Mahabalipuram is the city of temples a renowned tourist and pilgrimage destination is situated at a distance of 55 kms from Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu. Mahabalipuram, now a small sleepy village, has the distinction of being one of the top travel destinations of not only Tamil Nadu but also South India. Known to the world for its famous Shore group of Temples. Mahabalipuram forms an integral part of the golden triangle travel destinations of South India. Earlier known as Mamallapuram, the place has been given the term “the Land of Bali”.
Major Tourist Attractions of Mahabalipuram
The Shore Temple was erected during the reign of Rajasimha in the 7th century AD. The temple rests on a rocky outcrop, presiding over the shoreline. The temple was designed with a view to catching the first rays of the rising sun and illuminating the waters after dark. For this reason, the temple has an unusual layout. It was the first Pallava structure to be built in stone. The older temples, however, were hewn out of stone. The Shikhara or the spire of the temple has been prominently designed. The spire has a soaring and tiered style rather than being like a rounded Vihara.
The Temple Architecture
The temple stands in dedication to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. A chain of Nandi Bulls can be observed along the enclosing wall of the temple. A huge stone wall was built to protect the temple against the rising waves of the sea. The wall also helped to save against further erosion. Facing the east and the west are two shrines to honour Lord Shiva. Acquiring a position between these two shrines is a shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu can be seen resting on the serpent Sesha which symbolises consciousness. The sculpted panels of the temple represent the mastery of the erstwhile artisans of the Pallava era.
Krishna Mandapam :
Arjuna’s Penance :
Tiger’s Cave :
Beach Temples : Tourist in thousands throng the city of Mahabalipuram due to pleasure and attraction brought in by the beautiful beach temples. The monolithic rock cuttings, small shrines ravaged by the wars and times keeps the tourists flowing in to the pilgrim place. Some of the temples around that are of importance to the place are the Kailasanatha temple, Sri Varadaraja temple and Sri Vaikuntaperumal temple which depicts the patience, hard work and the skills of the artist greatness of the times
Mahabalipuram offers a relaxed stay to its visitors with furnished rooms, attached bath, 24 hr service and laundry facilities. The place also serves food to the taste of the visitors. Some of the prominent hotels around are Fisherman’s Cove, GRT Temple Bay Beach Resort ,Ideal Beach Resort, Hotel Sea Breeze, Quality Inn MGM Beach Resort . The garden facilities along with the swimming pools adds color to the comfort.
How to Reach Mahabalipuram
» By Road : There are buses available from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai to Mahabalipuram regularly. The road to Mahabalipuram is well connected to other major roads. Tourists can also hire a taxi from Chennai to reach Mahabalipuram
» By Air : Chennai 58-km away is the nearest airport with both domestic and international terminus.
» By Rail : The nearest railway stations are Chengalpattu (29-km) and Chennai (58-km). From these stations one has to take the roads to reach Mahabalipuram.