3 EYES of SHIVA – Mystery of Olakkannesvara Temple, Mahabalipuram




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Hey guys, today we are going to look at a very strange structure in Mahabalipuram, this is an incredibly mysterious building built on top of a huge rock and is commonly known as the Olakkannesvara Temple. Let us climb up and see what is inside this structure. Archeologists confirm that this is at least 1300 years old, and it could even be much much older. Why was this structure built on top of a slippery boulder? Perhaps we can understand it, once we see the main idol inside the temple.
There is a metal door and it is locked, let us look at the idol inside, there is a huge pillar in the middle, and there is no idol inside. This is just extremely unusual for a temple. Just a pillar in the middle? But wait.. there is something on the left. What is it? There are steps going up, you can clearly see stone steps leading up and on top there is a square opening. The hole opens up to the sky, the top is open, because you can see sunlight coming through this hole. One thing is crystal clear, this is not a temple at all. There is no main idol and there are stairs going up with a hole on the ceiling, and what is on the right side? A wooden door, which is closed. There must be another chamber inside. What is inside that chamber? Why is this doorway locked with a metal gate? Why are there no carvings or idols inside? The entire design of this structure is very odd, almost all Hindu temples have a pointed top, an aerodynamic structure called Vimana. But this structure does not have it, instead of a pointy tower, it is designed with a flat top, as though people must go and stand on top of it. Then, there are steps leading up and there is a hole to facilitate, this hole is deliberately made big enough so people could climb up on the roof. But what were they doing on top of this structure? What is the mystery behind it?
The name of this structure is even more mysterious. It is named as ‘Olakkannesvara’ and this word is completely unheard of. Nobody knows anything about this term. The word Ulaikanneswara comes from Ancient Tamil language which means ‘The One with Three Flaming Eyes’. And, I think it means Lord Shiva, because he has Three eyes, but there is no idol of a Three-eyed Shiva inside and there is no Vimana. So why is this building called ‘Three flaming Eyes’?
Perhaps we could understand the purpose of the structure by looking at these carvings. The most bizarre carvings are the guardians on both sides of the doorway. They are very unique because they are facing sideways. These guardians are called Dwarapalakas and I have shown you so many of these statues in various Hindu temples. They are supposed to look directly at us, facing away from the doorway. However, they are facing sideways, and they are shown folding their hands and intently looking inside the chamber. Something exciting must be happening inside because this is a very strange depiction.
And on the walls, there are even stranger carvings. Who are these little guys? What are they holding in their hands? Each one is holding a Conch Shell, these guys are ready to blow the Conch and make a sound, to signal someone’s arrival. The expression on these little guys is awesome, they are keenly watching something in a distance. What are they observing? Who is arriving? Are they looking for Aliens from distant space?
Walking around, I can see more Little guys holding Conch Shells. And on top of them, There is a guy pointing with his fore finger, he is pointing to a distant object. His expression is rigid, as though he is a strict officer. Underneath him, these 2 guys are ready, both wide eyed and firmly looking ahead, ready to blow the conch shell and make a siren like sound at the officer’s command. What are they looking for?
Here is another one with the same motif. Why are the walls carved with these officers and little guys? We simply do not understand what the ancient builders are tell us, and carvings are the clues which can help us understand what this structure actually is.
Here, this is a very interesting carving. This is a form of Lord Shiva sitting in a meditative posture. The ancient builders could have carved any of the hundreds of avatars of Shiva. And this is not the most popular form of Shiva. So why did they put this carving on this wall? Of course, experts will tell you this is what the temples are all about. Various gods are carved to make you worship them. But ancient structures were built for scientific reasons. This deity was carved here to show you the direction, this carving always points exactly to the South. This is why he is called Dhakshinamoorthy, which means the ‘One who faces South’ – The word Dhakshina means South in Ancient Sanskrit.

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