About Mamallapuram Places to visit in Mahabalipuram Tourist Places
Mahabalipuram is an important place of classical Monuments in India, the monolithic and cave temples. It is also known as Mamallapuram. This place attracts large number of visitors from all over the world. It is situated close to the sea and it is rich in artistic wealth also. These monuments afford scope for not only the study ancient architecture and sculpture in the Tamil country.
About Mahabalipuram History
It lies on the Coromandel Coast which faces the Bay of Bengal. It is an ancient sea-side town. This is an elegant place to watch which a well established sea port was during the 7th to 10th centuries of the Pallava dynasty. This was the second capital of the Pallavas who ruled Kanchipuram.
There is a story behind. The name Mamallpuram king Narasimha Varman I was a great and valiant warrior. He was given the title Mamalla which means ‘the great wrestler’ so the name was converted from Mahabalipuram to Mamallapuram considering the great king and his achievements. It was renamed Mahabalipuram which is called till now.
The pallavas rose to the pioneer in south India, after the decline of the Gupta Dynasty. They ruled over from the 3rd century till the end of the 9th century A.D. The best period of their rule was between 650 and 750 AD and this period was called as the Golden Age of the pallavas. The pallavas were very powerful. They were profound thinkers.
It was during the rule of the pallavas, great poets, dramatists, artists, artisans, scholars and saints emerged. As one can say that the pallavas are the pioneers and forerunners of new styles both in art and architecture.
It is the best place to praise off their skill and talent. New sculptures and unique paintings were innovative and exuberant. This place itself became their exploring field and they made the best use of the resources. They game a shape and creative energy to what they imagined. It became a dream come true as it witnessed innovations in all styles.
The richness in Mamallapuram was not known to many, as these pallavas did not outlet and expose their quality and innovative creations to the outer world for obvious reasons. The aestheticism of here was hidden until the late 18th century. What is special about Mahapalipuram? Of course every one can point out the rock - cut caves, temples made from a single rock, temples and strives of different structures, and bas-reliefs which are so artistic and sheer creativity. Mamalpuram is referred as an ‘open-air museum’. The great pallava kings Narasimha I and Rajasimha have well preserved these stylistic qualities that one enjoys this place even in the present day.
Mahabalipuram Sightseeing Places
The beauty of the place is not only due to these architecture but the vast casuarinas trees, the silvery sandy beach the classical hand male crafts around have made them all to form what is a collective splendor. Any visitor who visits Mahabalipuram will remain startled and intoxicated with the grandeur. They feel hand hearted and more out from this historical and fascinating tourist spot.
About Mahabalipuram City Tamil Nadu
It is a town in Chengalpattu District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the best world Heritage site said by UNESCO in the 7th and 8th century.
It ( 12°37'02''N; 80°11'39''E) is about 59km South of Chennai we can reach by East coast road Via Kovalam. It is a famous tourist destination in South India. Private and Government tour operators can conducts trip to Mahapalipuram. Regular bus services are available from Koyambedu Bus stand, Chennai. The ancient tradition of stone carving is still alive in Mahapalipuram. We can here the rhythmic sounds of hammer and chisels event today. UNESCO has added these group of monuments in the World Heritage List.
It was an ancient port of the Pallavas, who have created many marvellous monuments with sculptural panels, caves, monolithic rathas and temples. The port was constructed by Emperor Mahendra Varman in the 7th century. The place is among the most outstanding examples of Dravidian art and architecture.
Once a thriving port trading with many distant nations, the sculptors have breathed life into stone at this place. The Pallava art monumental splendour and man y beaches attract tourists from all over the world.
There is a huge rock tub said to be the bathing tub of Draupathi. Above, on the rocky hill is a shrine of Vishnu without the deity. One can also see the old rock built lighthouse and the modern lighthouse side by side. It is a real feast to the eyes that could read an epic in lively sculpture.
Climate is tropical wet and dry. During May month the temperature is about 39.1°C. It is the highest temperature. Lowest temperature is about 24.3 °C.
Mahabalipuram Places to Visit
It has 40 ancient monuments and Hindu temples. Arjuna’s Penance is one of the largest open-air rock relief in the world. This site has several types of monuments such as Ratha. It is made up of monolith processional chariots and Mandapa viharas. Archaeological Survey of India is managing this sites.
The pallava art at this place emphasizes robust earthly beauty, imbibed with life. The Pallavas have created many marvelous monuments, sculptural panels, caves monolithic rathas and sculptural panels’ caves, monolithic rathas and sculptural temples. Mythological episodes, epic battles, demons, gods, animal are all vividly depicted on the wall. Sculptures are breath taking real and artistic. This fantasy was created and architected by the great chirpy Devadapperunthachan. These monumental splendors and the sunny beach attracts tourists from all over the world.
Shore Temple is enclosed by a row of bulls carved on a rock. The stately shrine set elegantly on the edge of the sea is a long survivor among the seven magnificent temples built over here. The construction originally started around the middle of the 7th century and was later rebuilt during the reign of Narsimha Varma II, also known as Rajasimha. It is one of the oldest temples in South Indiastanding on the edge of the sea. This Koil represents the first phase of structural temples constructed in Dravidian style. This icon of the soaring aesthetic aspiration of the Pallavas has been listed among the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO and is one of the most visited monuments in Tamil Nadu. Originally, there were seven such temples called as pagodas and only one has been spared. It has a vimana towering over 60 feet built in basaltic rock. A prismatic lingam is on the sanctum facing the sea and Vishnu is seen reclining on the ground (Stala sayana) in his chamber in the rear. The Shore Koil is in fact complexes of three exquisitely carved shrines and are approached through a paved forecourt flanked by weathered perimeter walls supporting striking sculptures of numerous 'Nandi' bulls. A Koil dedicated to Lord Vishnu is flanked by two Shiva Koil, one facing the east and the other facing the west. Both the Shiva Koil are crowned by soaring spires, while the Vishnu Koil has none, as it may have crumbled with time. The Vishnu temple was built by Narasimha Varma I or "Mamalla", while the Shivan Koil were later built by his son Narasimha Varman II. The monuments are flood it at night and so it is possible to enjoy this beauty after sunset too.
Arjuna Penance is the splendor of Mamalapuram. It is a huge rock in the canvas unfolding a scene of gods and demigods, birds, beasts and natural scenery. Some are of the opinion that it is in fact Bagirath's penace to bring the celestial Ganges to the earth. A natural cleft in rock has been cleverly carved into the turbulent river Ganges with serpent gods worshipping like devotees along the banks frozen in their prayer a superb poetry in sculpture which no visitor should miss.This a complicated magnificent piece of skilfully carved work, the largest bas-relief sculptures in the world. Arjuna, the epic hero of Mahabharata, is depicted here as sage doing penance in order to obtain the divine weapons from Lord Shiva. All the carvings are made out of a huge boulder. There is a natural cleft in the centre of the huge rock which is conceived as the sacred river Ganga descending to earth. Various divine figures have been carved on all the sides. This piece of work is a masterpiece of creation in expression, particularly the figures relating to the popular Panchatanthra stories. Bhagiratha Penance is one of the largest and the finest bas-relief measuring 29m*7m, sculpted on the face of two enormous adjacent rocks. The panel is divided by a natural crack between the two rocks. The panel is divided by a natural crack between the two rocks. Originally the water fed from a collecting camber above, flowed down the fissure. A figure of bearded sage with floating ribs, standing on his left foot, deeply absorbed in performing penance is believed to be Bhagiratha praying for the Ganga to descend to earth from the Himalayas. The carvings depict realistic life size images of birds, animals, deities and other divine figures watching the flow of the Ganga. Some others relate this bas-relief to Arjuna's penance, petitioning Lord Shiva for the divine weapon, Pashupatha. The figure of animals particularly, the two large elephants and scenes from the fables in the Panchatantra are remarkable and unpretentious. The richness in the iconographic content of carvings makes this unique.
Krishna Temple or Krishna Mandapam
There is a sculpture on the rock face of one wall Lord Krishna as the protector of all living beings, presenting man, bird and beast. A stunningly beautiful bas-relief showing Krishna lifting the Govardhana mountain in order to protect the cows and the cowherds from the wrth of Indra, the god of rain, is the highlight of this cave temple. Krishna Mandapam epitomizes real bliss and presents activities that have changed little with time.
The rock-cut cave tradition is represented by more than thirteen caves, was first initiated here by Mahendravarma – I. They are known for their simplicity in plan and decoration. Notable on among the cave temples are Konerimandapa, Tirumurthi cave and Krishnamandapa.
The Mahishasuramardhini Cave is carved into three shrines bass relief of Somaskanda in the rear, Anantasayana Vishnu canopied by Shesha, reclining on the serpent bed. Mahishasuramardhini is struck in bold relief in such an awe-inspiring way with the thrill of the beholder in the battlefield. This is another excellent bas-relief depicting Lord Vishnu sleeping on the coils of serpent king Adisesha and goddess Durga fighting with demon king Mahishasura. It is particularly remarkable scooped cave.
Varaha Cave Temple
This is a small rock cut mandapam featuring four panels of fine looking door keepers and four interesting bas-reliefs. Lord Vishnu is shown in this Cave Koil in the incarnation of Varaha (boar) and the Vamana as a dwarf. This is an exquisitely caved bas-relief. Varaha Cave illustrates the legend of rescuing the earth Boodevi by Vishnu incarnated as a boar.
There rock-cut temples, named after the five Pandava brothers and Draupadi are the excellent examples of the Pallava art. All the five monuments are called Rathas as they are full sized models and look like the chariots of the Koil. However, they recall the earlier architecture of the Buddhist chapels and monasteries. In addition, the Ganesha Ratha in the north side is also a beautiful piece of art. The architecture resembles Dravidian temples with their imposing towers and multi-pillared halls and sculptured walls.
Pandava Rathas or Five Rathas Or Monolithic Temple
Five Rathas are also known as Pancha pandava Rathas. Pandava Raths or Monolithic Shrines are five in number out of which four are carved, out of a single rock, while the fifth is scooped from a small rock. The hut-like Draupadi Rath sports door-keepers, Durga with a worshipper cutting and offering is neck, and the outer walls of Arjuna's rath have most lovely and graceful figures of gods and mortals carved by a skilful sculptor. Nakula-Sahadeva rath stands with a huge Monolithic elephant in front. Bhima's rath has two storeys and lion-based pillars. Dharmaraja's rath is the biggest and has 8 panels of exquisite sculptures. They are richly carved with art motifs and wall panels depicting many Hindu divinities and royal portraits.
Shallow halls resembling porticoes in various parts of the area, some of them left in an unfinished condition. These are remarkable for their sculpture combined with simple architectural treatment. About 4km away is the cave temple complex of Aluvan Kuppam. The Tiger Cave is an excavated cave shrine with aureole of Lion heads. It was an open theatre where cultural programmes were held in the past.
Krishna's butter ball a huge boulder with just a tip of it touching the rock giving the on-looker an impression that it may roll on him any moment. The Krishna butterball is near the Ganesha Ratha. It is near the narrow rock base. Pallava kings attempted to move it, but all the kings and there elephants are not able to move the boulder even by an inch.
The Tiger Cave
Tiger cave is about 4km north of the main monument complex. There is a beautiful monolithic stage where cultural programmes were held during the Pallava period. Though very near the sea this place is serene and calm.
College of Sculpture
Training is given in various branches of temple art and architecture. According to the Sirpasastra. The college also has a display hall, which exhibits beautiful traditional sculptures.
Open Air Museum
The newly setup modern open-air museum of sculptures reflects the cultural heritage of the Tamils from the Pre-Sangam days. The objects on display, shaped mostly from granite by 200 sculptures, include chains of stone, ornamental wheels and a host of other items. The themes here are many, including those relating to historical and cultural events of the past, placing the contribution of the Tamils in proper perspective. Situated very close to the Shore Koil. We can have a glimpse of the past as well as the progress being made in the present in the field of art in Tamil Nadu.
Nithya Kalyana Perumal Temple
Nithya Kalyana Perumal Temple is situated in a distance of 42km from Chennai and 16km from Mahabalipuram. This holy shrine is one among the 108 temples called Tirupathy. The presiding deity is holding her on the left side. So it is called Thiru-idatha Eanthai. It over a period of time came to be called as Thiru-Vidanthai. Tamil saint Thiru Mangai Alwar has sung the glory this holy place in the ten places in his famous ‘pasuram’. There are several messages relating to this is available in the stone scripture of first Raja Raja Cholan and Vijaya Rajendra Cholan. Garuda Sevai during the Tamil month of Aani Pooram during the month of Aadi, spring festival during the month of Vaigasi are the important festivals. Timings: Morning: 6.00am to 1.00pm, Evening: 3.00pm to 8.00pm
Cholamandal Artists Village
This village was established by the community sculptures bronzes, icons and paintings. It is situated on the East coast Road on the way to Mamalapuram at Enjampakkam. Timings: 9am to 7pm.
Dhakshina Chitra is adjacent to MGM. This complex is run by Chennai craft foundation. Here we can see the models and replica or traditional houses and other artefacts of Tamil Nadu. The rest of South India.
Mahabalipuram Tourist Places
Thirukkalikundram is about 14km from Mamalapuram. There is an ancient Shiva temple with lofty tower at this place. Nearby is a hill called Vedagiri, 160m high, on the top of which also there is a small Shivan Koil. It is said that two kites arrive regularly an noon to the summit of this hill to receive food from the hands of the temple priest. At the south-east of the town is a spacious tank whose waters are said to have curative properties. Once in 12 years, a Shanka(conch) comes out of the tank according to the local tradition. A number of such conches obtained in the past are displayed at the temple.
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is about 60km away from this city. This is one of the major water bird sanctuaries in India. It is the home of thousands of such birds which migrate to the vast tank for breeding. Situated amidst pleasant surroundings and nurturing a mass of study mangrove trees with large spreading crowns in the centre, this lake attracts from the temperate zones every year between September and March, such birds. The birds include cormorants, darters, egrets, storks, herons, spoon bills, ibises, pelicans and many other water birds. Many of them arrive punctually even from far off places like Siberia. This is a very popular place for the bird Watchers and photographers. A path shaded by tree atop a raised bund allows the visitors to observe nestling colony of birds. A small rest house is built at the village for overnight stay.
Thiruporur is 16km from in place. An ancient Koil dedicated to Lord Muruga is located here. There are some historical inscriptions on the walls of the Koil as well as some interesting sculptures.
Sadras is 16km away from this city. An old fishing village on the sea-shore which was one a Dutch settlement. A massive fort with 14 well cut tomb stones attract the attention of the visitors to the place.
Mamalapuram is now a flourishing tourist centre and has a number of modern lodgings and rest houses to cater to the need of the visitors. State and private buses operate in this route at frequent intervals. However, hired taxi would be ideal to visit most of the interior places.
Alamparai is about 50km from Mamalapuram. There is a ruined fort built by the Nawabs. Backwaters and cool sands provide a nice for picnic spot.
Covelong beach is a small fishing village. It is about 40km from Chennai on the ECR road. There are the remains of a fort which now functions as a luxury beach resort. Facilities for windsurfing and swimming are available here.
This bank is about 44km from Chennai. There are various pits in this centre. A tribal society is also here. It runs a snake venom extraction centre. Timings: 8.00am to 6.00pm
MGM Dizzee world
Many amusement items such as Giant wheels, Toy rains, water rides, Roller Coaster etc. Timings: 10.00am to 7.30pm.
This Boat house ply Rowboats, pedal boats and Motor boats. A snack bar will also be provided shortly. This boat house attracts the tourists travelling on the ‘East coast Road’ in large numbers and provide good quality entertainment. It is about 92km from Chennai and 36km from Mamalapuram on the East Coast road. Timings 10am to 6pm.
Muttukadu Boat house
Wind surfing, Canoe kayak, Pedal Boat, Row Boat etc. are available for the public. It is located at a distance of 80km from Kanchipuram. It is a good place to get away for a day. The Backwaters of Muttukkadu have been developed by the Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation to serve as a picnic spot and a centre for water sports. Training and demonstration programmes are organized for beginners.
Thameem Ansari Baba Darga
A devoted follower of the words and deeds of prophet Mohamed was born in Medina. Soon after his demise and as per his last wish his mortal remains were put in a coffin and immersed in the sea. However it reached the shores of Kovalam beach. Thus came into being the holy shrine of the Muslim saint Thameem Ansari Baba.
How to Reach Mahabalipuram
How to reach by Air
The nearest Airport is at Chennai. It is about 52km.
How to reach by Rail
The nearest railway station is Chengalpattu, it is about 30km. Trains to Thanjavur, Trichy, Madurai, Chidambaram, Rameshwaram, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari etc.
How to reach By Road
The bus services from Mamalapuram are operated by MTC and TNSTC. The travel routes are Chennai, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Thiruttani etc. It is well connected by Chennai to Pondicherry ecr. SETC operates buses to Chennai, Puducherry (95km) and Kancheepuram (65km) via Chengalpattu (30km from Mamalapuram) . Chengalpattu is also the nearest railhead. Regular bus service is available from Chengalpattu to Mamalapuram. Taxis are available from Chennai airport.
Area: 8 sq. km.
Altitude: Sea level
Rainfall: 32.5 cm average
Clothing : Tropical
Languages Spoken : Tamil and English
Tourist Season: Throught the year
Frequently Asked Question
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How much distance is from Chennai to Mahabalipuram?
The distance from Chennai to this place is about 56km by road.