PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are meeting for their second informal summit in Tamil Nadu on Friday. The two leaders meet in Mamallapuram, a coastal town situated 50 km from Chennai. Later, PM Modi will also host dinner for Jinping.
Terrorism will be the centre of discussion at this informal summit. Various aspects of terrorism including training, financing terror groups will be possibly discussed. Trade, defence and border are also key issues.
Mamallapuram, also known as Mahabalipuram was established by Narasimhavarman I of the Pallava dynasty in the 7th century AD. Mahabalipuram has an old connection to China. The city is referred to in a Chinese text, Chien Han Shu, as ‘Huang Che’. Also, years back, Narasimhavarman II had offered help to the Chinese rulers to take on the Arabs and Tibetans. Interestingly, Chinese coins dating back to these centuries have also been found in the state.
Jinping and PM Modi visited three historical monuments in Mamallapuram- The Five Monoliths or Panch Rathas, Arjuna's Penance, Shore Temple and Krishna's Butterball.
Tamil Nadu: PM Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of Monuments in Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. pic.twitter.com/f5CE6EhZPA— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
Dept of Horticulture has decorated a huge gate near Panch Rathas or The Five Monoliths in Mamallapuram where PM Modi and Xi Jinping are expected to visit. At least, 18 varieties of vegetables and fruits from different parts of the state have been used in this decoration.
#WATCH Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping visit group of temples at Mahabalipuram. The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram is prescribed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. #TamilNadu pic.twitter.com/Yf8mHXCxh5— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
Let's know interesting facts about the monuments:
The Five Monoliths or Panch Rathas
These five monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture are named after Pandavas and their common wife Draupadi of Mahabharata. However, the structures have no historical links with Pandava brothers. In order of their size, the Panch Rathas include Dharmaraja Ratha, Bhima Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Nakula Sahadeva Ratha and Draupadi Ratha. These are unfinished and have no religious significance.
Tamil Nadu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Panch Rathas in Mahabalipuram. pic.twitter.com/YcvHLcSS16— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
#WATCH The group of Monuments in Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. #TamilNadu pic.twitter.com/hFCFnzMDcL— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
Arjuna's Penance is a magnificent structure. Several rows of Hindu Gods have been chiseled on a large boulder. They are facing towards a sage standing on his left leg. Carvings of hunters, sages, animals are also seen on the boulder. Image of Lord Shiva has been carved out to the right of the person who is on penance. As per mythology, it was Arjuna, who was on penance to seek Pasupathastra from Lord Shiva.
The Mamallapuram Dance Festival, held every year during December-January, is a month-long vibrant cultural program. From Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Odissi, Mohini Attam to Kathakali, performers present dance forms against the backdrop of Arjuna's Penance.
Tamil Nadu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Arjuna's Penance in Mahabalipuram. pic.twitter.com/5YM3eVqBhb— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
Krishna's Butterball is a gigantic granite boulder weighing around 250 tons. The boulder is said to have been at the same place for 1200 years. It is bigger and heavier than the monolithic stones of Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu of Peru (Seven wonders of the World). Interestingly, in 1908, then-governor of the city Arthur Havelock used seven elephants to move the boulder from its position but in vain.
Mahabalipuram: PM Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the round boulder known as Krishna’s Butter Ball. pic.twitter.com/Jr0TxTXINp— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
Shore Temple built during 700-728 AD overlooks the Bay of Bengal and is 60 feet high. Built with blocks of granite, two shrines are dedicated to Lord Shiva while the smaller one in between is for Lord Vishnu.
Tamil Nadu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram. pic.twitter.com/uEh2oxEuNk— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2019
As per mythology, Gods were jealous of the architectural elegance of the monuments of Mahabalipuram, hence, they cursed it with floods. As a result, most parts of the city is submerged except few structures which are currently visible. Tsunami of 2005 exposed a collapsed temple built of granite blocks and also some ancient rock sculptures of lions, elephants and peacocks.