A straight road to Mahabaliburam from Chennai took us about an hour drive, hot day it was, dust, dust, dust, flying everywhere, low flat lands, from shops, houses to nice bungalows along the way, a better sight compared the city. A stretch of brown sandy beach on my left hand side about a mile away, quite enticing, wanting to take a dip in that blue cool waters of Bengal Bay.
We reached a tourist spot, lots of shops displaying paintings, statues of Gods, costume jewelries, making of leather sandals and slippers and granite carvings are quite nice to watch, and a rare treat for me after so many days in India I finally see some cottage industries that I long for. Believe it or not I bought a pair of slippers. Come on!...we need to support local products. Some stayed below the trees, lazed in the heat, waiting for customers. I walked further to the beach, had to buy a ticket to the Mahabaliburam Shore Temple on the sandy beach. A beautiful old temple some 1400 years ago, protruded out from the sandy beach, like a kingdom out of nowhere but simply amazing, believe to be Lord Shiva when I
peek into the shrine, surrounded by many sculpted statues of Gods, Lord Durga on the Lion and Nandi, with a narrow passage rounding the temple telling me how cool it was when I am in between the walls scouting nice angles for my camera. I felt glad. Even more than glad, this large complex of temples were uncovered by 2004 Tsunami and the best part is that more areas of the temple were being investigated and recovered many artifacts and statues from the sea, likely more to see in the near future.
I could see the Indian kids and adults climbed up and down; seem like a playground for all ages which amuses me with a quirk on my lips end. Wondered why not the Europeans, Japanese and I did not follow suit.
We then took a 10 minutes drive to the next spot, to where lay another greater attraction of Mahabaliburam. The cave temple with sculpted statues on the walls, a huge place where it took us at least a two hours walk up and around the hill. Some ruins were scattered on the hill with a light house on the far end right hand side facing
the sea. All these great statues were carved from the granite hill. Some of the intricate sculptures on the pillars and walls are still intact that all these are protected by the UNESCO. These were built in the 7th
century. There are Arjuna’s penance sculptures, also known as the Descent of the Ganges with families of elephants and monkeys. Mahishamardini is filled with Lord Shiva, Parvati and Lord Murugan’s sculptures. Impressive sculptures of Vishnu, Gakalakshmi, Trivikama and Lord Durga can be found in Varaha Cave.
A gigantic round rock is one of the great features. It is known as the Krishna’s Butter Ball. How did it landed there……beats me. Just do not rest below the rock, can be a shady place but anytime you can be a flat piece of dough with tomato sauce oozing out from all sides. No joke. Take my advise.
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