History Optional Paper-1 Solution- 2015 [Q. 5 (b)]

History Optional Paper-1 Solution: 2015 [Q.5 (b)]

Q.5(b) Why is Mamallapuram famous?


Mamallapuram is also called Mahabalipuram, which is historically important place. Mamallapuram dates back to the Tamil Pallava dynasty in the 7th-9th century. It was largely developed by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I Mahamalla in the 7th century AD. It is famous due to the following reasons:

(1) The temples of Mahabalipuram were built largely during the reigns of Narasimhavarman and his successor Rajasimhavarman and show the movement from rock-cut architecture to structural building.

The monuments are mostly rock-cut and monolithic, and constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture where in Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible. They are constituted by cave temples, monolithic rathas (chariots), sculpted reliefs and structural temples.
Famous monuments are:

(a) Descent of the Ganges – a giant open-air rock relief

(b) Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots)– Of the nine monolithic temples found in Mahabalipuram, the most important are Five Rathas known after the famous five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata fame. Each of these is carved from one single large piece of granite stone.

(c) Shore Temple, a structural temple along the Bay of Bengal with the entrance from the western side away from the sea.

(2) Mamallapuram was a port city of the Pallavas. They used the port to launch trade and diplomatic missions to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
An 8th-century Tamil text written by Thirumangai Alvar described this place as Sea Mountain ‘where the ships rode at anchor bent to the point of breaking laden as they were with wealth, big trucked elephants and gems

(4) Presently Mamallapuram is famous as a tourist town.

(5) The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Arjuna’s penance (also a prelim question asked in 2014) can be included as a single rock cut sculpture.


    1. Arjuna’s Penance is same as the Descent of the Ganges. The same rock relief is interpreted as both.


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