Arjuna's Penance or Goddess Ganga's Descent from the Himalayas, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India
This spectacular ancient open-air rock relief in Mahablipuram (7th century) has magnificent set of scenes that may be narrating either Arjuna's Penance or Goddess Ganga's descent from the Himalayas.
Both are engaging narratives - Arjuna's Penance is a tale from the Mahabharata - where Arjuna one of the Pandavas, performed severe penance to obtain Shiva's blessings in the form of Pāśupatāstra a supernatural weapon which supposedly can be discharged by the mind, the eyes, mere words, or a bow.
The tale depicting Goddess Ganga's Descent from the Himalayas - has Bhagiratha performing severe tapasya in Vrikshasana to obtain Shiva's blessings - so he can bring Goddess Ganga in the form of a celestial river down to earth from the Himalayas to release trapped souls of thousands of his dead ancestors.
The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram are a fusion of culture, myths, legends and hindu religious traditions. With more than 40+ monuments some which are incomplete they still deliver vivid sculpted expressions on rocks and boulders, on a mammoth scale.
Arjuna's Penance or Goddess Ganga's Descent - along with other monuments at Mahabalipuram - is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. How to reach Mahabalipuram or Mammallapuram?