Mamallapuram – Draupadi’s Bath


This rock-cut round-shaped cistern is excavated in front of the Trimurti Cave-temple. It is in form of a small well and probably the idea behind this excavation might be a simple one such as storing water,  rainwater, for the sculptors and artists who were working on various monuments in the town. The legends however suggest that it was used by Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, for her bath.

Draupadi’s Bath

William Chambers1, the first traveler who described the monuments of Mamallapuram, mentions the local Brahmins of the town refer it to as Draupadi’s bath. Kavali2 mentions it was a churn used by Draupadi. Fyson3 calls it Gopi’s Churn. Lockwood4 also calls it Gopi’s Churn mentioning a label inscription engraved over it reading “Sri Kaviti”. Lockwood takes Kaviti of Tamil as Gaviti in Sanskrit, the latter is an equivalent of Gokula where Krishna spent his childhood.

Inside of the water cistern

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1 Chambers, William (1788). Some Account of the Sculptures and the Ruins of Mavalipuram, a Place few Miles North of Sadras, and known to Seamen by the name of the Seven Pagodas published in Asiatick Researches vol. I. Calcutta. p 150
2 Carr, M W (1869). Descriptive and Historical Papers relating to the Seven Pagodas on the Coromandel Coast. Government of Madras. Madras. p 200
3 Fyson, D R (1949). Mahabalipuram or Seven Pagodas. Higginbotham. Madras (now Chennai).p 22
4 Lockwood, Michael (1993). Mamallapuram. Tambaram Research Associate. Chennai. p 163