Visit The Mahabalipuram Temple Tamilnadu
Situated on the town hillock, near the Coromandel Coast, this temple lies in proximity to the Bay of Bengal. Mainly popular as rock-cut caves or mandapas, these temples comprise of bas-reliefs. According to historical artifacts, the construction era of these temples dates back to the reign of the Pallava rulers, around 8th century A.D. The constructional endeavors of these shore temples were the brainchild of the Pallava king Rajasimha.
Cultural significance of the temple
Popularly known as the Seven Pagodas, the shore temples of Mahabalipuram were as many as seven in numbers. But banking on the present day history, only one Mahabalipuram Temple stands tall, withstanding the cruelties of time. The magnanimous edifice stands tall essaying the mythological sagas of Mahabharata. Mainly known as Rathas, these monolithic structures contain five significant Rathas of Arjuna, Dharmaraja, Bhima, Draupadi, and Sahadeva. Not only do these temples portray the sheer architectural excellence of the Pallavas, but also contain a considerable cultural history of that age. Patronizing art to its fullest, these temples are known to host dance performances of various exponents, from all over the country.
Presiding deity of reverence
Paying a visit to the cave temples at Mahabalipuram will provide pilgrims and devotees, the opportunity to offer prayers to multiple deities. Beginning with five Rathas, one can pay their holy tributes to the Dharmaraj, Arjuna, Bhima, Sahadeva and Draupadi Ratha. Moreover, behind the Draupadi and Arjuna edifice lays the sculpture of Nandi. Other than this, there are Shore temples housing two distinguished shrines, faced towards the east and the west. These are the shrines of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
Describing the idol
While visiting the Mahabalipuram Temple kancheepuram, pilgrims and devotees are sure to be intrigued by the sculptural beauty of idols. The shore temples houses three shrines. First two shrines is the holy abode of Lord Shiva. The third one, without the presence of Vimanas, houses the idol of Lord Vishnu. Apart from the architectural beauty of the idols, one will come to the royal posture of Lord Vishnu, popularly known as Anantasayana. The serpent couch is his seat, and he bears the title of Stalasayana Perumal.
Other important shrines
Apart from the Vaishnava and the Shaiva shrines, the Lord Anantasavi image is also present. Moving southwards to the sanctum will reveal the Mahisasurmardini miniature along with a majestic structure of a lion. Again towards the east, one can find the existence of a small gopura. The inner sanctum of the gopura houses a Shiva linga. Other than that, there are panels containing structures of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, and baby Skanda.
Rituals at the temple
Worship procedures followed at the temple completely complies with the Vedic rules. There are priests performing Puja rituals with utmost dedication. One of the most important rituals performed at the temple is the Abhisheka or the sacred bath. Other than that, while offering prayers at the temple, pilgrims and devotees can also find the presence of a water chute. Popularly known as pranala, this structure offers perfect drainage for the Abhisheka waters. Apart from the main rituals, dedicated followers of the Lord cannot offer waters to the Linga. It is not prevalent in the temple, and the water offering is not supported.
Festivals and celebrations
During the month of December, Mahabalipuram records the maximum number of footfall. Commencing from 25th of December, a cultural extravaganza in the form of Mahabalipuram Dance Festival occurs in the region. Unique in nature and form, this is one of the most significant festivals of the state. The Department of Tourism, Tamil Nadu takes a keen interest in organizing the entire event. Those with a religious bent of mind, find this time of the year, appropriate for visiting the temple. Apart from the religious fervor, one can also experience the cultural heritage of the state.
Primarily, the dance performance occurs on an open air stage. Moreover, it has great religious significance, as the stage is adjacent to the spot of Arjuna’s penance. Mostly occurring on Saturdays, the celebrations provide an occasion of great joy and ecstasy for the Tamil Nadu inhabitants. Moreover, pilgrims across boundaries flock the temple arena to catch a glimpse of the internationally acclaimed performances of Bharatnatyam, Odissi, and other dance forms.
A famous pilgrimage destination
Around the year, thousands of pilgrims gather in the temple to offer prayers. Apart from that, the Mahabalipuram Shore temples bear the relics of the rich architectural heritage of the country. Apart from that, both nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, make it a point to visit the temple, during the month of December.