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About Mahabalipuram

Savour the exotic combination of history, heritage, myth and legend at Mahabalipuram, an ancient town around 60 kms south of Chennai. Distinguished by its numerous rock cut shore temples and cave temples, these group of monuments at Mahabalipuram have been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and should definitely be on your list of must-visit attractions when in Chennai. Mahabalipuram also known as Mamallapuram, is a small town that lies on the Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu. There are nine monolithic temples in Mahabalipuram, the most famous of these being: The Five Rathas: Named thus after the five Pandava brothers from Mahabhartha, they were originally built in the 7th century as a dedication to different Hindu gods. The striking feature of these monuments is that they are carved out of a single rock. The Shore temples: A complex of three temples, which includes the idol of the reclining Vishnu. Two temples of Shiva stand majestically fist-like overlooking the sea, and are sculpted with thousands of images of Shiva. Cave temples : Some of the key caves are Varaha mandapa, Mahisamardini mandapa, Paramesvara Mahavaraha Vishnugriha built in the Mamalla style. There are also Raja Gopurams and the Sthala-Sayana temple, juxtaposed to the carved boulder of Arjuna's penance.

Historical Context: Mahabalipuram has a long history behind it that goes as way back as the first century CE, when it was a busy seaport under the rule of Periplus and Ptolemy (140 CE). It was the exit point to South East Asia countries for the ancient Indian traders. During the 7th century it was a key port of the Pallavas, the South Indian dynasty. It was during this period that the chariot temples, caves sanctuaries, open air rock reliefs and the famous Shore temples were created. The present modern city came into being under the British Raj in 1827.
Pro Tip: Make sure you keep a full day for a visit towards Mahabalipuram. You can visit a few Chennai attractions and then head out to this small but fascinating ancient town. Buses ply from Chennai and you can get a taxi too to this place from Chennai.

Highlights

  • Best Time to Visit Anytime
  • Facilities Food stalls, Washrooms
  • Recommended Hours Min. 3 hours
  • Best Visited With Group, Solo, Family
  • Allowed Camera, Footwear, Video

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