March 18, 2012

Mamallapuram Pancha Pandava Mandapa

Site Name: Pancha Pandava Mandapa
Site Type: Monument, Heritage, Temple, Monolithic rock cut temple

Location:  1.2 kms from bus stand, Mamallapuram, near Chennai (55 kms from Chennai), Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: 8th century Pallava architecture
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 is a small town located near Chennai city in South India. The town is famous for its Pallava period monuments. There are a lot of monuments located in the town. Some of the monuments such as Arjuna's Penance, Shore Temple and Five Rathas are very popular. There are many sites which are not very popular among the tourists, although they are as good as the popular ones. Pancha Pandava Mandapa  is one such monument which is very beautiful but not popular.

On the right side of the popular Arjuna's Penance monument, Pancha Pandava Mandapa is located. It falls under the category of rock cut cave temples. The east facing monument is 50 feet long. This monument is an unfinished work. There is a central cell (shrine) without any deities. The front facade of mandapa is supported by six lion base pillars and two lion base pilasters. Behind these six pillars, there is another row of four pillars and two pilasters.

According to some scholars, this monument should have been started by the Pallava king Parameshvaravarman I (672 - 700 CE) and completed by his successor Rajasimha (700 -728 CE).

When you visit Arjuna's Penance next time, ensure that you visit this beautiful Pancha Pandava Mandapa too.

Happy travelling. 

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