A major port city in the 7th century – Mahabalipuram, now Mamallapuram, will serve as the locus today marking the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping. The land holds rich history to it, in addition to reminiscing India’s ties with China for previously serving as a gateway for import and export of goods to and fro South India and China back in 7th century.

Mamallapuram boasts of a UNESCO world site heritage tag and is famous for ancient stone carvings and stone temples of the Pallava dynasty period. A large number of monuments in date back to the period of 630-670 AD, also known as the reign of Narasimhavarman-I.

India’s rich textile silk indutry in Kanchipuram was also first established by the Pallavas who are believed to have imported the raw silk from China.

Marking Xi’s third visit to India, Mamallapuram has become a cynosure for the meeting of two global leaders and is witnessing slew of facelift measures. Among the key highlights is the eight feet Buddha scultpure kept at shore temple complex in connection with Xi’s visit. The 7th century Pallava monument have been given a facelift. The entire stretch of GST Road, where the Chennai airport is situated, the Old Mahabalipuram Road and the East Coast Road (ECR) have been revamped to the extent of prompting Madras High Court’s attention.

Tamil Nadu’s town also has members of three major religions — Hinduism, Christianity and Islam involved in the business of sculpting and trading in idols of Hindu gods and also other items.

According to the industry players, Mamallapuram has temples, hotels, resorts – owing to the growing attention from tourism sector, colleges and residential spaces. Hotels have managed to climb up the market segment ladder, documenting good growth for traditional and modern sculptures. The exports – lodging sizeable trade number – have been made to countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius for Hindu god idols.

(With agency inputs)

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