Remembering K R Srinivasan, Archaeologist who put Mahabalipuram on the map


K R Srinivasan, the renowed Archaeologist who turned the spotlight on Tamil Nadu's architectural heritage started his career as a Botany professor. Born in Trichy in 1910, he was always passionate about archaeology, an interest fuelled by his older brother K R Venkataraman, a renowned historian who worked in the Pudukottai palace.

K R Srinivasan gave up botany and joined the Pudukottai museum as curator in 1936. Soon he became an expert in archaeology. When the museum was nationalised after independence and brought under ASI, he joined its ranks.

Until he retired as deputy director general in 1968, Srinivasan was responsible for many excavations in south India, including the Arikamedu dig near Puducherry and in Andhra Pradesh. But his best known work remains the discoveries he made at Mamallapuram and the Big Temple.

One of Srinivasan's famous books is 'Temples of South India', now a textbook in many universities.

He also uncovered many secrets of the Mamallapuram cave temples. "He brought to light the evolution of art and architecture in south India, particularly Pallava period architecture. Only after the publication of his monograph on 'The Cave Temples of the Pallavas' did the world come to know of the magnificence of Mamallapuram.

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