Mahabalipuram in the East Coast of Tamil Nadu used to be one of the two major port cities in the Pallava kingdom of Tamil Sangam-era (3rd century BCE to 3rd century CE). The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram is a collection of 7th- and 8th-century CE monuments. It has 40 ancient monuments and temples, including one of the largest open-air rock reliefs in the world: the Descent of the Ganges or Arjuna's Penance. Although the ancient history of Mahabalipuram is unclear, numismatic and epigraphical evidence suggest that it was a significant location even before the monuments were built. It is speculated that it is the seaport of Sopatma mentioned in the 1st-century Periplus of the Erythraean Sea or Ptolemy's port of Melange in his 2nd-century Geographia. Another theory posits that the port of Nirppeyarvu mentioned in the Perumpanarrupadai from the late 19th century to early 20th century may be Mahabalipuram or Kanchipuram. A living museum, the well preserved life-like carvings are a sight to watch and an artifact to possess. This photograph is shot by Abul Kalam Azad in the year 2013.
The real and the carved, Mahabalipuram 2013
Abul Kalam Azad is an Indian visual artist and photographer based in Kerala. His works are largely personal explorations and documentation of experiences, and memories of his native land, people, and their culture. They deal with issues of identity, ethics, micro/macro history, and eroticism. His works have exhibited Nationally/Internationally in reputed museums and galleries. He has received Charles Wallace Award in the year 1996 and recognized by the French government through a scholarship grant. He is a recipient of grants from the Government of India and India Foundation for the Arts (IFA). He is the founder of Ekalokam Trust for Photography and Editor-in-chief of PhotoMail Online magazine.