Explore Mahabalipuram - A Fusion of History, Wildlife and Otherworldliness
It is widely known across the world for its ancient structures, most of which are carved out of large rocks.
It lies at a mere distance of 60 km from Chennai.
The Pallava dynasty ruled most of the South India roughly from 2nd to 9th century.
The marvelous monuments of Mahabalipuram are assumed to have come into existence during 7th and 9th century.
The major development to the artistic heritage of the town is attributed to the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who ruled from the year 630 to 638 AD.
Narasimhavarman also known as Mamallan was a great believer of Lord Shiva.
Many of the ancient reminders of Mahabalipuram are now included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In any South Indian tour, Mahabalipuram is an essential site in most tourists' itineraries.
Some of the most interesting places to be explored are: Pancha Ratha (Five Rathas) - The 5 rathas (or chariots) were cut from 5 large rocks.
Each of the Rathas is named after the 5 Pandavas and their wife Draupadi (there is only one Ratha for Nakula and Sahadeva).
There are various figures carved out on large rocks kept in open areas.
Two prominent among them are the figure of Arjuna seeking penance, and a scene depicting descent of the Ganges.
Cave Temples - They are the temples which were cut from the large rocks.
There are 11 such temples out of which the most significant are Varaha and Mahishasuramardini temples.
Many deities and scenes from the mythology are carved in the walls of the temple.
Thirukadalmallai (or Sthalasayana Perumal Temple) - The temple is situated on the shore of Bay of Bengal.
It finds its mention among the 108 temples of Vishnu which are mentioned by the ancient Tamil Saints.
Shore Temple - This temple was not carved from rock but was constructed through blocks of granite around 8th century.
The temple's intricate work had suffered over time due to wind and water of the sea, but it also adds to the quality of timelessness.
The temple is primarily devoted to Lord Shiva.
The idols of other deities like Vishnu, and Durga are also there.
Crocodile Bank - It is a zoo and a research centre where crocodiles are kept and studied.
It is located in Chennai and is about 14 km from Mahabalipuram.
Travel on Foot Being a small town its quiet easy and convenient to traverse on foot.
Also the most notable places are in close proximity to each other.
Bikes are also available on rent.
Mahabalipuram is an excellent place to buy statues and other crafts.
One can have miniature replicas of the monuments or deities of Mahabalipuram, which are carved out from stones or wood.
A tourist's holiday in South India will get greatly enriched with this tiny but magnificent block of history.