- Significance : One of the Biggest Open-Air Rock Canvases in the World
- Built by :
- Location : Mahabalipuram, (Tamil Nadu)
A sculptured marvel at Mahabalipuram, often called “Arjuna’s Penance”, is an enormous relief made on two huge boulders. One of the biggest open-air rock canvases in the world, this bas-relief is 31m long and 9m high. The surface of the rock has detailed carvings, showing the most endearing and natural renditions of animals. Arjuna’s Penance, the exquisitely sculpted scene, which presents mans view of the universe, has over 100 figures of gods and semi divine creatures, birds and beasts, man and saint. All these figures are carved either facing or approaching the fissure and generally with hands folded in adoration. The cleft in the rock depicts the descent of River Ganga (also known as Ganges), brought to earth by King Bhagiratha to redeem the cursed souls of his ancestors. On the left side of the fissure can be seen a simple temple which contains a four-armed deity, probably Shiva. The fissure is sculptured with Nagas. Above the fissure and on either side of it are flying figures of Gods and below are some sculptures of animals of which giant elephants are the most impressive and are considered to be the noblest creations of the human mind.
Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers and a consummate archer, is shown standing on one leg, doing penance to obtain a boon from Lord Shiva. There is a forest with tribal people and all forms of animal life, just as they would appear in their habitat. Women are clothed in an aura of indescribable grace, a rich inner beauty transfiguring the plainest of them. The comic scene in the relief will amuse visitors where a cat is standing doing penance, while big and small rats are freely playing around the feline ‘Tapaswi’. A monkey family has also been depicted in a very exquisite and appealing manner. In the liveliness of each figure, one can notice the intense and naive love of life that characterizes the Buddhist art at Sanchi.
Rock Fort Temple
- Temple Complex : Collection of Three Temples
- Built by :
- Location : Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu)
The Rock Fort temple complex in Tiruchirappalli is a collection of three temples – the Manikka Vinayaka temple at the foot of the hill, the Uchhi Pillayar Koyil at the top of the hill and the Taayumaanava Koyil (Shivastalam) on the hill. This Shivastalam is a rock cut temple on a hill in the most prominent landmark in Tiruchirappalli (Trichy); reached by a flight of steps on the way to the famous Ucchi Pillaya temple. This shrine houses Kangaala Moorthy, one of the 64 manifestations of Shiva. The approach to the temple is through a flight of covered stairs. Towards the end of the climb, the Tayumanavar temple is towards the west and the Uchipillayar temple towards the east.
There is a rock cut Pallava temple – Lalitankura Pallaveswaram in this hill temple complex, with several inscriptions here attributed to Mahendravarma Pallavan. In addition the Cholas, the Vijayanagar rulers and the Nayaks of Madurai have made extensive contributions here. The two storeyed Taayumaanava temple, built on (in!) a hill is a masterpiece of construction. The Chittira Mandapam (also spelt as Mandapa) houses a granite chain with nine loops. Tiruchirappalli itself has a long history, going back to the centuries before the Christian era, when it was a Chola citadel. The Pandyas and Pallavas held sway over the region for short periods. In the 12th century, Cholas were subverted by the Vijayanagar kings of Hampi, who proudly withstood the invading Muslims. Less than fifty years later, the Nayaks of Madurai came to power, constructed the Rock Fort, and firmly established Tiruchirappalli as the trading city.
- Memorial To : Tamil Poet-Saint Thiruvalluvar
- Built by :
- Location : Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
The Valluvar Kottam, on the corner of Kodambakkam High Road and Village Road, Chennai, is a standing memorial to immortal Tamil Poet-Saint Thiruvalluvar. It is a massive auditorium, constructed on reclaimed land from an unused lake filled with the city’s garbage and debris. It was opened in the year 1976 and the auditorium is said to be the largest in Asia and can accommodate about 4000 people.
All 1330 verses of the poet’s epic – the Thirukkural, are inscribed on the granite pillars that surround the auditorium and it has got no pillars for support. There is a 101-feet high temple chariot structure with a life-size image of the poet in it. This chariot is a replica of the temple car of Thiruvarur in Tamil Nadu. The base of the chariot shows in bas-relief the 133 chapters of the Thirukkural. Over 3,000 blocks of stone were used to create this memorial to Tamil culture.
Madras War Cemetery
- Built in : 1952
- Built by :
- Location : Chennai (Madras)
The Madras War Cemetery, a tribute to the valiant men and women who laid down their lives in the Second World War, was set up in 1952 by the Imperial War Graves Commission, which is now known as the “Commonwealth War Graves Commission” (CWGC). The Cemetery is maintained by the CWGC in partnership with the Indian Government.
The Stone of Remembrance greets the visitor to the Madras War Cemetery with the words from the Book of Ecclesiasticus ‘Their Name Liveth For Evermore’. Then there is the Cross of Sacrifice, which is set up on an octagonal base bearing a bronze sword upon its shaft. These two monuments are common to all large CWGC cemeteries.
The War Heroes
The Madras War Cemetery honors 855 men and women of the Commonwealth forces and one Polish airman who died during the war of 1939 – 1945. It has been a kind of second burial for these armed forces personnel, who died in the line of duty at different places while serving in various units during the war. Most of the graves were brought together from civil and cantonment cemeteries in the South and East of India. The Cemetery also has three non-world war graves.
Of the 857 war graves in the Madras War Cemetery, 659 served for the forces of United Kingdom, 110 served for the forces of West Africa, 49 for the forces of undivided India (India before partition), 17 for the forces of Canada, 14 for the forces of Australia, 5 served for the forces of New Zealand, one for Burma (Myanmar), one for Malaya and one for Poland.
There is also a memorial to soldiers, who died in the First World War (1914 – 1918). It is known as the “Madras Memorial”. The Madras Memorial has all the 1,039 men who died in the First World War inscribed on it. This was done, because the permanent maintenance of the graves of these men in various civil and cantonment cemeteries was not assured. The Madras Memorial honours 936 men from the forces of United Kingdom and 103 from undivided India.