|Location||60 km off Chennai in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu|
|Also Known as||The Land of Bali|
|Prime attractions||Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Penance|
|Temperature||Max-35° C and Min -19°C|
|Area||8 sq. Km|
Travel Information About Mahabalipuram
The city 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”. The renowned tourist and pilgrimage destination is situated at a distance of 55 kms from Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu. It was once the capital of the Pallava Dynasty and is a major travel attraction today due to the largest Basilica in the world on the sea side. Called Arjuna’ penance it even is widely known for the mandapams or the large hall that are eye catching in its decorations. This creative piece of architecture offers ample proof of the grand architecture of the 5th and the 8th century artistic creation.
A majority of the temples and rock carvings belongs to the reign of Narashimha Varman1 In the 630-668AD. The conversion of the King Mahendre Varman to accept Shaivism led the creation of the monuments devoted to the Hindu gods like Lord Shiva and Vishnu.
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Major Travel Attractions of Mahabalipuram
Shore Temple: Counted as one of the oldest temples in South India it dates back to the early 8th century. The Temple is a fine example of the structural architecture of the Dravidian style. The monuments placed inside comes alive in the glittering of the floodlights at night. The three in one abode of the lords, one temple of lord Vishnu between the two great Shiva temples are of special interest to the pilgrims visiting Mahabalipuram.
Arjuna’s Penance: The world’s largest bas-relief creation measures up to 27m in height and 9m in width holds the pride of Mahabalipuram. The whale shaped rock contains figures of Gods and Demigods, beasts, birds and in fact represents the entire creation of the almighty.
Five Rathas: The five Monolithic temples built in different style and forms are known as the Pancha Pandava Rathas. Among them four are believed to be created out from a large single rock
Tiger’s Cave: The Tiger’s cave lying 4 km to the north of the main monument complex was an open air theatre where cultural programs were held. The caves are very near to the beach but serene and peaceful atmosphere prevails there.
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.
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Nearby Travel Attractions of Mahabalipuram
Muttukadu: Located 21 kms from the city of Mahabalipuram, Muttukadu is abundant with houseboats with the initiative taken by the Tamilnadu Development Corporation. Travellers and visitors can have the pleasure of boating, swimming, canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing. There is placed the replica of the Kanchipuram weavers house and the dakshini chitra of the Madras craft foundation which gives a clear picture of the way of life at the ancient South Indian city.
Mahabalipuram offers stone sculpture and carvings in stone or woods to its visitors. Jewellery of the ancient forms are also available. But the most important are the decorative items built from the sea shells which are good to take home .
Accommodation at Mahabalipuram
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 colour to the comfort.
How to Reach
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.
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.