temples is sculpted with large sculptures of Nandi..

Arjuna's Penance is a story from the Mahabharata of how Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers, performed severe austerities in order to obtain Shiva's weapon.

standing one-legged, arms above his head.In the center of the relief, purifying river Ganges flows down the mountain, surrounded by ascetics, celestials, elephants, and other animals on the banks.

Krishna Mandapam

Varaha Cave Temple

Five Rathas (chariot)
The structures are named after the Pancha Pandavas, they are named Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira ("Dharmaraja"), Nakula and Sahadeva – and Draupadi.

A complete view of Pancha Ratahas in Mahabalipuram

Elephant and Nakula Ratha

Bhima Ratha

Arjuna Ratha, Draupadi Ratha and Bull

Dharmaraja Ratha

After the Tsunami of December 2004, a collapsed temple as well as several other structures and primordial rock sculptures used in the same era to decorate walls and religious shrines were exposed. It revived theories that Mahabalipuram formed part of the Seven Pagodas the first Europeans wrote about. whole Mahabalipuram itself is a mystery with constant new discoveries.....its believed that more relic to be found under the sea..we ended the trip with nice seafood in Restaurant Moonrakers at Othavadai Street.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Kabini / Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park / Kabini is one of the best wildlife parks of India located near Mysore. Kabini is a river which originates from Wayanad in Kerala, and on the banks of this river is the forest reserve, spread over 55 acres. Kabini was in my travel list for a long time and it finally happened in January 2014. We took a train from Chennai to Mysore (Kaveri Express) which departs at 930pm and reached Mysore at 7.00 am. It was a comfortable journey. Kabini is around 95 kms from Mysore. We took  cab from Mysore to Kabini which cost around Rs. 1500. We reached Kabini Bison Resort around 12 noon.

After our registration in Kabini Bison Resort we were directed to our tent which was just near to the beautiful Kabini River. 4pm was our first safari and the expectation was high. We saw many elephants, birds, bison, and fantastic opportunity to see tiger...during our jungle safari..

Indian Elephants (Elephas maximus) are found in large numbers...

Indian Bison or Gaur (Bos gaurus)

Indian Grey Mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii)

The backwaters of Kabini are also rich with bird life

Kabini Bison Lodge

It was one of the memorable trips and hope to visit again!!!