630 C.E. King Narasimhavarman admired the stretch of the sea shore that was the pride of his city. He was confident that this was the spot chosen by the Gods to grace the gem of all his conquests – Mammalapuram. Few nights ago, he had dreamt about a series of temples adorning the shoreline. He knew what he had to do. He would commission his best architects, sculptors and builders to build a series of temples by the shore. The temples would be connected to each other via perfectly lawned pathways, an avenue of flowering trees and have allocated spots for water fountains, meditation, yoga and relaxation for the visitors. He visualized majestic doors flanked by tall lion statues at the front and rear of every temple, which when opened would serve as a gateway into the world of a majestic Hindu God or Goddess. Those involved in spiritual pursuits would feel at home within any of the 7 temples that would adorn the shoreline.
He wondered how the number 7 made his way into his thoughts. That mysterious, magical number 7 – for 7 planes of consciousness, the 7 avatars of Goddess Shakthi, the 7 sages of Hinduism, the 7 musical notes…Yes! He would build 7 temples.
He shut his eyes as he visualized the temples. A light blue temple for Lord Vishnu as he rested on his majestic Adisesha, a golden temple for his consort and goddess of wealth Sri Mahalakshmi. This would be followed by a modest temple for the land’s favorite yogi Lord Shiva, which would connect to the beautiful and colorful temple for his other half and sister of Vishnu, Goddess Parvathi / Shakthi. Next, a temple whose halls would be filled with silence that would be befit the concentration required for the creator of the universe, Lord Brahma, connected to a beautiful white temple for his consort and the epitome of wisdom, arts and learning, Goddess Saraswathi. Her temple would become the haunt of scholars, artists and seekers of knowledge. Last but not the least, the 7th temple would honor the 9 planets that revolved around the Supreme Power.
Mamallapuram would have the blessings and protections of the Trinity and Tridevi.
A group of students majoring in history took notes standing in front of a 6 foot statue of a lion, listening to a lecture about the history of Mammalapuram. The statue had been washed ashore after the Tsunami that occurred during the Christmas weekend of 2004, had wrecked havoc on the state of Tamil Nadu. Initial research by the department of archaeology had suggested that the statue belonged to one of the 6 temples that lay submerged under the sea.
“Legend claims that Lord Indra, the God of the heavens had been so jealous of this earthly city that he sank the temples during a great storm. Seems like he was mad considering the king has not dedicated a temple to the Lord of the heavens …” smiled the professor.
“However, even Indra could not stand up to the protector of the world and today only one temple remains. Someday, we hope that we will be able to excavate the submerged temples and understand their stories…”, finished the professor.
While the students dispersed, only Simha remained, pondering about the lion. He had been dreaming of opening the doors of a temple for months now, as tall lions looked benevolently upon him. Even in his dreams he had smelt the sea.
Like a flash of light, it all came back; the purpose of the temples, their exact positions and the knowledge of what lay buried within the secret chambers of every temple.
He finally understood the meaning of his dreams. That the doors that he had envisioned to guard the temples, also guarded the treasure maps that would uncover a great amount of wealth hidden around the city of Mamallapuram…That it had been him who had commissioned the temples centuries ago!!
The wheel of time worked in mysterious ways and this time it had brought back the one man who would restore this city to its original glory.
Note: The short story you just read was the output of an imaginative mind. In case you were about to leave any comments here calling out historical inaccuracies, please note that all the elements detailing the 6 temples that currently lay submerged under the waters at Mammalapuram a.k.a Mahabalipuram were fictionalized. There have been are no historical records detailing the temples, the purpose behind them or any treasure of any sort.