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Newer Page 954 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
India Chennai Mamallapuram Monkeys

10 December 2005

Mamalapuram

Just up the road from lunch, we arrive at the main stop for the day - Mammalapuram, sculptures and caves carved out of massive stones from the 6th century a.d. - yes 1400 years old really!
There are a number of sites, some depicting hindu gods, brahma the creator, vishnu the saviour and sheva the destroyer (now...if I am getting any of that wrong, or if I get it wrong in describing the photos, please accept my apologies!).

India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - A series of carvings out of solid rock, the lions and elephants are common themes, some parts remain unfinished due to war breaking out in the 6th cen

A series of carvings out of solid rock, the lions and elephants are common themes, some parts remain unfinished due to war breaking out in the 6th century.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - A view inside one of the carvings, its all one rock, even the pillars are part of the rock, not added afterwards. You can see my friend Vaigunth in th

A view inside one of the carvings, its all one rock, even the pillars are part of the rock, not added afterwards. You can see my friend Vaigunth in the bottom right, we will see him a few times lurking about!


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Another view of one of the carvings - these apparently are not temples just elaborate artwork, later we shall see a very sacred temple.

Another view of one of the carvings - these apparently are not temples just elaborate artwork, later we shall see a very sacred temple.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Very intricate carving.

Very intricate carving.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - One more of this area!

One more of this area!


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - A hindu god carved into the wall of one of the carvings, I am not sure if it is vishnu, sheva or brahma - to confuse matters further the same god can

A hindu god carved into the wall of one of the carvings, I am not sure if it is vishnu, sheva or brahma - to confuse matters further the same god can be depicted in a number of ways, one can have a human body and an elephant head, and vishnu can appear as a phallus...as we shall see later!


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Heres a tablet explaining whats in the above pictures.

Heres a tablet explaining whats in the above pictures.


The next area is a lighthouse, also dating back to the 6th century, my friends are unclear as to what generated the light then, but one of the 20 or so 'guides' who are beggars expecting to get paid for telling me to watch my step, tells us it was 'oil flame - very bright'. The british constructed a replacement lighthouse in the late 1800's, right on the same site, which still operates today.

India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Walking towards the ancient lighthouse.

Walking towards the ancient lighthouse.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - View from half way up the lighthouse - dodging monkeys by now...keep reading! On a more serious note, those waters are floodwaters receding back into

View from half way up the lighthouse - dodging monkeys by now...keep reading! On a more serious note, those waters are floodwaters receding back into the ocean, normally the land here is dry, also this area was badly hit by the tsunami and since then is prone to flooding.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Best picture ever! My Indian friends are more scared of the monkeys than I am, and keep yelling 'bite! bite! careful!' some other women around the sit

Best picture ever! My Indian friends are more scared of the monkeys than I am, and keep yelling 'bite! bite! careful!' some other women around the site are screaming whenever the monkeys run about, they dont seem scared of people.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - View from atop the ancient lighthouse of the british lighthouse.

View from atop the ancient lighthouse of the british lighthouse.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Looking at the ocean - no sign of tsunamis.

Looking at the ocean - no sign of tsunamis.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Who is that stupid looking wind swept tourist?

Who is that stupid looking wind swept tourist?


We now move around under the lighthouse, it starts to rain so we enter into a cave, there are many carvings of hindu gods, both good and bad, this still isnt a temple, but it was used as a marriage hall apparently.

India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - The figure riding the horse is vishnu, the figure with the bulls head is sheva - shevas blood forms demons (once again, I am sure I am getting this wr

The figure riding the horse is vishnu, the figure with the bulls head is sheva - shevas blood forms demons (once again, I am sure I am getting this wrong, please forgive me!)


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - I believe this is Brahma - the creator, surrounded by the hindu version of angels.

I believe this is Brahma - the creator, surrounded by the hindu version of angels.


Next we head to the most sacred site at Mammalapuram - the shore temple.
This is a place where kings would come to pray before heading off to war.

India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Along the way, heres another carving in a giant rock, this one is purely decorative.

Along the way, heres another carving in a giant rock, this one is purely decorative.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Balancing rock - also please note cell phone tower, built right on the sacred site! One of my friends mothers is SMS'ing the cricket score just about

Balancing rock - also please note cell phone tower, built right on the sacred site! One of my friends mothers is SMS'ing the cricket score just about ball by ball, and when Tendulkar get a century, a picture of him celebrating is sent.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Approaching the shore temple, I check once again for tsunamis, apparently the sea is very rough by indian standards, no fishermen dare venture out, it

Approaching the shore temple, I check once again for tsunamis, apparently the sea is very rough by indian standards, no fishermen dare venture out, it doesnt look so bad by Australian standards.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - Inside the shore temple, you can see a black stone - this is a phallic representation of lord sheva (Shiva?), my friends are discussing things with a

Inside the shore temple, you can see a black stone - this is a phallic representation of lord sheva (Shiva?), my friends are discussing things with a soldier....


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - I am allowed to enter the temple! and get up close and personal with the phallus! I decline the invitation to touch it.

I am allowed to enter the temple! and get up close and personal with the phallus! I decline the invitation to touch it.


India-Chennai-Mamallapuram-Monkeys - View of the shore temple - personally I find the other carvings more impressive, but this one has more significance.

View of the shore temple - personally I find the other carvings more impressive, but this one has more significance.


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