There are many ancient cities in Tamil Nadu, one of which is Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram which is located on the Sea Coast. The history of this city is very ancient and grand. Brief information about this city is presented here.
Why its name is Mahabalipuram:
The city was named after the great demon king MahaBali. Mahabali donated three steps of land to the Vamana avatar of Vishnu. Lord Vaman measured Trilokya in two steps and then asked where to place the third step, Rajan, then Mahabali said to God Vamana, now only my head is left, you can keep your step on it. Impressed by Mahabali’s charity and truthfulness, Lord Vamana made him the Chiranjeevi king of Patal Lok and he became the watchman there. It is said that even today MahaBali is alive. He is worshiped in Kerala.
How Mahabalipuram became Mamallapuram?
It is said that later the Pallava king Narasimha Varman, who was known as Mamalla, renamed Mahabalipuram as Mamallapuram. Even after naming Mahabalipuram as Mamallapuram by King Narasimha Varman, today people know this place more as Mahabalipuram.
Many temples and places built by the Pallava kings of the 7th and 10th centuries adorn the place. This was the second capital of the Pallavas who ruled Kanchipuram. After the fall of the Gupta dynasty, the Pallava kings ruled South India. They maintained their dominance from about the 3rd century to the end of the 9th century. Many great poets, dramatists, artists, artisans, scholars, and saints were born during the reign of the Pallava kings. In the matter of workmanship, the kingdom of Pallavas was leading.
The great monk Bodhidharma was in the reign of Pallava kings. Bodhidharma was born in the royal family of Kanchipuram in the Pallava kingdom of South India. He was the third son of Raja Sugandha of Kanchipuram. He left the Kingdom at a young age and became a monk. At the age of 22, he attained enlightenment (the first state of salvation). One who does not know Bodhi Dharman, one of the great monks of the world, would also not know the history of martial arts. Bodhi Dharma taught martial arts and knowledge like Kung Fu in China. After becoming enlightened, he was sent to China for the propagation of truth and meditation on the orders of the queen’s mother.
It is also said that when Hiuen Tsang traveled to India, he came to Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram and gathered information about Buddhism by staying there.
The kingdom of King Bali was in the whole of South India. He made Mahabalipuram his capital. Prahlad was the son of Hiranyakashyap, a descendant of the famous mythological character Vritra (the first cloud). Mahabali was the son of Prahlad’s son Virochan. Actually, Kashyap Rishi’s wife Diti had two prominent sons Hiranyakashyap and Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakashyap had 4 sons – Anuhallad, Hallad, Bhakta Prahlad and Sanhallad. King Bali, the son of Virochana was born in Prahlad’s clan. Mahabali took part in the churning of the ocean.
Temples of Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram:
It is said that there were hundreds of temples here in Ancient times. This place was very famous for its many grand temples, architecture, and seashores. It is believed about Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram that 7 temples were established on its shore in the 17th century and except for one coastal temple, the remaining 6 temples were submerged in the sea.
This temple situated on the beach of Mahabalipuram is an example of Ancient Architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu, the Shore Temple was built around 700-728 AD. This Temple is called Stone Temple because the part of the temple is made of granite stone, which looks very beautiful to see. In the courtyard of the temple, there are stone sculptures of seven pagodas which are wonderful to see. This temple has a different story.
Panch Rath Temple:
The second temple on the beach of Mahabalipuram is the temple called Pancha Rathas or Chariots of the Five Pandavas. It is a beautiful monument complex built by Mahendra Varman Ist and his son Narasimha Varman Ist in the 7th century. The five monuments of the Pancha Rathas are completely designed like chariots, all carved out of granite stone. Artifacts depicting the story of Mahabharata are seen in it. All these chariots in size from largest to smallest are as follows- Dharmaraj Rath, Bhima Rath, Arjuna Rath, Nakula and Sahdev Rath, and Draupadi Rath.
Memorial of descent of Ganga:
These monuments of the descent of the Ganges are located on the Coromandel Coast of Mahabalipuram in the Kanchipuram district. This monument of 96 X 43 feet shows beautiful artistry. This is a big stone in which a very wonderful depiction of the origin of the Ganga has been done by digging.
These caves are the best artifacts of Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram. Outside these are sculptures of lions carved out of stone. This was also built by the Pallava kings.
Krishna’s Butter Ball
In Mahabalipuram, South India, a 1200-year-old stone is kept in a very strange way. Seeing this, it seems that it will fall down a little bit, but it is not so. The width of this stone is 5 meters and the height is 20 feet. In 1908, when the then Madras Governor Arthur saw this stone, he felt that this stone could become the cause of a major accident, so he dragged this stone with 7 elephants to remove it from its place, but this stone did not move from its place but It Didn’t move even 1 inch.
Ignoring the laws of gravity, a stone rests on a sloping hill at an angle of 45° without rolling. People also call this stone as ‘Krishna’s Butter Ball’ because they believe that this stone is the butter ball that Krishna dropped down in his childhood.