Front view of Mahishamardani cave, Mahabalipuram
Photographer: Dibdin, Thomas Colman (1810-1893)
Watercolour of the Mahishamardani cave in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, Thomas Colman Dibdin (1810-1893), c.1845.
This drawing is for Dibdin's lithograph which was reproduced as plate 17 in J. Fergusson's 'Illustrations of the rock cut temples of India', published in London in 1845. Mamallapuram, a tiny village south of Chennai (Madras), was a flourishing port of the Pallava dynasty from the 5th - 8th centuries. The site is famous for a group of temples, a series of rock-cut caves and monolithic sculptures that were most likely created in the 7th century reign of Narasimhavarman Mahamalla. The caves are all fronted with fine columns resting on seated lions, typical of the Pallava style. This view depicts the Mahishamardini Cave Temple which consists of a long verandah with fluted columns and three shrines. It is famous for the large sculpture panels on the side walls of the shrines, considered among the masterpieces of Pallava art.