The Secret of the “Seven Pagodas”
The ‘seven pagodas’ was used as a nick name for Mahabalipuram from the time when early European explorers went there. The 7 magnificent temples including the shore temple built during the 8th century CE under the rule of Narasimhavarman II has an interesting story to narrate:
A brief note on the Legend:
The legend takes us back to the famous Hindu story of Vishnu and Prahalada. It’s said Prahalada’s father Hiranyakasipu refused to worship Vishnu as he thought of himself as a God .But Prahlada the prince, was an ardent devotee of lord Vishnu and was immovable in his faith towards Vishnu. One day an argument began between father and son, and Hiranyakasipu bellowed to Prahlada to show him Vishnu in the pillar nearby and struck the pillar. A glorious entry was made from the pillar by Vishnu with a lion’s head and a man’s body and killed Hiranyakasipu freeing the oppressed. Prahlada become the king, and had a son named Bali. Bali is said to have founded Mahabalipuram on this site we know today.
Tit Bit:Marco Polo is considered to be one of the earliest European visitors to Mahabalipuram.
There were no records found on the existence of the other temples, but based on theorists and research notes it’s suggested that Narasimharavarman I was the city’s earliest inhabitant. Approximately 30 years before the founding of Narasimharavarman I’s city, Pallava King Mahendravarman I had begun a series of “cave temples” which were carved out of hillsides.
Narasimharavarman I also ordered construction of free-standing temples, called rathas.
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