7 Best Places to Visit in Mahabalipuram
Places to visit in Mahabalipuram – List of 14 Best Mahabalipuram Tourist Places Attractions, Activities, Things to Do –Shore Temple, Adi Caraha Cave Temple, Tiger Cave, Pancha Rathas, Trimurti Cave, Mandapams, Descent of Ganges.
The town of temples , sand and sea- Mahabalipuram, formerly known as Mahabalipuram, is world renowned for its beautiful Shore temple. It was once the main port and naval base of the great Pallava Kingdom and was later made the capital of this dynasty. ‘Mamalla’ meaning the great wrestler, was the name given to Narasimha Varman I. Most of the temples and sculptures in Mahabalipuram dedicated ti Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, were completed between 630 AD and 728 AD during the reign of Narosimha Varman i and Narasimha Varman II.
Sand, water and temples set the backdrop for the graceful and evocative dancers who celebrate the ancient Indian culture and tradition at the annual Mahabalipuram Dance Festival held during January and February. Here the expressive Indian Classical dancers adorned in traditional costumes perform Odissi, Kuchupudi, Kathakali and Bharatnatyam.
The quaint little town of Mahabalipuram is enriched with ancient and splendid sculptures. Each of the beautiful works of art has a story to tell. Like the large 27m by 9m bas-relief that narrates the tale of Arjuna’s Penance. Arjuna win back the Pandava Empire. A fascinating combination of humans, animals and celestial beings seem to be rushing to the reversed scene. Most prominent among them is a 4.8 m majestic elephant leading a procession. Also known as the Descent of the Ganga, this impressive canvas portray the life giving River Ganges flowing out from its high source in the Himalayas. Enchanting stories from the Panchatantra, are also a part of this magnificent bas-relief.
Tourist Places to visit in Mahabalipuram : –
The most renowned landmark of Mahabalipuram is the Shore Temple. Standing alone on the shore, this temple is protected by a wall constructed to minimise erosion. It is believed that at one point there were seven such temples, six of them were victims to the natural elements of erosion.
King Rajasimha built this exquisite temple over 1,200 years ago in the 7th century AD. It has three shrines; one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the other two to Lord Shiva. The frothy waves from a striking backdrop to the temple, protected by rows of rock-carved hills. Shore Temple is among top in the list of places to visit in Mahabalipuram.
The most unique feature of the temple is that it houses shrines to both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The 2.4 m long bas-relief of Lord Vishnu reclining on his serpent conch can be seen in his shrine. The 16 sided granite lingam in one of the chambers is said to have touched the ceiling once. The entrance is guarded by deities and the temple was given the world heritage listing a few years ago. A classical example of the best Dravidian architecture, the unique temple will leave you in awe of the sculpture’s talent.
Eight magnificent Mandapams- caves
Also worth seeing in Mahabalipuram are the eight magnificent Mandapams- caves carved out of the hillside with solenoid sculptures and pillars. Each of the shallow temples has five bas-reliefs with scenes from Hindu mythology and two of them remain unfinished. It is among top in the list of places to visit in Mahabalipuram.
In the Krishna Mandapam, the bas-relief shows Lord Krishna sheltering the shepherds and their cattle from the fury of the Rain God Indra with his enormous umbrella.
On the hill rests a dangerously balanced boulder named Krishna’s butterball after his legendary affinity for fresh butter.
In the Mahishasura Mardhini Mandapam are splendid sculptures of Goddess Durga fighting the evil buffalo-headed demon Mahishasura. Lord Vishnu sleeping on the coils of Adishesh the serpent can be seen too.
Varha, the boar, an incranation of Lord Vishnu is seen emerging from the sea clinging onto the rescued Earth Goddess in the Varaha Mandapam.
The five monolithic Rathas of Mahabalipuram are named after the victorious Pandava brothers of the epic Mahabharata and their wife Draupadi. Though the temples are incomplete, they exude architectural brilliance of the Dravidian style, seen in the magnificent gopurams, vimanas and carved walls. The majestic lion, an Elephant and the sacred Nandi Bull guard the rathas. It is among top in the list of places to visit in Mahabalipuram.
People practice worship in the Trimurti Cave and the Adi Varaha Temple. Beautifully sculptures of mythical creatures, monkeys and yalis cover the walls. The revival of the Pallava art and craft can be seen in excellent replicas of ancient sculptures in granite, soapstone and marble at the Government School of Sculpture. You can buy these beautiful objects of art at various shops. Exquisite carving in wood and dazzling jewellery are available too.
Area : 8 sq. km.
Altitude : Sea level
Temperature : Min Max
Summer 22.1C 36.6C
Winter 19.8C 30.5C
Rainfall : 32.5 mm.
Clothing : Tropical
How to reach Mahabalipuram
Chennai airport is 49 km away.
A good motoring road connects Mahabalipuram with Chennai and other places. State Transport Corporation operates buses to Chennai, Kalpakkam, Chengalpattu, Kncheepuram, Pondicherry, Cuddalore. There are also buses to Tirupathi, Thiruthani amd Bangalore.
Taxis- auto rickshaws-Bicycles and mopeds available on hire.
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