Travel to Mahabalipuram

Attractions of Mahabalipuram

Arjuna's Penance,  Mahabalipuram

Bhagiratha?s 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 .  Women  are

clothed 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 the complex.

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.
Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram

Quick 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.

Thirukkalunkundram - 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 snakebites.

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

Pongal, 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.

Getting There & Away to Mahabalipuram

Flights to Mahabalipuram
The 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.
Trains to Mahabalipuram
The nearest 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.
Car and Bus service to Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram 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, auto rickshaws settling for a bargained price and cycles are available on hire.

Mudumalai Holiday Packages

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