Thursday, October 01, 2009

The submerged temples of Mahabalipuram (India)

The submerged temples of Mahabalipuram (India)
According to popular belief, the famous Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram wasn't a single temple, but the last of a series of seven temples, six of which had submerged. New finds suggest that there may be some truth to the story. A major discovery of submerged ruins was made in April of 2002 offshore of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, South India. The discovery, at depths of 5 to 7 meters (15 to 21 feet) was made by a joint team from the Dorset based Scientific Exploration Society (SES) and marine archaeologists from India's National Institute of Oceanography (NIO). Investigations at each of the locations revealed stone masonry, remains of walls, square rock cut remains, scattered square and rectangular stone blocks and a big platform with steps leading to it. All these lay amidst the locally occurring geological formations of rocks.

Based on what at first sight appears to be a lion figure at location four, the ruins were inferred to be part of a temple complex. The Pallava dynasty, which ruled the region during the 7th century AD, was known to have constructed many such rock-cut, structural temples in Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram.

The reasons for the submergence of the ruins are remain unclear.


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