India-Chennai, Madurai: Most beautiful archaeological sites
Mahabalipuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is the ancient port of the Pallava kingdom, and one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in India, with magnificent temples and sculptures dating from the seventh and eighth centuries AD (UNESCO). The Shore Temple, granite, from a promontory facing the Bay of Bengal and the temple is a structural (ie built rather than excavated) most important ancient South India. Also fascinating temples of Pancha rathas monolithic, carved from blocks of pink granite. Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities of India (along with Ayodhya, Dwarka, Hardwar, Varanasi, Mathura and Ujjain), full of artisans and silk cotton (beautiful precious hand-woven fabrics). The sanctuary is a great Ekambareshwar Shiva, with five yards one of which is a very old tree symbolizing Shiva in his ascetic form. The Kailasanatha, the temple-mountain, but mimics the abode of Shiva in the Himalayas. Very simple and elegant, has undergone very few changes. Minakshi, ancient goddess of fertility, then married to Sundareshwara - a form of Shiva, is at the center of religious worship in Madurai.
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