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This long post consists of four parts. The first three parts are about Mahabalipuram (or Mamallapuram as it is also known), and address issues raised by Graham Hancock's dives at the site in March/April of this year. The first, and longest, part addresses concerns raised by Graham Hancock about a recent comment I made at Ma'at. The second part addresses a 'challenge' posed by Christopher F. Ash at Ma'at in the last week or so. The third part introduces some material that I find mildly intriguing, particularly in light of the recent confirmation that ruined structures lie submerged off the coast at Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram. The fourth part (while not specifically about India) introduces some miscellaneous material that is relevant to the topic under discussion.


PART ONE


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Graham Hancock has made it known to me that he has taken exception to a recent post of mine on Ma'at. I apologise for the length of time it has taken me to respond publicly to Graham's concerns. This is due entirely to the length of my reply, and to the fact that I have only been able to work on it intermittently.


The relevant part of the post in question (posted on 19 July 2002) reads as follows:


"Have you read the Seven Pagodas of the Coromandel Coast post I drew your attention to above? This is the same source material GH draws on in Underworld to support his contention that a flood myth indicated that underwater structures lay off the coast of Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram. What GH seems to have failed to adequately mention in Underworld is that the eighteenth-century traveller William Chambers was told the legend by local Brahmins who already knew that structures lay offshore. Chambers was told that the tops of some of the 'padogas' had previously been visible where they broke the surface. To all intents and purposes, it seems that the legend told to Chambers was a later embellishment by local inhabitants to account for the a priori existence of submerged buildings. The story of their submergence is not contemporaneous with the inundation of the buildings."


The post can be read in its original context here ([www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com]).


**********


In an email titled "Not worthy of you Damian", Graham Hancock drew my attention to the following:


> You wrote on Ma'at:
>
> What GH seems to have failed to adequately mention in Underworld is that the eighteenth-century traveller William Chambers was told the legend by local Brahmins who already knew that structures lay offshore. Chambers was told that the tops of some of the 'padogas' had previously been visible where they broke the surface.
>
> In Underworld, page 120, I quoted J. Goldingham (1798) as follows:
>
> The surf here breaks far out over, as the Brahmins inform you, the ruins of a city which was incredibly large and magnificent. A Brahmin, about 50 years of age, a native of the place, whom I have had an opportunity of conversing with since my arrival in Madras, informed me his grandfather had frequently mentioned having seen the gilt tops of five pagodas in the surf, no longer visible.

> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Seven Pagodas, 34-35


***********


My email response to Graham was as follows:

> Graham,
>
> I was writing from memory, and I apologise if I misrepresented what you'd
written in "Underworld". In the interests of correcting my mistake, I'll
happily post your email response on the same thread as my original post
(without, I promise, making a song and dance about it), but I won't do so
unless you give me the go ahead.
>
> It's not my intention to make unsubstantiated claims about your work, so
apologies again if that's what I seem to have done.
>
> Regards,
> Damian


**********


In subsequent emails, Graham Hancock has made it clear that a private apology isn't appropriate for what he described as a "damaging slur-by-misrepresentation", and has asked me instead to post an apology or justification for my comments both at GHMB and Ma’at.


In one of my initial emails to Graham Hancock I wrote that I thought the meaning of my original post at Ma'at had been misunderstood (for my part, I'd initially misunderstood Graham Hancock's objections to be directed primarily at my confusing of Chambers and Goldingham), and that it hadn't been my intention to imply that Graham Hancock had failed to mention in Underworld that the pagodas had been visible above the surface at some point. Graham remains unconvinced by this explanation, but perhaps one way of addressing this question of misrepresentation is to provide links to posts (both at GHMB and Ma'at) where I have provided quotations of the specific passages from Underworld in question. I posted this material from Underworld when the news of the results of Graham Hancock's expedition to Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram was first announced. It seemed to me at the time to be a useful way of contributing to the resulting discussions on the MBs by making the relevant material available to posters who hadn't yet read Underworld. Here are the posts in question: (1) [www.grahamhancock.com] (4 April 2002); (2) [ []] (4 April 2002); and (3) [www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com] (14 April 2002).


**********


For its brevity if nothing else, the following post [www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com] (dated 4 April 2002) is perhaps the most relevant. I've reproduced it in its entirety here:


"According to the sources quoted by GH above, submerged ruins were visible off the coast at Mahabalipuram as recently as the eighteenth-century.


"To quote:


'The surf here breaks far out over, as the Brahmins inform you, the ruins of a city which was incredibly large and magnificent ... A Brahmin, about 50 years of age, a native of the place, whom I have had an opportunity of conversing with since my arrival in Madras, informed me his grandfather had frequently mentioned having seen the gilt tops of five pagodas in the surf, no longer visible.'.


"At first sight, then, these ruins don't seem comparable to the U-shaped 'structure' at Poompuhar (submerged at a depth of 23 metres) that GH and the team dived on initially, and about which no real consensus seems to have been reached according to the official expedition website [www.india-atlantis.org].


"I'll leave others to judge the veracity of the flood myth GH recounts at great length, and what - if any - relationship it bears to the known history of Mahabalipuram[…]".


**********


People can judge the quality or content of my posts for themselves, but I stand by my claim in my email to Graham Hancock that it is not my intention to make unsubstantiated claims about his work. Christopher F. Ash implied something similar in a post dated 7 May 2002, in response to which I posted a selection of quotes from past posts of mine here ([www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com]), which I felt demonstrated that that wasn't the case.


Here is an example of one of the quotes I directed Christopher's attention to:


"I maintain that there's absolutely nothing wrong with reading Underworld critically (this is how scientific and academic texts are routinely assessed, after all). If the arguments GH makes in Underworld are robust enough, they should stand up to a fair amount of critical engagement. Just because his claims about the "deeply submerged cities" in the Gulf of Cambay can be justifiably criticised, this doesn't mean that the rest of Underworld is immediately undermined. Unless, of course, you consider the book to be analogous to a pack of cards. If further critical engagement with individual chapters in the book indicates that the arguments are poorly constructed, though, then that's another matter entirely ..."


**********


Furthermore, in the same thread as the post to which Graham Hancock took exception, I provided a link ([www.thehallofmaat.com]) to an 'index' of all the threads that have been posted at Ma'at about Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram, where the quotations from Underworld are available to anyone who cares to wend their way through the various threads. If I was engaging in intentional misrepresentation, would I provide a link to threads which correct this perceived misrepresentation?


Since I started posting at Ma'at (and once I got the hang of html) I've acquired a bit of a reputation for providing links to past discussions on the MB. I explained my reasons for doing so in this post ([www.thehallofmaat.com]). I'm confident that the content and consistency of my MB posts will stand up to any amount of scrutiny, which is one of the reasons I try whenever possible to provide links to past discussions or relevant posts.


I stand by my right to criticise what Graham Hancock (or anyone else for that matter) has written if I have reasons for disagreeing with what they have written, or if I disagree with their interpretation of the available evidence. Graham Hancock, or anyone else for that matter, is entitled to criticise me in turn.


***********


Anyone who has followed any of my posts on Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram will know that news of Graham Hancock’s expedition to Tamil Nadu inspired me to go off and do a fair amount of research of my own (Mamallapuram is the original Tamil name for Mahabalipuram, so I favour this double-barrelled version to avoid confusion).


My interest in Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram was not motivated by a desire to discredit Graham Hancock's work, as the following post at Ma’at ([www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com]) dated 27 April 2002 hopefully makes clear:


"[…] I'm certainly learning a lot more about Mamallapuram than I knew before (the Pallavas sound like an intriguing bunch). I just wish we could have a decent internet exchange with GH himself, so we could all get our heads together and try and learn something that way (that's why I've really appreciated Mike Smith's posts about the dives at Mamallapuram). I'd also really like to know more about how Glenn Milne arrived at his 6000 BP date. Like you, I'm curious about what computer data he had available (the wording in the article above about Milne's contribution sounds ambiguous to me)? Unfortunately, GH has now headed off to Egypt so we'll hear nothing more until the middle of May."


**********


As the above post hopefully makes clear, my interest from early on has been primarily in the established history of Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram as it relates to the South Indian Pallava dynasty, the reigns of the kings Narasimhavarman-I and Rajasimhavarman, and the land-based monuments dated to the early medieval period (c. 7th century CE). Based on the material I've read, this established history provides (imo) the most likely context for dating the submerged ruins that GH/SES/NIO dived on back in March/April 2002.


My reading was initially restricted to what was available on-line, and I posted this material on GHMB on 4 April 2002 (due to changes in html at GHMB the same post can be read – with working links – here [www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com]).


Here are three examples of the material I derived from the internet:


(1) "Though now deserted, Mamallapuram was a substantial city, created as a port for overseas trade by the Pallava ruler, Narasimhavarman I - called 'Mamalla', the 'great fighter' – who reigned from c. 630 to 668. Today, a beach of white sand remains facing the deep blue of the bay of Bengal, and separated from the mainland by salt water inlets; it is covered with carved and excavated rock."
From [www.indiablessings.com].


(2) "After the death of Narsimha Varman I ... some construction was carried out at Mamallapuram and famous amongst these is the Shore Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva ... Local legend claims that there were once four other temples alongside of this, but they were washed away by the sea. In fact this existing temple also gives signs of melting away, from the constant onslaught of the sun and water erosion."
From [www.indianartcircle.com].


(3) "They say there were seven pagodas or temples on the shores of Mahabalipuram. All but one were pillaged by the rapacious sea, though there is little underwater evidence to substantiate their existence."
From [www.indianvisit.com]


**********


In light of some of this internet-derived material, I posted this ([www.grahamhancock.com] at GHMB (dated 10 April 2002) asking Graham Hancock for clarification of the historical context, particularly as it related to his criticism of the NIO press release.


I also posted quite substantial material relating to the geology of the Tamil Nadu coastline, particularly with reference to tectonic activity, cyclones, tidal waves and storm surges, monsoons, and coastal erosion. Anyone interested can read the following posts: (1) [www.grahamhancock.com] (14 April 2002); (2) [www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com] (13 April 2002); and (3) [www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com] (27 April 2002).


It is my understanding of this material (bearing in mind that I have no geological expertise) that has made me question the dating of the submerged structures (or at least the sunken coastline) by Glenn Milne to 6000 BP. I don't question Milne’s expertise, but Mohapatra and Prasad's article, "Shoreline changes and their impact on the archaeological structures at Mahabalipuram" (1999) suggests that there are local conditions along the Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram coastline that Milne might have been unaware of when proposing a possible date for the submergence of the coastline (as does some of the information contained in my posts above). My understanding of Milne's model is derived from what Graham Hancock has written in Underworld (the details of which are available here: [www.thehallofmaat.com]). It is also worth bearing in mind the stated circumstances surrounding Glenn Milne's proposal of a 6000 BP date. In his email to Graham Hancock (available in full here: [www.grahamhancock.com]), he writes: "I had a chat with some of my colleagues here in the Dept. of Geological Sciences and it is probably reasonable to assume that there has been very little vertical tectonic motion in this region [i.e. the coastal region around Mahabalipuram] during the past five thousand years or so […]" (my emphasis).


**********


Recognising the limitations of internet-derived material, I subsequently turned to the source material mentioned by Graham Hancock in Underworld, which is primarily restricted to M.W. Carr's Descriptive and Historical Papers Relating to the Seven Pagodas on the Coromandel Coast (1869). In addition to Carr's volume, I have also consulted <i>Notes on the Seven Pagodas</i> by Richard Temple et al. (which includes articles written in 1875, 1917, and 1924), N.S. Ramaswami's edited 2000 Years of Mamallapuram (1989), P.L. Samy's article, “Water Cult at Makapalipuram” (1976), K. Veluthat's The Political Structure of Early Medieval South India (1993), B.R.N. Sharma’s 2000 article "Studies on the Building Materials of Some Ancient Temples" (containing information on the Shore Temple), B.B. Lal's article 2000 article "Weathering and Preservation of Stone Monuments" (containing information on the Shore Temple), J.C. Harle's The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent (1994), J.A.B. Hegewald's Water Architecture in South Asia: A Study of Types, Development and Meanings (2002), A. Volwahsen's Living Architecture: India (1969), T.C.S. Rao's article "Geophysical Survey of Marine Archaeological Sites off East Coast of India" (1992), David Dean Shulman’s Tamil Temple Myths: Sacrifice and Divine Marriage in the South Indian Saiva Tradition (1980), and G.P. Mohapatra and M. H. Prasad's article "Shoreline changes and their impact on the archaeological structures at Mahabalipuram" (1999).


Of these sources, N.S. Ramaswami's 2000 Years of Mamallapuram is particularly interesting, including as it does extracts from a large number of accounts written about Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram over several centuries. The majority are travellers' accounts (as are the accounts by Chambers and Goldingham quoted by Graham Hancock in Underworld), and as such do not constitute 'scientific' evidence. Nevertheless, they do provide a number of contrasting accounts of Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram that are worth reading in conjunction:


I posted a selection of extracts (dated 26 April 2002) here ([www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com] of which the following are a representative selection:


(1) 1792: Quintin Crauford in Sketches relating to the History, Religion, Learning and Manners of the Hindoos, with a concise Account of the Present State of the Native Powers of Hindostan, London.


"There are ruins on the coast of Coromandel, near Sadras, called, by Europeans, the seven pagodas, by the natives, Mavalipuram. The remains of a palace and temple, of great extent, may yet be traced. Some of the inscriptions and hieroglyphics with which the walls abound, are no longer understood; and though tradition informs us that this place was at a considerable distance from the shore, many of the ruins are now covered with water, and when it is calm may be seen under it."


(2) 1815: William Hamilton (Editor) in The East India Gazetteer; containing particular descriptions of the Empires, Kingdoms, Principalities, provinces, cities, towns, etc., fortresses, harbours, rivers, lakes etc. of Hindostan and the adjacent countries [...]. London.


"... [On] the rocks washed by the sea, are sculptures, indicating that they once were out of it. East of the village, and washed by it, is a pagoda of stone, containing the Lingam and dedicated to Mahadeva. The surf here breaks far out, and (as the Brahmins assert) over the ruins of the city of Mahabalipuram, which was once large and magnificent; and there is reason to believe, from the traditional records of the natives, that the sea, on this part of the Coromandel coast, has been encroaching on the land ...".


(3) 1828: Bishop Reginald Heber in Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India, from Calcutta to Bombay, 1824-1825 [...]. Third ed. London, Three Vols.


"... One very old temple of Vishnu stands immediately on the brink [of the shore], and amid the dash of the spray, and there are really some small remains of architecture, among which a tall pillar, supposed by some to be a lingam, is conspicuous, which rise from amid the waves, and give a proof that in this particular spot (as at Madras) the sea has encroached on the land, though in most other parts of the Coromandel coast it seems rather receding than advancing ...."


(4) 1834: The Oriental Annual or Scenes in India: Comprising Twenty-five Engravings from Original drawings by William Damell R.A. and a descriptive Account by Rev. Hobart Caunter B.D. London.


"On the beach stands a very ancient Hindoo temple, much injured by constant exposure to sea-air and to the violence of the monsoons ... The sea has gained much upon this coast, and it is therefore to be presumed has swept much away; it has certainly encroached to some extent upon the walls of Madras within the recollection of many persons now living ...


"The temple [the Shore Temple] represented by Mr Daniell in the illustrative plate is of compact and beautiful stone-work and stands upon a rock jutting from the land into the sea. It is the remnant, such at least is the oral tradition of the place, of an ancient city, which has been overthrown by the constantly encroaching waters, and of which this structure alone remains entire. The resident Brahmins aver the fact of the former existence of this city and of its final overthrow by the sea ..."


(5) 1874: Rev. Maurice Phillips in the Indian Antiquary, Vol. 2, Bombay.


"... The situation of the Shore Temple, so close to the sea, shows plainly that ‘at one time buildings existed to the seaward which have been destroyed and overwhelmed by the sea’. Tradition confirms the view that the sea destroyed a large city. ‘In the catalogue of the Mackenzie manuscripts, it is stated that the whole coast from Mailapur or St. Thome, down to Mavaliveram, was overflowed by the sea and that many towns were destroyed. This tradition is confirmed by the appearance of a ruined city about two miles north of Mavaliveram, as mentioned by Sir Walter Elliot.


"That there has been a great convulsion of nature is proved by the unfinished state of the temples. And the great rent in one of the largest rathas [stone chariots]. Not one of the temples is finished. How is this to be accounted for better than on the supposition that a great earthquake lowered the coast and extended the bed of the sea? What else could have rent the massive ratha, probably very far below the surface in the ground, and so lowered all the rest? To imagine that the rock was cracked when the workmen were engaged in cutting it is not admissible ..."


(6) 1888: Manual of the Administration of the Madras Presidency, Vol. I. Madras.


"The Aulayam or Shore temple is a singular monument, and if not the most early is one of the best examples of structural primitive Dravidian architecture. Standing on the edge of the sea, it has suffered much from the action of wind and salt water. Part of the building lies ruined in the surf, and a solitary pillar is left erect in the midst of fallen blocks of stone. This temple was dedicated both to Shiva and Vishnu.


"This and the usual stone pillar in front of such temples left lying in the sea, as well as fragments of images, large quantities of stone and broken bricks lying about, some partially buried in the sea, plainly show that at one time buildings existed to the eastward, but have been overwhelmed by the sea. By tradition the whole coast from Mylapore to Mauvellipore was overflowed by the sea and many towns were destroyed ..."


(7) 1893: C.F. Gordon Cumming in Two Happy Years in Ceylon. London.


"Of the encroachment of the sea on the Coast of Cormandel and other parts of Southern India, we have visible proof in the fact of its having stayed half-way in the act of washing away at least one old city which now lies half beneath the waves. These have encroached to the very doors of the great temples, but sculptures and pillars still jutting up from the waters suggest how much of the old city has been altogether submerged. Some of the aged natives of the last generation remembered how in their youth, while sailing far out at sea, they could distinguish the forms of temples and other buildings lying deep beneath the waves. Some of these had cupilas of copper-gilt, which glittered in the early sunlight, but had gradually ceased to do so, and now the fishes vainly peer into those clear depths - the city is no longer visible. They suppose that the copper has corroded or that the foundations have given way".


(8) [c.] 1920s: Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, No. 40.


"This old Siva temple (Shore Temple) is built on the shore within a few feet of the sea at Mamallapuram, the ancient seaport of the Pallavas founded by Mamalla in the 7th century AD, and now popularly known as the Seven Pagodas. From its present position, it would seem that the sea has greatly encroached since the 8th century, as it is unlikely that the Pallavas would have built this temple so close to the sea, as during the monsoon heavy seas break right into the temple, and the Archaeological Department has had to construct a massive break-water all round the basement of the building to protect its foundations from being washed away. When the temple was first discovered, there were no signs of the large unfinished courtyard now to be seen on the west side of the building. This was completely hidden by centuries of drift sand 8 feet deep. It is possible that there was also a small enclosure on the east side, but all that now remains is the picturesque dipan, or lamp pillar, still standing on an isolated rock in the sea. The temples at Saluvankuppam 3 miles to the north of Mamallapuram and the ruined temple known as Mukunda Nayanar at the latter place were found buried in sand over 12 feet deep. It seems that this part of the coast was visited by a mighty tidal wave that destroyed Mamallapuram and the neighbouring suburb of Saluvankuppam, just as the seaport of Masulipatnam on the same coast was wiped out by an inundation of the sea in 1864 ..."


For anyone interested, there are more extracts from Ramaswami's 2000 Years of Mamallapuram here: [www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com] (providing earlier speculations about submerged structures) and here: [www.thehallofmaat.com] (demonstrating the confusion among European visitors about which monuments to identify as the Seven Pagodas).


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In the introduction to his edited book, Descriptive and Historical Papers Relating to the Seven Pagodas on the Coromandel Coast (1869), M.W. Carr writes: "The papers contained in this volume, descriptive of the Sculptures, Inscriptions and Monolithic temples known as the SEVEN PAGODAS, have been reprinted in a collected form, under the orders of the Government of Madras, with a view to promote the intelligent study and examination of these interesting relics of a bygone age. They have been selected as conveying valuable information on the subject, recorded by various competent observers at different times, but so scattered through the published transactions of learned Societies as to be rarely accessible to any one person visiting the spot". The papers included are those of William Chambers (1788), John Goldingham (1798), Benjamin Babington (1830), John Braddock (1844), Sir Walter Elliot (1844), and Charles Gubbins (1853).


The following is a lengthy extract from William Chambers' account of the oral tradition told to him by Brahmins at Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram, and which is referenced by Graham Hancock in Underworld. This is the same extract I posted previously on this thread: [www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com] (dated 11 May 2002).


"Some account of the Sculptures and Ruins at Mavalipuram, a place a few miles north of Sadras, and known to seamen by the name of the Seven Pagodas". By William Chambers, Esq.
[originally published in the Asiatic Researches, Vol. I. 1788.]



"[...] The writer of this account went first to view them in the year 1772, and curiosity led him thither again in 1776; but as he neither measured the distances nor size of the objects, nor committed to writing at the time the observations he made on them, he hopes to be excused if, after the lapse of so many years, his recollection should fail him in some respects, and his account fall far short of that precision and exactness, which might have been expected, had there then existed in India so powerful an incentive to diligent inquiry, and accurate communication, as the establishment of this society [ie. The Asiatic Society of Bengal] must now prove.


"The monuments he means to describe, appear to be the remains of some great city, that has been ruined many centuries ago; they are situated close to the sea, between Covelong and Sadras, somewhat remote from the high road, that leads to the different European settlements. And when he visited them in 1776, there was still a native village adjoining to them, which retained the ancient name, and in which a number of Brahmans resided, that seemed perfectly well acquainted with the subjects of most of the sculptures to be seen there.


"The rock, or rather hill of stone, on which great parts of these works are executed, is one of the principal marks for mariners as they approach the coast, and to them the place is known by the name of the Seven Pagodas, possibly because the summits of the rock have presented them with that idea as they passed: but it must be confessed, that no aspect which the hill assumes, as viewed on the shore, seems at all to authorize this notion; and there are circumstances, which will be mentioned in the sequel, that would lead one to suspect, that this name has arisen from some such number of Pagodas that formerly stood here, and in time have been buried in the waves. But, be that as it may, the appellation by which the natives distinguish it, is of a quite different origin: in their language, which is the Tamil, (improperly termed Malabar,) the place is called Mavalipuram, which, in Sanscrit [[i]sic
], and the languages of the more northern Hindus, would be Mahabalipura, or the City of the Great Bali. For the Tamulians, (or Malabars,) having no h in their alphabet, are under a necessity of shortening the Sanscrit word maha, great, and write it ma. They are obliged also, for a similar reason, to substitute a v for a b, in words of Sanscrit, or other foreign original that begin with that letter; and the syllable am, at the end, is merely a termination, which, like um in Latin, is generally annexed to neuter substances. To this etymology of the name of this place it may be proper to add, that Bali is the name of a hero very famous in Hindu romance; and that the river Mavaliganga, which waters the eastern side of Ceylon, where the Tamil language also prevails, has probably taken its name from him, as, according to that orthography, it apparently signifies the Ganges of the great Bali.


"The rock, or hill of stone, above mentioned, is that which first engrosses the attention on approaching the place; for, as it rises abruptly out of a level plain of great extent, consists chiefly of one single stone, and is situated very near to the sea-beach, it is such a kind of object as an inquisitive traveller would naturally turn aside to examine. It shape is also singular and romantic, and, from a distant view, has an appearance like some antique and lofty edifice. On coming near to the foot of the rock from the north, works of imagery and sculpture [one of which Chambers describes as being of a "grotesque and ridiculous nature" - DW] crowd so thick upon the eye, as might seem to favour the idea of a petrified town, like those that have been fabled in different parts of the world by too credulous travellers [...]" (pp. 1-4).


**********


Chambers continued:


"But though these works may be deemed stupendous, they are surpassed by others that are to be seen at the distance of about a mile, or a mile and an half, to the southward of the hill. They consist of two Pagodas [there are five, the five Rathas – note inserted by Carr; I posted a relevant illustration here: [www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com] - DW], of about thirty feet long by twenty feet wide, and about as many in height, cut out of the solid rock, and each consisting originally of one single stone. Near these stand an elephant full as big as life, and a lion much larger than the natural size, but very well executed, each hewn also out of one stone. None of the pieces that have fallen off in cutting these extraordinary sculptures are now to be found near or any where in the neighbourhood of them, so that there is no means of ascertaining the degree of labour and time that has been spent upon them, nor the size of the rock or rocks from which they have been hewn, a circumstance which renders their appearance the more striking and singular. And though their situation is very near the sea-beach, they have not suffered at all by the corrosive air of that element, which has provided them with a defence against itself, by throwing up before them a high bank, that completely shelters them [...].


"[...] [T]hough the outward form of the Pagodas is complete, the ultimate design of them has manifestly not been accomplished, but seems to have been defeated by some extraordinary convulsion of nature. For the western side of the most northerly one is excavated to the depth of four or five feet, and a row of pillars left on the outside to support the roof; but here the work has been stopped, and a uniform rent of about four inches breadth has been made throughout the solid rock, and appears to extend to its foundations, which are probably at a prodigious depth below the surface of the ground. That this rent has happened since the work began, or while it was carrying on, cannot be doubted; for the marks of the mason’s tools are perfectly visible in the excavated part on both sides of the rent, in such a manner as to show plainly that they have been divided by it. Nor is it reasonable to suppose that such a work would ever have been designed, or begun, upon a rock that had previously been rent in two.


"Nothing less than an earthquake, and that a violent one, could apparently have produced such a fissure in solid rock: and that this has been the case in point of fact, may be gathered from other circumstances, which it is necessary to mention in an account of this curious place.


"The great rock above described is at some small distance from the sea, perhaps fifty or an hundred yards [would be more correctly estimated at half a mile – note added by Carr], and in that space the Hindu village before mentioned stood in 1776. But close to the sea are the remains of a Pagoda, built of brick [a mistake: it is built of stone – note added by Carr], and dedicated to Siva, the greatest part of which has evidently been swallowed up by that element; for the door of the innermost apartment, in which the idol is placed, and before which there are always two or three spacious courts surrounded with walls, is now washed by the waves; and the pillar used to discover the meridian at the time of founding the Pagoda [more probably a flag-staff, dhvajastambha – noted added by Carr] is seen standing at some distance in the sea. In the neighbourhood of this building there are some detached rocks, washed also by the waves, on which there appear sculptures, though now much worn and defaced. And the natives of the place declared to the writer of this account, that the more aged people among them remembered to have seen the tops of several Pagodas far out in the sea, which being covered with copper (probably gilt) were particularly visible at sunrise, as their shining surface used then to reflect the sun’s rays, but that now that effect was no longer produced, as the copper had since become incrusted with mould and verdigris.


"These circumstances look much like the effects of a sudden inundation; and the rent in the rock above described makes it reasonable to conjecture that an earthquake may have caused the sea to overflow its boundaries, and that these two formidable enemies may have joined to destroy this once magnificent city. The account which the Brahmans, natives of the place, gave of its origin and downfall, partly, it should seem, on the authority of the Mahabharata, and partly on that of later records, at the same time that it countenances this idea, contains some other curious particulars, which may seem to render it worthy of attention. Nor ought it to be rejected on account of that fabulous garb, in which all nations, but especially those of the East, have always clad the events of early ages.


" 'Hiranyaksha (said they) was a gigantic prince, that rolled up the earth into a shapeless mass, and carried it down to the abyss, whither Vishnu followed him in the shape of an hog, killed him with his tusks, and replaced the earth in its original situation [the hog (boar-headed Varaha) refers to the third incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu – DW]. The younger brother of Hiranyaksha was Hiranyakasipu, who succeeded him in his kingdom, and refused to do homage to Vishnu. He had a son named Prahlada, who at an early age openly disapproved this part of his father’s conduct, being under the tuition of Sukracharya. His father persecuted him on this account, banished him, and even sought to kill him, but was prevented by the interposition of heaven, which appeared on the side of Prahlada. At length, Hiranyakasipu was softened, and recalled his son to his court, where, as he sat in full assembly, he began again to argue with him against the supremacy of Vishnu, boasted that he himself was lord of all the visible world, and asked what Vishnu could pretend to more. Prahlada replied, that Vishnu had no fixed abode, but was present everywhere. Is he, said his father, in that pillar? Yes, returned Prahlada. Then let him come forth, said Hiranyakasipu; and, rising from his seat, struck the pillar with his foot; upon which Vishnu, in the Narasimha Avatara, that is to say, with a body like a man, but an head like a lion, came out of the pillar, and tore Hiranyakasipu in pieces [the lion-headed Narasimha is the fourth incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu – DW]. Vishnu then fixed Prahlada on his father’s throne; and his reign was a mild and virtuous one, and as such was a contrast to that of his father. He left a son named Namuchi [an error: Virochana was the son of Prahlada, and father of Bali; Namuchi was the son of Viprachitti by Simhika, sister of Hiranyakasipu – noted added by Carr], who inherited his power and his virtues, and was the father of Bali, the founder of the once magnificent city of Mahabalipura, the situation of which is said to be described in the following verse, taken from the Mahabharata:-


[two lines of Sanskrit:]


"The sense of which is literally this:-


" 'South of the Ganges two hundred yojanas,
" 'Five yojanas westward from the eastern sea'."


[The yojana is a measure often mentioned in the Sanscrit books, and, according to some accounts, is equal to nine, according to others twelve English miles. But at that rate the distance here mentioned, between this place and the Ganges, is prodigiously exaggerated, and will carry us far south of Ceylon. This, however, is not surprising in an Hindu poem; but, from the second line it seems pretty clear that this city, at the time this verse was composed, must have stood at a great distance from the sea – note added by Carr.]


"Such is the Brahman account of the origin of this place. The sequel of its history, according to them, is as follows:-


" 'The son of Bali was Banasura, who is represented as a giant with a thousand hands. Aniruddha, the son of Krishna [Aniruddha was the grandson, not the son, of Krishna – noted added by Carr; bear in mind, too, that Krishna is an incarnation of Vishnu - DW], came to his court in disguise, and seduced his daughter; which produced a war, in the course of which Aniruddha was taken prisoner, and brought to Mahabalipura [Sonitapura, according to the Vishnupurana – cp. Wilson’s trans., Book V. chap. 33 – note added by Carr]; upon which Krishna came in person from his capital Dvaraka, and laid siege to the place. Siva guarded the gates, and fought for Banasura, who worshipped him with his thousand hands; but Krishna found means to overthrow Siva, and having taken the city, cut off all Banasura’s hands, except two, with which he obliged him to do him homage. He continued in subjection to Krishna till his death; after which a long period ensued, in which no mention is any where made of this place, till a prince arose, whose name was Malecheren [The same as Mallesudu? – note added by Carr; Mallesudu is a legendary ruler who, having refused charity to a Brahmin, was metamorphosed into an alligator], who restored the kingdom to great splendour, and enlarged and beautified the capital. But in his time the calamity is said to have happened by which the city was entirely destroyed; and the cause and manner of it have been wrapped up by the Brahmans in the following fabulous narration. Malecheren, (say they,) in an excursion which he made one day alone, and in disguise, came to a garden in the environs of the city, where was a fountain so inviting, that two celestial nymphs had come down to bathe there. The Raja [ie. king – DW] became enamoured of one of them, who condescended to allow of his attachment to her; and she and her sister-nymph used thenceforward to have frequent interviews with him in that garden. On one of those occasions, they brought with them a male inhabitant of the heavenly regions, to whom they introduced the Raja; and between him and Malecheren a strict friendship ensued; in consequence of which he agreed, at the Raja’s earnest request, to carry him in disguise to see the court of the divine Indra, a favour never before granted to any mortal. The Raja returned from thence with new ideas of splendour and magnificence, which he immediately adopted in regulating his court, and his retinue, and in beautifying his seat of government. By this means Mahabalipura became soon celebrated beyond all the cities of the earth; and an account of its magnificence having been brought to the gods assembled at the court of Indra, their jealousy was so much excited at it, that they sent orders to the God of the Sea to let loose his billows, and overflow a place which impiously pretended to vie in splendour with their celestial mansions. This command he obeyed, and the city was at once overflowed by that furious element, nor has it ever since been able to rear its head'.


"Such is the mode in which the Brahmans choose to account for the signal overthrow of a place devoted to their wretched superstitions.


"It is not, however, improbable, that the rest of this history may contain, like the mythology of Greece and Rome, a great deal of real matter of fact, though enveloped in dark and figurative representations. Through the disguises of these we may discern some imperfect records of great events, and of revolutions that have happened in remote times; and they perhaps merit our attention the more, as it is not likely that any records of ancient Hindu history exist but in this obscure and fantastic dress. Their poets seem to have been their only historians, as well as divines; and whatever they relate, is wrapped up in this burlesque garb, set off, by way of ornament, with circumstances hugely incredible and absurd, and all this without any date, and in no other order or method, than such as the poet’s fancy suggested, and found most convenient. Nevertheless, by comparing names and grand events, recorded by them, with those interspersed in the histories of other nations, and by calling in the assistance of ancient monuments, coins, and inscriptions, as occasion shall offer, some probable conjectures, at least, if not important discoveries, may, it is hoped, be made on these interesting subjects ..." (pp. 7-16).


***********************************************************


Having outlined some of my reasons for holding my current opinion about the submerged structures at Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram, I would just like to return to Graham Hancock’s original email to me in an attempt to address his charge of misrepresentation.



The email in question reads as follows:


> You wrote on Ma'at:
>
> What GH seems to have failed to adequately mention in Underworld is that the eighteenth-century traveller William Chambers was told the legend by local Brahmins who already knew that structures lay offshore. Chambers was told that the tops of some of the 'padogas' had previously been visible where they broke the surface.
>
> In Underworld, page 120, I quoted J. Goldingham (1798) as follows:
>
> The surf here breaks far out over, as the Brahmins inform you, the ruins of a city which was incredibly large and magnificent. A Brahmin, about 50 years of age, a native of the place, whom I have had an opportunity of conversing with since my arrival in Madras, informed me his grandfather had frequently mentioned having seen the gilt tops of five pagodas in the surf, no longer visible.

> -----------------------------------
>
> Seven Pagodas, 34-35


The same quote in Underworld reads as follows:


"The surf here breaks far out over, as the Brahmins inform you, the ruins of a city which was incredibly large and magnificent A Brahmin, about 50 years of age, a native of the place, whom I have had an opportunity of conversing with since my arrival in Madras, informed me his grandfather had frequently mentioned having seen the gilt tops of five pagodas in the surf, no longer visible." (pp. 120).


In its original context in M.W. Carr's Descriptive and Historical Papers Relating to the Seven Pagodas on the Coromandel Coast (1869), the passage in J. Goldingham's "Some account of the Sculptures at Mahabalipuram; usually called the Seven Pagodas" (first published in 1798) reads as follows (I've highlighted in bold the section of text corresponding to the quotation from Underworld):


"East of the village, and washed by the sea, which, perhaps, would have entirely demolished it before now but for a defence of large stones in front, is a pagoda of stone, containing the lingam, and dedicated to Siva. Besides the usual figures within, one of a gigantic stature is observed stretched out on the ground, and represented as secured in that position [It is an image of Vishnu, in a recumbent position. The folds of his garment were apparently mistaken for fetters – note added by Carr]. This the Brahmans tell you was designed for a Raja, who was thus secured by Vishnu; probably alluding to a prince of the Vishnu caste having conquered the country, and taken its prince. The surf here breaks far out over, as the Brahmans inform you, the ruins in [[i]sic
] the city, which was incredibly large and magnificent. Many of the masses of stone near the shore appear to have been wrought. A Brahman, about fifty years of age, a native of the place, whom I have had an opportunity of conversing with since my arrival at Madras, informed me his grandfather had frequently mentioned having seen the gilt tops of five pagodas in the surf, no longer visible. In the account of this place by Mr. William Chambers, in the first volume of the Asiatic Researches, we find mention of a brick pagoda, dedicated to Siva, and washed by the sea; this is no longer visible; but as the Brahmans have no recollection of such a structure, and as Mr. Chambers wrote from memory, I am inclined to think the pagoda of stone mentioned above to be the one he means. However, it appears from good authorities that the sea on this part of the coast is encroaching by very slow, but no less certain steps, and will perhaps in a lapse of ages entirely hide these magnificent ruins.


"About a mile to the southward are other structures of stone, of the same order as those north, but having been left unfinished, at first sight appear different: the southernmost of these is about forty feet in height, twenty-nine in breadth, and nearly the same in length, hewn from a single mass: the outside is covered with sculpture, (for an account of which see Inscriptions:) the next is also cut from one mass of stone, being in length about forty-nine feet, in breadth and height twenty-five, and is rent through the middle from the top to the bottom; a large fragment from one corner is observed on the ground. No account is preserved of the powerful cause which produced this destructive effect. Beside these, are three smaller structures of stone. Here is also the simha, or lion, very large, but, except in size, I can observe no difference from the figures of the same animal northerly. Near the simha is an elephant of stone about nine feet in height, and large in proportion. Here, indeed, we observe the true figure and character of the animal.


"The Brahman before mentioned informed me that their Puranas contained no account of any of the structures here described, except the stone pagodas near the sea and the pagodas of brick at the village, built by Dharmaraja and his brothers [I take this to be a reference to the Pandava brothers]. He, however, gave me the following traditional account: That a northern prince (perhaps one of the conquerors) about one thousand years ago was desirous of having a great work executed, but the Hindu sculptors and masons refused to execute it on the terms he offered. Attempting force I suppose, they, in number about four thousand, fled with their effects from his country hither, where they resided four or five years, and in this interval executed these magnificent works. The prince at length discovering them, prevailed on them to return, which they did, leaving the works unfinished as they appear at present.


"To those who know the nature of these people, this account will not appear improbable. At present we sometimes hear of all the individuals of a particular branch of trade deserting their houses, because the hand of power has treated them somewhat roughly; and we observe like circumstances continually in miniature. Why the Brahmans resident on the spot keep this account secret, I cannot determine; but am led to suppose they have an idea, the more they can envelope the place in mystery the more people will be tempted to visit and investigate, by which means they profit considerably […]" (pp. 34-36).


**********


By reproducing four paragraphs from Goldingham's account of Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram, I’m not attempting to demonstrate that Graham Hancock has intentionally set out to deceive his readers. I fully appreciate that extensive block quotations are seldom appropriate in published works, and Graham Hancock has chosen to emphasise aspects of Goldingham’s account that are relevant to his thesis (for the relevant material from Underworld see here: [www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com]). However, as an interested reader (or at least as somebody interested enough to go back and read the original source material), and as somebody who needs convincing that the submerged ruins don’t date from the early medieval period, my reading of Chambers' and Goldingham's accounts – in their original context – has led me to believe that the nature of what they are describing is much more complicated than their inclusion in Underworld suggests.


**********


The relevant text from Underworld begins with the quotation from J. Goldingham (1798) mentioned in Graham Hancock's initial email to me (the text can be read in its entirety here: [www.maat.paradoxdesigns.com]):


The surf here breaks far out over, as the Brahmins inform you, the ruins of a city which was incredibly large and magnificent … A Brahmin, about 50 years of age, a native of the place, whom I have had an opportunity of conversing with since my arrival in Madras, informed me his grandfather had frequently mentioned having seen the gilt tops of five pagodas in the surf, no longer visible.


And continues:


"An earlier traveller's report, from 1784, describes the main feature of Mahabalipuram as a "rock, or rather hill of stone", out of which many of the monuments are carved. This outcropping, he says:


is one of the principal marks for mariners as they approach the coast and to them the place is known by the name of ‘Seven Pagodas’, possibly because the summits of the rock have presented them with that idea as they passed: but it must be confessed that no aspect which the hill assumes seems at all to authorise this notion; and there are circumstances that would lead one to suspect that this name has arisen from some such number of Pagodas that formerly stood here and in time have been buried in the waves.


"The same author, William Chambers, then goes on to relate the more detailed oral tradition of Mahabalipuram – given to him by Brahmins of the town during visits that he made there in 1772 and 1776 – that prompted his suspicion of submerged structures […]" (pp. 120).


**********


From my own reading of Chambers' original account (reproduced above), I would argue that it can be deduced that Chambers (rather than simply having his "suspicion of submerged structures" prompted by the "detailed oral tradition of Mahabalipuram") believed that (1) the land-based monuments he describes "appear to be the remains of some great city, that has been ruined many centuries ago"; (2) that the name, the 'Seven Pagodas', has arisen "from some such number of Pagodas that formerly stood here, and in time have been buried in the waves" (although his account of the etymology of the Tamil "appellation by which the natives distinguish" the 'Seven Pagodas' doesn't seem to be in accord with current understandings; which isn't too surprising bearing in mind that Chambers was writing over 200 years ago, and the decipherment and translation of inscriptions only started to become systematised by the second half of the nineteenth century, which presumably also accounts for both Chambers' and Goldingham's failure to mention the historical rulers of Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram); (3) that the "ultimate design" of many of the extant monuments he explored at Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram have "manifestly not been accomplished, but [seem] to have been defeated by some extraordinary convulsion of nature"; (4) as supporting evidence for this assertion, he mentions that the work on one of the rock-hewn monuments appears to have been stopped, "and a uniform rent of about four inches breadth has been made throughout the solid rock", appearing to extend to its foundations; (5) according to Chambers, "nothing less than an earthquake, and that a violent one, could apparently have produced such a fissure in solid rock" (a deduction that he feels can be supported by other circumstantial evidence); (6) it is at this point that he mentions the 'brick' pagoda (the Shore Temple) "washed by the waves", the "greatest part of which has evidently been swallowed up by that element", and mentions that "the natives of the place declared to the writer of this account, that the more aged people among them remembered to have seen the tops of several Pagodas far out in the sea"; (7) "These circumstances", Chambers suggests, "look much like the effects of a sudden inundation; and the rent in the rock above described makes it reasonable to conjecture that an earthquake may have caused the sea to overflow its boundaries, and that these two formidable enemies may have joined to destroy this once magnificent city" (it seems clear to me from this account that Chambers assumes the precarious position of the Shore Temple at the water's edge, the stories of submerged pagodas, and the damaged and unfinished condition of the land-based monuments are contemporaneous; or more specifically, can be linked to one specific event in time); (8) Chambers then makes the point that the "account which the Brahmans, natives of the place, gave of its origin and downfall, partly, it should seem, on the authority of the Mahabharata, and partly on that of later records, at the same time that it countenances this idea, contains some other curious particulars, which may seem to render it worthy of attention" (it is interesting that in the notes to Chambers' account, Carr draws attention to Chambers' reference to "Mahabalipura" in the Vishnu Purana and indicates that the Vishnu Purana mentions "Sonitapura", rather than "Mahabalipura"; Carr also points out that Chambers' reference to "Mahabalipura" in the Mahabharata (although the extract he references doesn't seem to refer to 'Mahabalipura' by name) – being located 'South of the Ganges two hundred yojanas / Five yojanas westward from the eastern sea' – locates the city "far south of Ceylon" and "a great distance from the sea"). It is also worth bearing in mind that Chambers is writing from memory at least twelve years after his last visit to Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram, and indicates that he committed little to writing at the time of his visits.


From Goldingham's account, in turn, it can also be deduced that Goldingham (like Chambers) believed that (1) the "pagoda of stone" (the Shore Temple) was in danger of being "entirely demolished" by the sea; (2) that, according to local Brahmans, a "large and magnificent" city lies submerged in the sea; (3) that many of "the masses of stone near the shore appear to have been wrought" (although it is unclear whether this is a reference to stones on the beach or – more interestingly – partly submerged stones close to the shore, although a comparison with Chambers possibly suggests the latter); (4) that the "gilt tops of five pagodas" were apparently visible "in the surf" two generations previously; (5) that "it appears from good authorities that the sea on this part of the coast is encroaching by very slow, but no less certain steps, and will perhaps in a lapse of ages entirely hide these magnificent ruins"; (6) that damage to some of the land-based monuments (he specifically mentions the same "rent" as Chambers, and refers to a "large fragment from one corner" of one of the rock-hewn monuments lying on the floor) suggests some kind of natural catastrophe, although he points out that no account "is preserved of the powerful cause which produced this destructive effect"; (7) that the Brahman who had previously mentioned that his grandfather could see the tops of the submerged pagodas told Goldingham that many of the monuments at Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram were built by sculptors and masons "one thousand years ago" who had moved to the area in an attempt to escape a "northern prince"; when prevailed upon by the prince to return home, they abandoned their work at Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram and left the monuments unfinished; (8) that the Brahmans kept this particular traditional account "secret", because "the more they can envelope the place in mystery the more people will be tempted to visit and investigate, by which means they profit considerably".


In my discussion of Chambers above, I mentioned that the etymological account he gives of the Tamil appellation for Mahabalipuram seems to be erroneous. Chambers makes the assumption, wrongly as far as I have been able to determine, that 'Mahabalipura' (Mahabalipuram) is the original name of the city, and what he refers to as 'Mavalipuram' (Mamallapuram?) is a 'corrupted' Tamil version. "For the Tamulians", he writes, "having no h in their alphabet, are under a necessity of shortening the Sanscrit [[i]sic
] word maha, great, and write it ma. They are obliged also, for a similar reason, to substitute a v for a b, in words of Sanscrit, or other foreign original that begin with that letter; and the syllable am, at the end, is merely a termination, which, like um in Latin, is generally annexed to neuter substances." (Similar linguistic conventions apply equally to Sanskrit-derived languages, particularly the pronunciation of va either as the b in 'bud' or as the w in 'worse'; I've also been informed by a native Tamil speaker that Chambers appears to mistakenly equate 'Tamulians' with 'Malabars', when the latter are more properly associated with Kerala). As I pointed out above, Chambers seems unaware of the Pallava dynasty's association with the building of the monuments and buildings at Mamallapuram (his account was written in 1788, after all), and appears to be ignorant of the fact that according to Tamilian tradition Mamallapuram takes its name from the Pallava king, Narasimha-varman I (c.630-688 CE), who was known as Mamalla or Mahamalla ('great wrestler') (see [adaniel.tripod.com], [www.hindubooks.org], and [www.grahamhancock.com]). Narasimha-varman I was preceded by Mahendra-varman I (c.590-630 CE) and succeeded in turn by Mahendra-varman II (c.660-670 CE), Parameshvara-varman I (c.670-695 CE), Narasimha-varman II (c. 695-728 CE), and Paramesvara-varman II (c.728-732 CE). It is during the reign of Narasimha-varman II (also known as Rajasimha) that the famous rock-hewn temples and Shore Temple at Mamallapuram are widely believed to have been built, although some scholars favour a more gradual refinement of building techniques over several generations of Pallava kings, starting with Mahendra-varman I (the capital city of the Pallavas was at Kanchipuram, and was established by the early Pallava kings in the fourth century CE). I’m open to correction on this point, but it seems highly unlikely that the Tamilian name 'Mavalipuram' (to use Chambers' idiom) would be a 'corruption' of the Sanskrit name 'Mahabalipura', especially when it is borne in mind that Sanskritic traditions are not indigenous to this region, but were introduced into South India from North India at various stages throughout the historical era (often as a result of a particular king's patronage). If anything, it would be more plausible if the name 'Mahabalipura' is a distortion of the original Tamilian name, although the former has clearly been sanctioned by religious tradition over hundreds of years.


On the introduction of Sanskritic traditions into the south, this link, for instance, ([www.thrikodithanam.org]) points out that large colonies of Brahmins were invited to settle along the west coast of South India in Tulu and Kerala in the eighth century CE. It also goes on to state that royal patronage made it easier for the Brahmins "to suppress and assimiliate old deities like Shasta (Buddha) and folk heroes like Maveli (King Mahabali) and Ayyappa (King Ayyan Adigal) into the Hindu pantheon". As far as Tamil Nadu and the Pallavas are concerned, the earliest copper inscriptions to have survived were issued by kings of the Pallava dynasty in Kanchipuram in the fourth century CE. The earliest are written in Prakrit, but the later ones switch to Sanskrit. This ties in with what Kesavan Veluthat has written in The Political Structure of Early Medieval South India (1993) when he makes the case that northern Brahmins were encouraged to settle in Tamil Nadu by the Pallava rulers, because the Pallavas were keen to make use of the Brahmins’ "better organizational abilities and a more advanced calendar […] in expanding the base of their power and resources". The creation and maintenance of a number of Brahmin corporations (primarily as a result of land grants) resulted in the creation of a new ruling class and "a strong alliance between the brahmans and the rulers" (pp. 15). According to this link ([www.geocities.com]) brahmanical traditions became popular in Tamil Nadu with the rise of bhakti devotionalism in the seventh century CE (an amalgamation of northern and southern practices), and it’s during this same period that Puranic literature (presumably including the Vishnu Purana) also grew in influence and importance. On the development of the Tamil bhakti movement, Kesavan Veluthat writes: "While the bhakti movement has been presented by earlier historians as representing a veritable social reform movement spearheaded against caste and other forms of inequality, our analysis shows that this helped in consolidating the new social and political order in South India in the early medieval period. It strengthened and gave support to the new monarchy; and by favouring the ideology of the brahmanized sections in society, it helped the entire upper class to send its roots deeper into society" (pp. 17). Veluthat also makes the interesting point that the majority of early medieval dynasties of South India (including the Pallavas) based their traditional accounts of dynastic origin "on the itihasa-purana tradition of northern India" (pp. 30).

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Graham Hancock and Mahabalipuram 2 stickler 08/07/2002 12:13AM
without the italics (hopefully) - Part One 0 stickler 08/07/2002 12:20AM
Part Two 4 stickler 08/07/2002 12:24AM
Part Three 2 stickler 08/07/2002 12:27AM
Part Four 3 stickler 08/07/2002 12:30AM
The Sea Giveth, and The Sea Taketh Away 2 Thirdwave 08/07/2002 01:43AM
Re: without the italics (hopefully) - Part One 0 Graham Hancock 08/07/2002 09:20AM
Re: without the italics (hopefully) - Part One 0 Edje 08/07/2002 09:50AM
Re: Graham Hancock and Mahabalipuram 0 1SHMAEL 08/07/2002 01:50PM
Re: Graham Hancock and Mahabalipuram 0 stickler 08/08/2002 08:20PM
Re: Graham Hancock and Mahabalipuram 0 1SHMAEL 08/10/2002 12:35AM


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