March 22, 2012

Mamallapuram Krishna Mandapa

Site Name: Krishna Mandapa
Site Type: Monument, Heritage, Temple, Bas relief panel, Mandapa

Location:  1.2 kms from bus stand, Mamallapuram, near Chennai (55 kms from Chennai), Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Excellent bas relief architecture from Pallavas

Nearest Railway Station: Chennai
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Chennai

Hotel: A lot of options are available within Mamallapuram and East Coast Road outside the town
Restaurants: Many options and varieties across the town

Mamallapuram, the heritage town of Pallava kings, located near Chennai city in South India, is full of sculptural marvels. Some of the monuments such as Shore temple, Arjuna's Penance and Five Rathas are very popular among the tourists. Apart from these popular sites where the tourists throng in great numbers, there are many small but beautiful monuments found across the entire town. Krishna Mandapa is one such monument which is a good monument but not so famous.

Krishna raising Govardhana hill
The east facing Krishna Mandapa is located in the south of the famous Arjuna's Penance monument. It appears that originally it would have been constructed as an open air relief like Arjuna's Penance. Later, the pillared manadapa in front of the relief could have been constructed. The main theme of the bas relief is Lord Krishna lifting the Goverdhana hills to save the villagers from Indra's anger in the form of storm and heavy rain.

Krishna is shown as carrying the hill with his left hand. Next to him, three female figures and a child are carved out. After the third female, one interesting figure of a villager carrying his kid on his shoulder is found. Beyond that an impressive image of cow and few bas relief images of lion are found.

Cowherd milking cow

A little away from Krishna, his elder brother Balram is found with a couple. The cowherd milking the cow and the affection of cow towards its calf are depited in an impressive way at one corner. The man with a flute and the woman next to him carrying a kid, bull, the image of lion with human face and various cows and lions are some of the other interesting images found in this site.
When you visit Mamallapuram, I am sure you would not miss Arjuna's Penance. Along with that, ensure that you cover this little known Krishna's Mandapa also.
Happy travelling.

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