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Ramanuja Mandapam

Ramanuja Mandapam, Mahabalipuram
Ramanuja Mandapam / BeardyRob, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 12.6160 N 80.1916 E (possible mistake - 200 m)
No:47        (list of all attractions)
Categories:Hindu shrines, Rock cut architecture
Values:Art, Architecture, History, Archaeology
Address:Asia, India, Tamil Nadu, south of Chennai, Kanchipuram district, Mahabalipuram town, "hillock" near the centre, between Arjuna's Penance and lighthouse;
Age:640 - 674 AD
UNESCO World Heritage status:Part of "Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram", 1984, No.249

One of the numerous rock-cut cave temples in Mahabalipuram is Ramanuja Mandapam. It has been shaped approximately in 640 - 674 AD.

Front of the temple is adorned with six columns covered with stone slabs. It encloses a quadrangular forecourt (ardha mandapam) without roof - possibly it existed in earlier times. Rock cut temple itself has three cells. The largest one in the middle is staked off with two columns and two pilasters - all adorned with horned lions (vyalas) typical for mandapams in Mahabalipuram.

Interesting features near the temple are steps cut in stone and leading up to the top of rock.

Initially temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva and was one of the most exquisite temples in Mahabalipuram.

Later though followers of Lord Vishnu - Vaishnavas - destroyed relics and established Vishnu temple here during the times of Vijayanagara Empire. In process the beautiful sculptures were chiseled away - but new values were not installed.

Floor between two pilars contains an inscription - ironically it says approximately the following: "Six times cursed be those in whose hearts does not dwell Rudra (Siva), the deliverer from the walking of on the evil path." - it is not known why Vaishnavas did not erase this inscription.


See Ramanuja Mandapam on the map of India!


  1. Ramanuja Mandapam, Tamil Heritage. Accessed on April 16, 2010.
  2. Trip to Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram: Chapter 8: Ramanuja Mandapam, Accessed on April 16, 2010.

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