Mahabalipuram is one of the oldest cities of India located in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. It lies on the Bay of Bengal coast at a distance of 60 km from Chennai. The city is connected to Chennai through a well laid our road and traveling through Chennai to Mahabalipuram cabs is the most convenient option. The city is world renowned for its ancient temples and beautifully carved monuments. Most of the temples were built by the Pallava Dynasty between 7th and 8th century. The group of monuments in Mahabalipuram has been recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. Have a look at the best places to visit in Mahabalipuram:
Arjuna’s Penance: It is a huge sculpture which is placed in open air. The sculpture is actually a set of two huge rocks of 43 feet height upon which intricate carving was done. It showcases the various events that happened in Arjuna’s life. The carving work is amazingly detailed and beautiful, and this site is a must visit in Mahabalipuram.
Sthalasayana Perumal Temple: It is counted among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Also known as Thirukadalmallai, the Sthalasayana Perumal Temple was built in the 8th century by the Pallavas. The temple displays a typical Dravidian architecture with a marvelous white colored gopuram.
Cave temples: Mahabalipuram has 8 Rock cut cave temples in total which were built in the 7th century. The different carved sculptures on rocks are dedicated to various Hindu Gods and are considered one the best showcases of ancient Indian art. The 8 cave temples are named Krishna, Mahishasuramardini, Varaha, Trimurti, Kotikal, Tiger, Atiranachanda and Panchapandava.
Shore Temple: It has been named Shore Temple because it faces the shores of the Bay of Bengal. It is brilliantly carved out of granite and is also called the 7 Pagodas due to a belief that the complex had 7 Pagodas before destruction was caused by a Tsunami in the 13th century AD. The beautiful temple with Pallava style of Dravidian architecture has many brilliantly made rock cut reliefs and sculptures.
Pancha Rathas: The rock cut reliefs are in the open air and have the form of 5 Chariots (Rathas) which are named after the Pandavas. All Chariots are carved out of distinct pink granite with the tallest one having a height of 40 feet. Intricately carved sculptures of various gods can be seen on the chariot temples and is a wonderful sight.
Fairs & Festivals: Pongal is the most important festival of the Tamils held during mid January and celebrated with great fervor in Mahabalipuram. Another popular festival is the Mahabalipuram Dance Festival, which is a unique festival held in Shore Temple wherein you can enjoy the performances of the classical artists from all parts of the country. The festival is organized in the month of January/February every year. Other important festivals are Sthalasayana Perumal temple festival, Masimagam and Brahmothsavam. You can plan your visit to Mahabalipuram as per your interest after confirming the exact dates of the festivals.
Mahabalipuram’s weather is mostly hot and sultry throughout the year with a max temperature reaching 35°C and a minimum of 19°C. October to March is the best months to visit and it is advisable to avoid the monsoon period. If you are traveling with your family from Chennai, it is advisable to hire one of the Innova cabs in Chennai. You can easily book through Savaari, a reliable operator of taxi in Chennai.