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Monday, December 7, 2009

Historical Sites near Chennai - Marakkanam

17 August'2009: A small group of around 20 "Ponniyin Selvan" enthusiasts had planned a visit to little known but significant historical sites near Chennai on the Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry route also known as East Coast Road. The group met and boarded a mini bus at Tiruvanmiyur at the Maruntheeswarar Temple(A ancient Siva Temple). From there we drove straight to Mahabalipuram, around 50 Kms from Chennai, where we stopped over at the outskirts for breakfast of piping hot idli/dosa/vada/pongal/coffee at Anandas. Next we drove to Marakkanam on the Pondicherry road and visited the Bhoomiswarar Temple. This is an ancient Siva temple belonging to the Chola period -which means around 1000 years old. This is evident from the stone epigraphs on the temple walls which contains references to Raja Raja Chola.
In Hinduism Shiva is considered The Destroyer and is one of the Trimurtis - the other two being Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Protector. Raja Raja Chola was one the greatest Tamil Kings to rule over South India and his sphere of influence spread across the sea to Srilanka as well as to many South East Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia,Cambodia, etc.
Incidentally Ponniyin Selvan is a historical fiction written about 60 years ago by the celebrated Tamil writer Kalki. The story revolves around characters durring the period when Raja Raja Chola was a young man and had not yet ascended the trone.

The colorful richly embellished Maruntheeswarar Temple entrance gopuram The sanctum of valmiki at Tiruvanmiyur
The Ponniyin Selvan Group alighting for breakfast at Anandas
View of Pallava quarry & unfinished rathas as seen from highway at Mahabalipuram
The view of the Bhumiswarar temple on entry

The base of the dwaja sthambam or flagstaff
Nandi the bull - the celestial vehicle of the Hindu God Siva Epigraphs on stone walls of the temple or KalvettuMore Epigraphs on stone walls & Buddhist faces above
Stone Idol of Dakshinamoorthy - the South facing God destroying the evil muyalavan. In every Siva temple the stone image of Dakshinamurthy is installed, on the southern circumambulatory path around the sanctum sanctorum. Dakshinamurthy is an aspect of Shiva as a guru (teacher) . - his personification as the supreme of awareness, understanding and knowledge.Stone epigraphs in Tamil Script on temple wall
Stone idol of the three headed Hindu God Brahma - the Creator of the Universe
Evidence of Buddhist Influence in the temple Architecture
Stone idol of Bhairavar the fierce manifestation of Shiva associated with annihilation. He is one of the most important deities of Nepal, sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike.
He is depicted ornamented with a range of twisted serpents, which serve as earrings, bracelets, anklets, and sacred thread (yajnopavita). He wears a tiger skin and a ritual apron composed of human bones.Bhairava has a dog as his divine vahana (vehicle).

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful and informative. I had been to Mammalpuram and Pondi from Chennai. I had no idea about this historical sights on the way. May be I will visit this place sometime in feature.

    My India Travel

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