Chennai Travels - Tourist Tracks

Mamallapuram, 58km south of Chennai, the stone carving center of India, a major tourist destination

Last update 20 April 2003

Shore Temple

Shore survivor:

The Shore Temple, just north of Mamallapuram is the oldest surviving stone-built temple in South India.

The temple is thought to be the sole survivor of a group destroyed by coastal erosion. The maritime environment has considerably eroded the elaborate carving over course of thirteen centuries.

time and tide
In the town

On the map:

The town is promoted by India's National tourist office and the Tamil Nadu State Tourism organisation.

The differential prices for foreign tourists and local citizens indicates that this is a major tourist centre.

Continuity of craft:

The town contains numerous workshops offering modern products in traditional styles.

stone carvers workshops
Pancha Pandava rathas

Architecture or sculpture?

The Pancha Pandava rathhas are seventh century monolithic temple buildings carved from solid bed rock.

The Government College of Architecture and Sculpture covers both views by providing four year degree courses in both Traditional Temple Architecture and Traditional Sculpture.

Buddha and Ganesh
Tamil village

Active remembering:

Dakshina Chitra is a folk museum 18km north of Mamallapuram presenting relocated 18th, 19th and early 20th century houses and re-created village streets from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Visitors can try their hand at crafts demonstrated by workers from the many regions and villages of South India.

Banking on survival:

The nearby Crocodile Bank at Vadanemmeli is a conservation project for endangered varieties.
It also houses a cooperative venom collection centre where snake venom is extracted from from key species for both anti-veneme and medical applications.
The co-op does not maintain its own web-site, but the Bank provides a URL for the King Cobra

Basking and waiting
venemous harvest

Capturing tacit knowledge:

Members of the Irula tribe have redirected their skills in capturing snakes for the export value of their skins.
Venom is extracted once a week from four species. After a month the reptiles are released into the wild.
Khor and Lin (2002) have used this case in their book on sustainable employment opportunities for indigenous communities.

This page is maintained by
Stephen Little
Head, Centre for Innovation, Knowledge and Enterprise,
Open University Business School,
Milton Keynes, UK

To be continued.....

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