Mahabalipuram (məhäˈbəlĭpŏrəm) [key], town, Tamil Nadu state, SE India, a coastal resort on the Coromandel Coast. Archaeological remains there represent some of the earliest-known examples of Dravidian architecture (c.7th cent. A.D.) in India. Under the patronage of the Pallava dynasty, numerous temples, hewn from granite hillocks, were carved. The site is often called the Seven Pagodas because of the high pinnacles of seven of its temples, six of which were said to have been submerged by the sea. During the tsunami of Dec., 2004, eyewitnesses said they saw the offshore ruins exposed by the retreating waters; previously unknown ruins onshore were revealed when the waves removed several feet of sand. The town is also called Mamallapuram.
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