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View of the Olakkanatha Temple, a structural shrine above the Mahishamardini Cave Temple, Mamallapuram

View of the Olakkanatha Temple, a structural shrine above the Mahishamardini Cave Temple, Mamallapuram

Photographer: Rea, Alexander

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1885

Shelfmark: Photo 1003/(2215)

Item number: 10032215

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Olakkanatha Temple above the Mahishamardini Cave Temple at Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections taken by Alexander Rea in the 1880s. The small village of Mamallapuram on the coast south of Madras, was a very important site in the seventh-eighth centuries as it was the main port of the Pallava rulers of Kanchipuram. The rock-cut and the monolithic temples which were erected by Mamalla (r. c.630-68) and Rajasimha (r. c.700-728) represent the earliest examples of monumental architecture in southern India. The small free-standing Olakkanatha temple dates back to the early eighth century. It is on the summit of the hill where the Mahisamardini Cave is situated. The outer walls have figures of Shiva carved between pairs of pilasters. The superstructure has disappeared.

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