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 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.
Ramanuja Mandapam on the map
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Location, GPS coordinates: 12.6166 N 80.1918 E
Categories: Hindu shrines, Rock cut temples and monasteries
Values: Art, Architecture, History, Archaeology
Rating: 1.5 out of 10 stars
Where is located? 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
Religion: Hindu
UNESCO World Heritage status: Part of "Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram", 1984, No.249

Video of Ramanuja Mandapam

indiavideodotorg, March 2012

Landmarks of India

Key Gompa, India
Key Gompa / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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.

Hindu shrines

Sri Meenakshi Temple - gopuram
Sri Meenakshi Temple – gopuram / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
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.

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