I spent many hours over several days wandering among the 7th century wonders at Mamallapuram. Carved from single large boulders, stories burst from their surfaces in astonishing detail, rooms chiseled deep into the guts of the rocks appear like naturally occurring symmetrical caves.
Tiger cave Temple
I was able to shake off the aggressive vendor. The exquisite carvings captivated me. I lingered as the sun set, marveling at the immensity of the work depicting various deities and moments in their existence. Other tourists, mostly Indians, happily snapped selfies and used the rock surfaces for climbing challenges.
I realized I would never capture photos without human presence at these popular monoliths. So I started to enjoy the human show, and watched and photographed as people climbed upon Nandi the bull, or posed in front of one of the Five Rathas, or sought the perfect selfie with friends, or composed an engaging family portrait. After snapping a family's portrait, they invited me to join them. Me, with my comfortable traveling pants and shirt, amidst Indian women in their gorgeous saris. I heard one of them musing about looking at the photo later and saying "Yaaru?" Which essentially means, "who is that?"
One of my friend took me to the Tiger Cave just outside of town,an unfinished temple with a
One should visit the temples of Mamallapuram. Capturing a selfie with these remarkable structures is more or less an expected and effortless activity these days. More elusive is capturing the intent, the purposeful rendering of story and life and exquisite structure in huge, once smooth boulders that waited silently for the chisels.