Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram is located around 60 kms south from the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. It is a 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas. It is believed to have been named after either the demon king Mahabali, or the Pallava king Mamalla. Mahabalipuram has various historic monuments built mostly between the 7th and the 9th century. The most famous monument here is the Shore Temple, which looks absolutely mesmerizing when lit by moonlight. This historical city has been crowned as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Most of the monuments here are rock-cut and monolithic. They represent the early phases of Dravidian architecture wherein Buddhist elements of design can be seen clearly. There are cave temples, monolithic rathas (chariots), sculpted reliefs and structural temples found here. The pillars are of the Dravidian order and the sculptures are excellent examples of Pallava art. The majestic Mahabalipuram, invokes a certain kind of mystery, with its sculptural extravaganza depicting strong artistic temperament of the Pallavas who were the pioneers in South Indian art.
¤ Attractions at Mahabalipuram
Your travel vacations to Mahabalipuram, the beautiful beach city located on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon is going to be a life time experience. Mahabalipuram is a blessed combination of history, good beaches and hassle-free tourism. It is known for its group of pleasing rathas and the dramatically carved relief depicting Arjuna's Penance. The magnificent Shore Temple, built by king Rajasimha in the 7th century, is an outstanding temple that has the shrines of both Shiva and Vishnu. The Varaha Cave another major attraction which is one of the many rock-cut caves in Mahabalipuram. The Krishna Mandapam, one of the most visited places, has a bas-relief of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan hill on his fingertips.
¤ Nearby Excursions
Mahabalipuram travel guide offers excellent excursion opportunities in the city. It makes a complete Golden Triangle circuit of South India along with Chennai and Kanchipuram. People who visit Chennai and Kanchipuram definitely come to this beautiful place also. Kanchipuram, located around 65 km from Mahabalipuram is famous for some of India's finest silk saris. The Kanchi weavers definitely deserve a beautiful ode !This small and dusty town of kanchipuram is popularly called the 'Golden Town of a Thousand Temples'. It is famous for the Kamakshi, Varadarajaswami, and Kailasanathar temples, some outstandingly beautiful temples. Vedanthangal another worth visiting destination is renowned for a bird sanctuary, which is one of India's largest sanctuaries. The Covelong beach here is famous for its golden sand and other historical monuments. The Crocodile Bank at a distance of 14 kms and Muttukadu around 21 kms away from Chidambaram are also worth a visit.
¤ Events and Festivals
On your travel trip to Mahabalipuram participate in diverse festivals celebrated by the locals.Among the festivals celebrated in Mahabalipuram, Pongal is the most important. It is one of the most auspicious festivals for the Tamils. It is celebrated in mid-January every year. The festival is celebrated with gaiety and joy not only in Tamil Nadu but also in most parts of South India. Mahabalipuram Dance Festival is a perfect occasion for the dance lovers, who can enjoy the performances of the artists from all parts of the country. This festival is celebrated in the month of January/February every year. The Shore Temple is the venue of this festival and the music from the musical instruments along with the music created by the natural surroundings provides an overwhelming experience. The Sthalasayana Perumal temple festivals, Masimagam and Brahmothsavam, are held in the month of March.
¤ Reach Mahabalipuram
By Air : The nearest airport from Mahabalipuram is Chennai (Madras), located around 60 km away. One can get flights for almost all major destinations in India and abroad.
By Rail : The nearest railway station is at Chengalpattu, around 29 km away from Mahabalipuram. Trains for Chennai and several other major cities in South India are available from here.
By Road : Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram is connected with good roads to major destinations like Chennai, Tirukkalikundram (Pakshithirtham), Kanchipuram (65 km), Pondicherry and Chengalpattu. Tourists can also hire a taxi from Chennai.