Photo of the day - 2 August - Shore temple: Last of mysterious seven pagodas?

Where this Photo was taken?


 Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram


Story of this photo


There is a famous myth about the mysterious seven pagodas(temples) of Mahabalipuram. The ancient European sailors who passed through the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal have left some remarks about seven glorious “Pagodas(temples)” standing high against the Coastline.  The “Pagodas”  were visible from far out in the sea as their golden Shikhara(the tip of the tower) glittered in the blazing sun. Europeans called this land mark as “the land of seven Pagodas”. In later centuries, the ocean encroached to the Coast; all the Pagodas except one were buried under the deep sea. It is believed  that the seventh Pagoda that survived the ocean is still standing at Mahabalipuram and it is known as the Shore Temple. Myths apart, the “Shore temple” that currently exists in the Mahabalipuram Coast was built by Pallava King Rajasimha Narasimhavarman II during 700–728 AD. It is a subject of immense interest of archaeologists and history buffs to determine if the other six temples had actually existed. The old people in Mahabalipuram still remember their elder generations mentioning about seeing the tip of the seven pagodas far away in the sea with their gold plated Shikhara(tower) glittering in morning sun. This may be just an urban legend; however during 2004 Tsunami in the Bengal Ocean, Mahabalipuram beach pulled back around 500meters and tourists witnessed a large row of rocks emerging out of the water! It might be the remains of the seven pagodas.  As the coast line changed after Tsunami, it unearthed few sculptures which were previously submerged in water. It also indicates that there could have been ancient structures but now buried in the sea.

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