The shore temple at Mahabalipuram survived the tsunami and now the waters have revealed some carvings on two rocks which has been interpreted by K.T. Narasimhan, Superintending Archaeologist of ASI.
..the west-facing carving inside a socket on the smaller rock was that of Yoga Narasimha. This beautiful carving depicted the Yoga Narasimha squatting and doing penance.
The socket is framed by a lion’s carving, typical of the Pallava dynasty, which built the monuments at Mamallapuram. On the socket’s right side on the rock face is a carving, depicting a Varaha (Boar) lifting Boodevi (earth). Varaha is visible but not Boodevi.
The adjacent bigger rock has carvings on both sides. On the western side is a socket with a carving of seated Siva.
This socket is also framed by a lion’s sculpture. On the rock face are Siva ganas such as Singhi and Bringhi. There is also a carving of Mahishamardini, riding a lioness and slaying a buffalo. On the eastern face (that is towards the sea) are carved an elephant and a horse.
Above the elephant’s head is a socket with a carving of Siva depicted as Gajasamharamurthy — the elephant is shown in a posture of surrender with its trunk bent towards its left side and embedded in the earth. “This clearly indicates surrender. This is called `atmaarpanam’. The elephant has totally surrendered to Siva. The elephant is called Gajasuran. That is why Siva is called Gajantakamurthy or Gajasamharamurthy, that is destroying his enemies,” said Mr. Narasimhan. Near the elephant are a few soldiers. The adjacent bas relief shows an imported horse.
[New interpretation to bas-relief sculptures]