Secret of the Drinking Rock - Mahabalipuram, India

During my visits to Mahabalipuram in India, I've noticed  a large rock that is popularly called "the drinking rock" (Sarakku Paarai in Tamil) where locals gather and have some drinks at night. Watch the video below or read on.

 You can see that broken bottles have completely covered the rock.  It also looks like somebody threw up last night, must have been a wild party. Now, why would I bitch about people having a good time on an isolated rock? Well, here is the catch: This is the top of a very ancient monument. Underneath the ground, is a large temple with valuable history. You can see the writings (picture below) in an ancient language which was last used by Pallava kingdom, which ended around 900 A.D. So obviously the inscription on it is at least 1100 years old,  although, I estimate it to be a much older structure and I'll explain that in a minute.

You can see these writings have already been partially damaged, and I am yet to decode what these words mean, but why would I say there is an ancient temple underneath? Just a few hundred feet away, lies a large boulder. But it is not just a boulder, it is an ancient temple.

In 2004,  when Tsunami hit this place, this place was completely submerged under water. But the real surprise came,  when the water receded, because it uncovered this temple. They have found a massive structure with brick work, granite and a lot of other material.  Archeologists estimate this temple to be around 2000 years old.

You see this line right here (above picture), before the Tsunami only what's above that line was visible and everything below it was buried under ground. People imagined that this was just another rock too. If you look closely near the top of this boulder, what do you see?

You will see similar writings on top of this rock as well, just like the drinking rock. So before the Tsunami in 2004, this temple would have looked very similar to the drinking rock.

There are other similarities as well. You can see this line here that goes all the way from the top to the sides. Lines like these were cut in ancient times to get the rock marked for carvings.  Lines like these are also found on the temple boulder. It is a mystery, how they cut these fine lines without any wedges or chisel marks.  Right next to the drinking rock, you can also see other rocks cut with wedge marks. The same wedge marks and rock cuttings are also found in the temple that was recently uncovered. I've shown you how the ancient people used water and wedges to cut rocks in a different video called ancient rock cutting technology.

What must have happened 1100 years ago? A massive tsunami would have hit this area and basically buried all these temples. Those who survived must have carved these writings to mark them as temples buried underneath. This theory makes a lot of sense because when the temples were in use, there is no reason to make these carvings on top of the temple. Because at that time, the ground level not today's ground level, it was much lower.  And nobody would have been able see those carvings. So, if the writings were done after the temples went underground and if they were written in this ancient language, that pushes the age of the temples much farther than 1100 years. It is very likely that this temple is also 2000 years old, just like the one nearby.

So, it should be obvious that these writings, cuttings and wedge marks are not random coincidences and the drinking rock is an ancient temple, patiently waiting to be uncovered. I hope there is no need for another tsunami and if this video gets shared enough, archeologists might excavate it. At least they can put a fence around it, to prevent future damage.

- Praveen Mohan


I like this drinking rick! thanks for sharing your finding! where does it name come from?

Pallavas used elephants to move in a circular motion . A chisel mounted on wooden handle will move around. A man will sit atop the wooden handle to exert downward force, thus grinding the granite. Aatu kal (manual wet grinding stone) were made the same way before lathe came into use. These stone tubs may have been used as baths. Sometimes when large meals are made, such stone tubs retain heat for upto 8 hrs. In Mahabs there is a cave temple, where the madaipalli (kitchen) has a thick granite slab made by Pallavas, for putting pulihora (puli saadham, tamarind rice) for at least 200 people. Rice spread on this slab, cools the rice quickly, but retains the heat for 8 hrs, keeping the pulihora warm.

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