This temple is not finished and does not contain any inscriptions. It is located at the base of diorite hillock, with another ancient structure – Olakneswara Temple on top of this hill.
Front part of the cave temple is adorned with four columns and two pilasters, floor and ceiling are not completed. Columns have different design – the two central columns are different. Most likely this is explained by the attempt of Vaisnavites to remove them. One was really removed and was recently replaced by low quality replica.
Both beautiful sculpted panels are placed at opposite side walls of shrine. One relief depicts eight-armed Goddess Durga defeating the demon-king Mahishasura – it is possible that the temple got its name from this demon. Goddess is accompanied by eight ganas, Mahishasura with his army of seven demons is retreating.
Another panel depicts Anantasayana – e.g. Vishnu reclining on snake-like king of nagas – Ananta Shesha. This serpent has thousand heads – relief shows five. Below Vishnu there is Bhu-devi, Mother Earth. Above the God and below him there are shown four flying ayudh-purushas – divine weapons of Vishnu. This panel is considered to be one of the highest achievement in Indian ancient art.
Rear wall contains three shrines. Central shrine is larger and is adorned with a porch. Porch in turn has a pair of beautiful pillars with horned lions – vyalas – at the base. All shrines are symbolically duarded by dvarapalas. Side shrines are not adorned but the central shrine is adorned with large Somaskanda panel showing Shiva himself, his consort, Uma, divine child Skanda and Nandi at their feet and other gods in the background.
Choice of two unrelated religious motives on sidewalls is not clear today. It is also not completely clear why there were developed two shrines for Shiva and one for Vishnu.
- Mahishasura Mardini Mandapam, Tamil Heritage. Accessed on April 16, 2010.
|Coordinates:||12.6150 N 80.1926 E|
|Categories:||Hindu shrines, Rock cut temples and monasteries|
|Values:||Art, Architecture, History, Archaeology|
|Address:||Asia, India, Tamil Nadu, south of Chennai, Kanchipuram district, Mahabalipuram town, "hillock" near the centre|
|Alternate names:||Mahishasura Mandapa, Mahishasura Mardini Mantapa|
|UNESCO World Heritage status:||Part of "Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram", 1984, No.249|
India is seventh largest country of world by area, and, naturally such a large area contains huge amount of exciting attractions…
Wondermondo considers that India is the second richest centre of architectural heritage in the world after Europe and maybe no single country of the world can match it in this respect.
Hinduism is one of the oldest religions – possibly the oldest one among contemporary religions and Hindu temples belong to most impressive religious buildings in the world.
The huge temples of Tamil Nadu are justifiably famous. Through history and forty-four original photographs, this book explains how the temples came to be and what their statuary symbolizes. The book also paints a picture of what life was like in the civilizations that built them.
Built in 700 CE by the famous Pallava king Rajasimha, Mahabalipuram is a unique monument where art form combines with religion and legends. Also known as Mamallapuram, it showcases the best of Tamil art and architecture. The beauty of the monument is further enhanced by its location on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, the latter significantly influencing the creations. Part of the prestigious Monumental Legacy series, this book presents a graphic account of the site and its monuments-mandapas (cave temples), rathas (chariots), open air bas-reliefs, and structural temples.