Many a tourist has taken a picture having it as their backdrop. The immaculate proportions of this sculpture defy imagination. On a moonlit night one would easily mistake its silhouette for a real elephant. But what is it doing inside the `so called’ five rathas complex.
To understand this you got to understand the evolution of the humble temple towers of south India…however to make it short, we are taking you on a pictorial tour….just keep in mind that the sculptor did not just try to exhibit his art here but also wanted to educate the viewer…only 1400 years ago ! such was the knowledge pool then, that these places of worship were not confined merely to awaken religious thoughts but also served as veritable treasure houses of art, literature, theater, community etc.
Ok, back to the question .. Whats the elephant doing amidst all the art work in Mahabalipuram.
Seeing it as you walk towards the ratha complex you cant still make out the significance.
A few careful pointers …and you are focusing on the elephant and then the building next to it.
seeing them in isolation…no get them both into the same frame…not like that …not from the front…
move towards the side , the rear….now does it dawn on you. ….
yes, the style of the mandabam is called gajapristam …( Gaja – elephant, pristam – back…in sanskirt)…the greatness of this composition is the positioning of the two. Keep in mind both are carved out of live rock…and done specifically in that fashion …so that generations to come understand.
Read this in தமிழ்