Mahabalipuram is a seventh century port city of south Indian dynasty in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu state. Mahabalipuram is also known as Mamallapuram. Average elevation from sea level is 39feet or 12m. It is in 60km south from Chennai. In the seventh century Mahabalipuram was a dynasty of the Pallavas. At present, there are various monuments of 7th to 9th century and these monuments also considered in the world heritage site by UNESCO. These monuments are rock-cut and monolithic type of mostly. Geographically, constitute early stage Dravidian architecture. The sculptures and structure of temples are superb example of art of Pallava’s.
Mahabalipuram is also known for sea beaches and the temperature and Climatic Conditions of Mahabalipuram are totally according to be fresh, to enjoy holidays and feel sun kissed peace on sea beaches. With these Sort of enjoyable moments it is an historic heritage place. So it has own kind of significance to visit.
There are so many temples and in these historic building sculptures and other historical art are different from anywhere, mean unique in own kind. Besides sea beaches and temples, caves and hills also provide a panoramic view of nature. Some specific sites are given below to visit most:
Krishna’s butterball – It is a monument, a large rock which is balanced on the hillside and on the other side of the Mahabalipuram beach. This rock is located near Ganesh Ratha and resting at 45 degree angle. There is a saying that the Pallava tried to move this boulder by elephant but they failed in that task.
Dakshinachitra – It is a heritage village of Mahabalipuram. It is 25km from Chennai and situated on the beach of Mahabalipuram. This is a model village and people come here to see heritage homes. It is developed as concern as representing the 19th century. There is an organized craft industry in a traditional form.
Shore temple – This temple is a combined form of three shrines (8th AD). In this temple, Vishnu temple is also located between two temples of Shiva. It is in the Dravidian style, pyramid shaped temple and made up by granite blocks. It is located on the seashore of Mahabalipuram so known as shore temple. Since it is one of the oldest temples those are five Storeyed in Hindu structure in south India and considered in the World heritage site by UNESCO.
Sculpture museum – This museum contains about more than 3000 collections of god and goddess sculptures. In Hindu deities’ sculptures were made of wood, cement and Brass. There is also a collection of sculptures, those made by students of the Mahabalipuram College for sculpture. There are monolithic statues of which depicting the Gupta Empire and Buddhist sculptures related to the mythology of Hindu’s.
Mahishamardini cave – It is a monolithic sculpture of mind of the 7th century. It is located in Chingleput and known as a main site in Mahabalipuram. In this cave carving of Shiva and Parvati, Murugan present in the center. There are also some structures of Pallava art. In these sculptures, one represents Lord Vishnu, surrounded by gods and sleeping on a serpent. There is also a sculpture of battle scene of goddess to kill Mahisha that’s why known as Mahisha Mardini cave.
Pancha Pandas Ratha (Five Chariots) – located at the southern end of Mahabalipuram. These five chariots carved out of a single rock and out of this rock including elephant some gigantic animals also carved.
Ganesh Ratha Temple : in Mahabalipuram is located towards the north of the Arjuna’s Penance. It is a temple carved out from a rock to resemble a chariot and is built in Dravidian style. It was once dedicated to Lord Shiva. But when the original lingam was removed, the temple came to be known as the temple of Lord Ganesh.
Tiger’s Cave : This cave is located just 4 km north of Mahabalipuram. It was built as an open-air theatre, where cultural programmes could have been held during the Pallava period. Though it is very near the sea, the place is very serene and calm.
Dharmaraja Cave : Also known as the Atyantakama mandapam, this seventh century structure consists of three empty shrines. Past the mahamandapam, there are two full Mahendra type pillars and two half pillars with a plain kapota. There are three garbagrihams (cells) for three deities, though now all of them are empty.
How To Reach Mahabalipuram
Chennai is the nearest airport to Mamallapuram well-connected to a number of international destinations as well as to almost all the major cities of India.
Mamallapuram is well-connected to a number of neighboring cities via two important rail heads which are Chengalpattu 29km and Chennai 58km. The Railway Station closest to Mamallapuram is Chengalpattu, is around 29 km away from the main city of Mahabalipuram. The station links Mamallapuram to a number of important cities of Tamil Nadu like Chennai
Mamallapuram is connected to a number of neighboring cities by an excellent network of railways which connect this ancient port-city to Madras, Thirukkalikundram, also known as Pakshithirtham, Kanchipuram and Pondicherry via Chingleput.