Attractions of Mahabalipuram
or Arjuna?s Penance - Arjuna's Penance,
an enormous relief made on two huge boulders,
is the universe itself in stone. This colossus
of art, 27 metres long and 9 metres high, is
perhaps the world's largest bas-relief. The
crack in the rock depicts the descent of the
Ganga, brought to earth by King Bhagiratha to
redeem the cursed souls of his ancestors. The
two large elephants are remarkable for their
artistry, and so are the scenes from the Panchatantra.
There is a forest with tribal people and all
forms of animal life , just as they would
appear in their habitat .
in an aura of inexpressible grace, a rich inner
beauty transfiguring the plainest of them. The
whole scene has a delicate edge of humour. Juxtaposed
against the ascetic is a cat doing rigorous
penance too, eyes firmly shut, even to the delectable
mice scampering around within easy reach.
Five Rathas (Five Chariots) - A group of structures
lying at the southern extreme of Mahabalipuram, amidst
casuarina trees, are the famous Rathas (chariots).
The Pancha Pandava Rathas, as they are called, are
five in number. Out of these, four are carved out
of a single rock, while the fifth on the west is scooped
out from a small rock. The square Draupadi and Arjuna
Rathas, the linear Bhima Ratha, the taller Dharamraja
Ratha and the apsidal Nakula-Sahadeva Ratha, constitute
Shore Temple - The windswept and surf-beaten
Shore Temple, the mute tireless sentinel of
the shore, is the ultimate expression of Mahabalipuram.
A three-in-one abode of God; a Vishnu temple
sandwiched between two Shiva temples-it is a
visual delight, its precincts abounding in architectural
masterpieces. On either side of it the sea spreads,
endless and infinite. The compound wall of this
temple is lined with charming sculptures of
Nandi the Bull while the figure of Vishnu is
present in the sanctum sanctorum.
Getaways near Mahabalipuram
Tiger Cave - It is 4-km north of
the main monument complex. It was an open-air theatre,
where cultural programmes are held. Though it is very
near the sea, the place is serene and calm.
- Tirukkalikundram, around 14 km from Mahabalipuram,
is a pilgrimage center. The place has a hilltop temple
dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The Crocodile Bank
- The Crocodile bank is situated barely 14 km from
Mahabalipuram on the Chennai-Mahabalipuram road. Set
up by an American named Romulus Whitaker in 1976,
the number of crocodiles in the bank grew in its first
15 years from just 15 to over 5,000. Located nearby
is a snake farm where anti-venom is produced for treating
The Cholamandalam Artists' Village -
About 20 km from Mahabalipuram, is an artists commune,
where artists in contemporary art, Batik, Terracota
and Sculpture come together to exhibit and sell their
work. Here you can even watch the artists at work.
|Events in Mahabalipuram
, the most important festival of the Tamils,
is celebrated in mid-January every year. The
festival is celebrated amidst gaiety and joy
not only in Tamil Nadu but also in most parts
of South India.
The Mahabalipuram Dance Festival
is an occasion for the dance lovers to enjoy
the performances of the artists from all parts
of the country. The festival is celebrated in
the month of January/February every year. The
Shore Temple forms the backdrop of this festival
and the music from the musical instruments mixes
with the natural music of wind and the sea.
The Mahabalipuram Dance festival is an occasion
when artists from all over the country come
together to perform.
The Sthalasayana Perumal temple
festivals, Masimagam and Brahmothsavam, are
held in the month of March.
There & Away to Mahabalipuram
nearest airport from Mahabalipuram is Chennai
(Madras), located around 60 km away. You can
get flights for almost all major destinations
in India and abroad.
railway station, Chengalpattu, is around 29
km away from Mahabalipuram. Trains for Chennai
and several other major cities in South India
are available from here.
is connected by road to Chennai, Tirukkalikundram
(Pakshithirtham), Kanchipuram (65 km), and Pondicherry.
Getting Around in Mahabalipuram
Tourist taxis and city buses
are available for local
transport. In addition,
settling for a bargained price and cycles are available