Mahabalipuram is an ancient city located in the Kancheepuram district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Historically speaking, Mahabalipuram was once part of the Pallava Dynasty, a Tamil dynasty that ruled over part of southern India between the 3rd and 9th centuries AD. One of the architectural achievements of the Pallava kings was the construction of a complex of temples commonly known as the ‘Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram.’ Of these seven temples, only one – the Shore Temple, remains visible today. The other six temples are thought to have been submerged under the sea.
The Name of the Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram
Sources say that the name Mahabalipuram is meant to honor the benevolent King Bali, also known as Mahabali. This king is recorded to have sacrificed himself to Vamana, the fifth avatar of Vishnu, following which he is said to have attained enlightenment.
Mahabali sacrificing himself to Vamana. (Public Domain)