Home » South India Tourist Destinations » Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram is a beautiful town situated at around 60 km from Chennai. Mahabalipuram comes under Kanchipuram district in Tamilnadu, India. Mahabalipuram is basically a port city and very famous for trade and commerce during the 7th century when it was under the rule of Pallavas. The city is supposedly named after Mamalla, a Pallava king.
Mahabalipuram is a city splattered with huge fascinating monuments which were built during the period between 7th and 9th centuries, due to which it is classified under UNESCO World heritage site. The monuments found in Mahabalipuram are built by rocks and are monolithic. Structural temples, cave Temples which carry a hint of Buddhism is found in abundance. Rathas which have been sculpted exquisitely are also present.
Mahabalipuram earlier was believed to be in an area which had seven Pagodas by the sea. British traveler John Goldingham has written down tales of Mahabalipuram as early as 1798. Recently in 2004, the Tsunami which hit many parts of south India uncovered great rocky structures and animal sculptures. An elegant carved statue of a deity built on the head of an elephant was seen after the waters receded.
The Temples and caves present here believed to be the finest in the world. The shore Temple is a prominent structure and is known for the delicate carvings and painstakingly detailed craftsmanship. This is one of the few Temples which are dedicated to both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
Mandapas: This town, Mahabalipuram is filled with mandapas (House of God), and each one is spectacularly carved. They uphold the skills of the workers in that arena during the reign of the Pallava dynasty. Mainly the figures of Gods and Goddesses are delicately on the pillars and walls of the mandapa, or the Temple. The different reincarnations of Lord Vishnu namely the Boar, Dwarf, Elephant etc have been depicted here.
Rathas: Eight Rathas (chariots) are found here buried deep in culture and historic happenings. They have assumed the form of monolithic Temples. The carvings are so sharp in features and so delicate that they look like wooden carvings. The lines wrinkling timber is also duplicated on the stone. Pandavas who were 5, have each a Ratha, which has been dedicated to them and their wife, Draupadi.
Thirukadalmallai: This fascinating temple has been dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This monument was also built during the reign of the Pallavas, which is believed to have been built to safeguard the huge sculptures from the ocean. It can be seen till this day, that after building this temple, the remaining architecture has been well preserved and has not been corroded by sea.
Best Season to Visit: Mahabalipuram is located near Chennai, the weather is more or less the same. Winter in September- October is the best time to visit this splendid town.
How to get there
Nearest Airport: The nearest airport from Mahabalipuram is Chennai (60 km) capital city of Tamilnadu.
Nearest Railhead: The nearest railway station, Chengalpattu (30 km). Trains for Chennai and several other major cities in South India are available from Chengalpattu.
Road: Mahabalipuram is well connected by road to Chennai, Tirukkalikundram Kanchipuram and Pondicherry.
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