The Secrets of Mahabalipuram
Sometimes, it takes a natural calamity to unveil the secrets of history that have stayed hidden for so long. For it is only after a colossal event that one can see if the legends are true or false.
A sight to behold.
Legend of Mahabalipuram
Once upon a time, there lived a devotee so staunch, that he vouched for the existence of Lord Vishnu in all things on this Earth. His beliefs turned true when lord Vishnu saved the devotee by tearing off the king’s head. The devotee named Prahlada became king. It is said that he had a son named Bali, who founded the magnificent city of Mahabalipuram.
Legend has it that Mahabalipuram had seven pagodas or temples. At the sight of this splendid mortal creation, many gods, including Lord Indra, turned green with envy. Thus, he unleashed a thunderous storm that is said to have submerged the seven pagodas that once marked the magnificent structures of Tamil Nadu.
Another theory suggests that the city was founded by King Narsimha Varman I, also known as Mahamalla. The city was named after him as Mamallapuram. After the founding of the city, the Pallava kings began carving ‘cave temples’ into rocky hillsides.
Many historians also believe that the seven pagodas may have existed although, the evidence in their works, the archaeological evidence was lacking.
However, during the tsunami of 2004, as the water receded from the shore, many witnesses claim to have seen large rows of rocks that extended to the temple.
Once the word got out after the tsunami, the ASI and the Indian Navy stepped in to find out all that they could about the seven pagodas and the submerged temples of Mahabalipuram.
Their efforts paid off when the team found submerged temples off the shore. Although the functions of the buildings remained unclear and another structure pre-dated the others, the group could hypothesize that the submerged temples may be related to the myth of the seven pagodas.
Fishermen to this day say that six of the temples or pagods are visible under the waves when they take their boats out in the water. Though it is difficult to determine if the structures in the water are what was seen by European travellers in the 7th century, one can believe that the shore temple complex did comprise other buildings too.
Sometimes, people discard legends as mere anecdotal instances due to their lack of proof. But in this exceptional case, the legend is perhaps all true.
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