Another significant discovery has been at Mahabalipuram. For years, this ancient port town, off the Tamil Nadu coast was known to sailors as the town of seven temples. Present day Mahabalipuram, however, has only one shore temple. The popular belief is that there were six more temples here, which later got submerged.
Excavations by NIO in 2002 revealed some amount of truth in these tales. According to Vora, underwater investigations showed the presence of the remains of walls as well as large stone blocks, which seemed to correspond to the time period of the surviving shore temple. Excavations carried out by ASI in 2005 also revealed the remains of two structural temples, found near the shore temple.
”These findings provide prima facie evidence about what was earlier regarded as merely folklore,” says Vora. Folklore and legends in fact, have the potential to provide many clues which help in underwater archaeology, a field whose scope, incidentally, is not merely limited to the sea, but extends beneath all water bodies. [Silent secrets of the sea]