India | Tamil Nadu | Mahabalipuram

Arjuna's Penance

Arjuna's Penance is a bas-relief believed to have been carved in the 7th century. It is one of the largest bas-reliefs in the world. It is carved on two huge boulders 27 meter long and 9 meter high. The relief depicts the flow of the Ganges down from the Himalaya mountains. Legend says that King Bhagiratha brought down the Ganges from Heaven to purify the souls of his ancestors. Later he realized that the flood would inundate the earth. So he had to undergo a penance to convince Shiva to intervene. The Lord came down to earth and let the flood trickle through his hair, dispersing the water safely in a number of streams.

There is a small cave temple called Pancha Pandava Mandapa to the left of the bas-relief.

Updated on 12th September, 2005
District: Kanchipuram
Location: Mahabalipuram    


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