March 27, 2012

Mamallapuram Ramanuja Mandapa

Site Name: Ramanuja Mandapa
Site Type: Pallava architecture, mandapa, heritage
Location:  1.5 kms from bus stand, Mamallapuram, near Chennai (55 kms from Chennai), Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A famous heritage landmark
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

Ramanuja Mandapa is one of monuments located in Mamallapuram, the city of monuments, in South India. It is not as popular as the other monuments of Mamallapuram such as Shore Temple and Arjuna's Penance.

Ramanuja Mandapa is supposed to be a completely finished monument. (Please note that there are many monuments in Mamallapuram which are unfinished.) However, it is unfortunate to find that the monument is vandalised to a great extent.

The triple celled east facing cave shrine had the bas relief of Somaskanda in the central cell. The bas relief panel is not found today. The other two cells could have been dedicated to Brahma and Vishnu. The front facade of the cave monument is supported by two lion face pillars and two lion face pilasters. Two dwarapalaks images were present beyond the pilasters which are not found today. The extreme ends of both the sides have two small shrines with beautiful vimanas.

There is a small mandapa found in front of the cave shrine, which is a later addition. The stair cases that are found on either sides of the monument are also later additions. There is a tiny stone bed found opposite to the shrine.

Ramanuja Mandapa, although vandalised, looks attractive. When you visit Mamallapuram, ensure that you do not miss this great place.

Happy travelling.

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