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Vol. XXXIII No. 15, November 16-30, 2023

Heritage Watch: Two views spanning two Centuries

The vast bas-relief that is the Descent of the Ganga/Arjuna’s Penance at Mamallapuram is something to delight in. Its visibility has actually improved over the years and it being just by the side of the road makes its accessible to one and all. That it is kept spanking clean always is commendable and it must be acknowledged that the visiting public desists from throwing plastic and other wastes into the patch of sand that separates the bas-relief from the road. Our NEW was taken by your Deputy Editor a month or so ago.



Our OLD features Thomas Daniell’s view painted in the 1790s, when he and his uncle William visited this region. Daniell’s The Entrance of a Hindu Temple Excavated At Mahabalipuram on the Coromandel Coast shows the sheer endurance power of the carving. Nothing seems to have changed except that it is practically impossible to get this view from a distance as the perspective is blocked by other structures hemming the roadside. But the bas-relief remains, as it has from Pallava times.

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