Exploring Mahishamardini Rock Cut Mandapa - Photos & Information from Nithin Mathew

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Mahishamardini Rock Cut Mandapa

Mahishamardini Rock Cut Mandapa


This is a rock cut cave temple located on a hill, dating 7th century. This is a part of monuments at Mahabalipuram. This temple has many interesting architectural features, especially the exquisitely carved inner walls depecting the stories from Hindu mythology. The temple faces east and has three chambers, and the oldest lighthouse of India, constructed in the 7th century stands on top of the temple.

According to legend, Durga killed the demon Mahishasura, who was considered unconquerable. Hence, following his slaying, she was given the title Mahishasuramardhini (conqueror of Mahisha). The granite-carved cave temple depicts the goddess Mahishasuramardhini, considered an incarnation of the goddess Durga, and is named after her as "Mahishasuramardhini Cave Temple". The cave's northern wall depicts this battle. The goddess is shown riding a lion, her several arms holding a bow and arrow, pursuing the retreating Mahisha and his followers. The southern wall depicts the sculpture of Vishnu in reclining posture.

To get to the temple, you will have to walk a small hill. It sits amidst a garden of tall trees. You can roam around freely, and can even visit and take picture inside the cave temple. Also, we climbed on top of the large rock housing the temple and enjoyed a scenic view of the surroundings from up there. It is pretty mesmirizing to be so close to the ruins of the older lighthouse, overlookign the newer lighthouse and watching the sea at a distance and the sun setting on the other side.

Nithin Mathew

Visited on Jun 2018