Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)
India

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India 1983. Commonwealth Day. Temples at Mahabalipuram.

This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. 

It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous 'Descent of the Ganges', and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. 

  • India 1983. Commonwealth Day. Temples at Mahabalipuram. 

Shiva (Sanskrit for “auspicious one”), also called Siva, Hindu god who personifies both the destructive and the procreative forces of the universe. As the destroyer, he is represented wearing a necklace of skulls and surrounded by demons. His reproductive aspect is symbolized by the lingam, a phallic emblem. Shiva is also the god of asceticism and of art, especially dancing. He rides on the bull Nandi, and his consort is the mother goddess Uma, or Kali. Some Hindus worship Shiva as the supreme deity and consider him a benevolent god of salvation as well as a god of destruction.

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in India (on this website). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, India-section, for further information on the individual properties. 

 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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