The town with a historical and spiritual significance, Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram, all set to host an informal summit between India and China on October 11 and 12. While both the countries are geared up for the meeting between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, it is important to delve into the historical significance of the location. About 60 kilometers away from the Chennai city, the State Government is making sure that the roads connecting Chennai and Mahabalipuram are developed. Some parts of the roads including East coast road, Old Mahabalipuram Road and the GST road are being recoated.
The Pallava and Chola kingdom have had strong maritime trade connections with Chinese since the seventh century. The evidence of different varieties of Chinese porcelain from the coastal sites of Tamil Nadu has proved the well-established trade contacts between India and China. All of this started when Hiuen Tsang (Xian Zang), the Chinese traveler of the seventh century, visited Kanchi, the capital city of Pallavas. The Pallava dynasty, which ruled this area between the 6th -9th centuries with their capital at Kanchipuram, created the wonderful architectural masterpieces in the current day Mamallapuram.
The world ‘Mamalla’ was a title conferred to Narashimavarman I, the Pallava ruler of the seventh century, who was responsible for most of the rock-cut temples and carvings at this place. ‘Mamalla’ means ‘a great fighter’ and so was how the city got its name. Later, the name Mahabalipuram was derived from Mamallapuram. The monuments of Mahabalipuram can be grouped as Monolithics, Caves, Temples, and Sculptured scenes. This group of Monuments at Mamallapuram was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1984, in recognition of its outstanding universal value, contribution to humanity in the field of art and architecture.
This is the place where PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will watch a culture show, have dinner, and a one on one at the beach. The Shore temple is the earliest representation of the structural temple at Mamallapuram. It belonged to the period of Narasimhavarman II aka Rajasimha Pallava. As this temple stands on the bedrock near the sea it is globally called as seashore temple and that is how it has got its name. There are two shrines in this temple; one that faces east and other faces that west. The two shrines have been named, Kshatriyasimesvaram and Rajasimhesvaram respectively.
PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be spending 20 minutes at the Five Rathas Temple as this place signifies China’s connect with India. There are a group of monuments simply called Five Rathas (chariot) in this location. These rathas or chariots resemble the processional chariots of a temple. These five rathas are hewn out of the solid rock to form five free-standing monolithic temples. These rathas were hewn during the reign of Pallava king Narshimavarman-I.
PM Modi will first receive Chinese President Xi Jinping at this place in Mamallapuram. This place depicts the story of ‘Kiratarjuna’, which is a part of the great epic Mahabharata. Two large boulders in this location represent the panoramic view of life in the forest. The cleft between these two boulders depicts the flow of the River Ganga. The sculptures over here show the great event of obtaining the weapon pasupatha from Lord Siva by Arjuna.