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Mahabalipuram

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Important Info

  • Important Fact : UNESCO World Heritage City in Tamil Nadu
  • Best Season :  November to February
  • Required Time : 1 day
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Mahabalipuram, is one of the important and well known tourist location situated on the Coromandel Coast along the Bay of Bengal in Tamilnadu. It situated on the East Coast Road of Chennai. A drive from Chennai to Mahabalipuram through the East Coast Road (E.C.R) will be a unique experience with the scenic Bay of Bengal in the left side.

Mahabalipuram is world famous due to it's historical importance and there is a wide range of sculptures, temples, rocks and astound cut caves are available in this small town. Also it is much more than a temple town. This place is a heaven for stone architecture lovers and has some of the greatest collection of early Dravidian architectural marvels.

Mahabalipuram has been given the designation of UNESCO world heritage site. The main attractions in Mahabalipuram includes the group of monuments like the Shore Temple, Five Rathas, Krishna's Butterball, Arjuna's Penance, Ganesha Ratha, Lighthouse. 

Since there are many tourist spots in Mahabalipuram, it is better to plan a complete day here, starting from the early morning. It is good to book a cab or an auto to take to different spots. Also we can make it adventurous by hiring a bicycle or a motorbike to drive our self and cover all the places.

Travel Tips

  • Beware of the sudden change in the sea depth as the drop is too steep for even professional swimmers to handle.
  • This beach has a nasty history of accidents and avoid getting into the deep sea.
  • Lighthouse is a  must visit place for photography enthusiasts.
  • Avoid visiting in the months of March - April as the temperature can go as high as 42°C.
  • Better to hire a tourist guide to understand more about the history of each places.

Detailed Information

Mahabalipuram - The land of Caves and Carvings! The temples of Mahabalipuram were built by the Pallavas between the 4th and 9th centuries AD and was once an important port city. Most of the monuments in Mahabalipuram are monolithic, and its carved out of a single rock. The modern Mahabalipuram was established by the British in 1827.

There are multiple stories exist about the origin of the name "Mahabalipuram". The most common one is that the place is named after King Mahabali. History says that there were 7 shore temples in Mahabalipuram. But at present, only one is available while other temples are submerged in the sea. Catamaran rides are available here to explore the hidden shore temples.

Pancha Rathas
Panch or Five rathas (chariots) is very famous and the great Pandavas are depicted through stone carvings. All the five monuments in the complex resemble a chariot. These rathas are named after the Pandavas and their wife Draupadi. The interesting fact about these chariots is that each one of it is carved out of a single stone. This place is open from 6:00 am to 6;00 pm and they charge Rs 10 as entry fee.
 
Krishna's Butterball

Located near Pancha Ratha, this is not a temple or part of any architecture. It is a big stone which is very popular with tourists due to its unusual placement balanced on an incline in a very unique manner. It weighs around 250 tons. It is said that Pallava king Narasimhavarman used elephants to move this rock but failed. And years later Arthur Havelock the governor of Madras, also tried to shift this stone, but failed to move the rock. The name "Krishna's Butterball" is due to the story of Krishna stealing butter and the piece of boulder resembles a giant butterball which is used in making butter from milk. This place is quite famous among the tourists for photography. This place is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm and the entry is free of cost.

Ganesha Ratha
Ganesha Ratha is a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This rock cut temple was originally dedicated to Lord Shiva with a presence of Linga but now replaced by a Ganesha idol. It was carved out of a pink granite which was in the shape of a chariot.

Lighthouse
Lighthouse is the highest point of Mahabalipuram for getting the 360 degree view of the small town. We can see the beautiful sea at one side and the coastal greens on the other. 

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