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Ramanuja Mandapam

Ramanuja Mandapam, Tamil Nadu
Ramanuja Mandapam / BeardyRob, / CC BY-SA 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

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

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GPS coordinates
12.6166 N 80.1918 E
Location, address
Asia, India, Tamil Nadu, south of Chennai, Kanchipuram district, Mahabalipuram town, "hillock" near the centre, between Arjuna’s Penance and lighthouse
Hindu shrines, Rock cut temples and monasteries
640 – 674 AD
UNESCO World Heritage status
Part of "Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram", 1984, No. 249

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Front of the temple is adorned with six columns covered with stone slabs. It encloses a quadrangular forecourt (ardha mandapam) without a 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 the 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 the Vijayanagara Empire. In the process, the beautiful sculptures were chiseled away – but new values were not installed.

Floor between two pillars 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 off on the evil path." – it is not known why Vaishnavas did not erase this inscription.


  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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WorldYellow Recommended books

Tamil Nadu: The Heart of Dravidian India

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.

Mahabalipuram (Monumental Legacy)

Constructed 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.

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