Chennai Mathematical Institute


3.30 p.m.

Dr. S. Swaminathan



On Mamallapuram

Mahablipuram, more correctly, Mamallapuram is the picnic spot for most Chennai denizens. Proximity to the city and the seashore are great attractions. The monuments here are just 'some' sculptures for them. But, for art lovers from across the globe, these are epitome of Indian classical art, only equalled by the Guptas.

Mamallapuram is a one-stop shop for Indian temple architecture, for only here one can find all the three stages of temple architecture, namely, excavated cave shrines, monolithic temples and structural temples. There is one more as a bonus; open-air bas-reliefs are not found any where else other than Mamallapuram. Mamallapuram offers even more. The architecture and the sculpture here are classical in style, and one wonders where the Pallavas did the experimentation.

Spread over a vast area, the monuments here are a treat to the eye, the heart and the mind. For the curious there are a number of puzzles: why most of the monuments are unfinished and which king has caused them are just samples.

I would attempt to give a preview to this unfinished poetry in stone using a number of slides.


About the speaker

S. Swaminathan taught mechanical engineering at IIT Delhi for over three decades. He has been exploring the relation between individual and the society and also between culture and development. Now settled in Chennai, he is involved in a number of activities to make the youth to take our heritage seriously. He is also keen to compile a cultural atlas of Tamilnadu.

Residence: S. Swaminathan 3rd Floor, New No.21/Old No. 10 4th Trust Cross Street Mandavelippakkam, Chennai - 600 028, Phone: 2461 1501 Web: Powerpoint Presentations: Trip to Mahabalipuram Office: Marg Constructions 501, Apex Chamber, Pondy Bazaar, T Nagar, Chennai-600 017 Ph. 044-2434 7458 (Direct); 2434 0727; 2434 8717