Lost city revealed?

Date: 1/2/2005


The mighty Boxing Day tsunami has revealed what archaeologists believe to be the lost ruins of an ancient city off the coast of Tamil Nadu in southern India. The 30-metre waves shifted thousands of tonnes of sand to unearth a pair of elaborately carved stone lions and a stallion near the famous 7th century Dravidian temple on the coast at Mahabalipuram, south of Madras. Indian archaeologists believe these granite beasts once guarded a small port city that may have been submerged since the last Ice Age. The 2-metre high lion statues, each hewn from a single piece of granite, appear breathtakingly lifelike. One great stone cat sits up alert while the other is poised to pounce. Two man-made foundation walls also remain visible beneath the murky waters, now measurably shallower. The tsunami also de-silted a large bas-relief stone panel that had been buried in sand for centuries, close to the shore temple. The half-completed sculpted elephant was effectively scoured clean by the great waves and now attracts mobs of visitors who touch its eroded trunk as a good luck talisman.  Scientists from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are descending on the World Heritage temple complex of Mahabalipuram to examine these exquisite relics and to launch an underwater survey.

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