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Association for Asia Research- Underwater discoveries give credence to ancient legendsAssociation for Asia Research

Home > South Asia > 

Underwater discoveries give credence to ancient legends
David James, The Epoch Times

The discovery of underwater ruins off India’s southeastern coast adds to evidence supporting local legends of a devastating “flood” that once took several temples into the sea.The find was tipped off by locals at Mahabalipuram, in Tamil Nadu, southern India, when they reported seeing a temple structure revealed by receding waters just before the December 26 tsunami hit. The tsunami also uncovered remains on a beach of a carved stone house, a rock elephant and two giant granite lions.

According to local lore, the area once boasted seven magnificent temples, but six of these were swallowed by the sea as an act of divine retribution. The seventh remaining temple still stands on the shore today.

For centuries, local fishermen on the coast of Mahabalipuram have told tales about a great flood that destroyed a city over 10,000 years ago. This tale was recorded by the British explorer J. Goldingham, who explored the region in 1978.

British marine archaeologist Graham Hancock has spent years cataloging underwater ruins around the world. Mr. Hancock took part in an expedition to survey the underwater area near Mahabalipuram in 2002, jointly sponsored by Britain’s Scientific Exploration Society (SES) and India’s National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

The expedition revealed the presence of stone masonry, remains of walls, scattered square and rectangular stone blocks, and a large platform with steps leading up to it. Most of the structures were badly damaged and scattered in an area of several square miles. Two structural complexes showed a similar design and size.

The NIO estimates the age of the ruins at 1500-1200 years BP, when the Pallava dynasty ruled the area and constructed similar temples.

According to Durham University geologist Glenn Milne, however, the ruins may be up to 6000 years old given that there has been very little tectonic movement in the area for 5000 years.

If the ruins at Mahabalipuram are discovered to be of the same temple complex as the remaining shore temple, this would lend credence to the local tales that outsiders have regarded as legend.

“I have argued for many years that the world’s flood myths deserve to be taken seriously, a view that most Western academics reject. But here in Mahabalipuram, we have proved the myths right and the academics wrong,” Mr. Hancock said. “Of course the real discoverers of this amazing and very extensive submerged site are the local fishermen of Mahabalipuram. My role was simply to take what they had to say seriously and to take the town’s powerful and distinctive flood myths seriously.”

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