Seven Pago­das may be fact, not fic­tion

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation | Stories In Stone -

Just be­fore the 2004 tsunami struck, some peo­ple claimed to have seen some tem­ple struc­tures in the sea as the wa­ters re­ceded be­fore flood­ing in. This strength­ened the ear­lier be­lief that the two stand­ing shore tem­ples were part of a set of seven. Euro­pean ex­plor­ers and mariners have de­scribed Ma­mal­la­pu­ram as the town of the seven pago­das (seven tem­ples), which they prob­a­bly saw as they crossed the coastal city dur­ing their sea voy­ages. The le­gend was that the shore tem­ple com­plex had seven tem­ples. Ex­cited ar­chae­ol­o­gists un­der­took stud­ies on the shore and off­shore to find out more and now be­lieve that there could have been seven tem­ples, five now sub­merged in the sea. “The ex­is­tence of seven tem­ple su­per­struc­tures in­clud­ing the Sala­vankup­pam Mu­ru­gan tem­ple can­not be ruled out,” says T. Sathya­murthy, for­mer su­per­in­tend­ing ar­chae­ol­o­gist, Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of In­dia. Based on his re­cent re­search pa­per, he says some parts of the Shore tem­ple com­plex pos­si­bly went un­der as a re­sult of lo­cal ero­sion of the coast and ad­vance­ment of the sea. The team headed by Sathya­murthy ex­ca­vated the Mu­ru­gan tem­ple. “Ev­i­dence in­di­cates the shore tem­ple com­plex was ex­tend­ing fur­ther north, south and east­wards, to a very lim­ited ex­tent and some of the col­lapsed struc­tures are un­der the sand or in the in­ter-tidal zone,” he said adding that it needs fur­ther off-shore in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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