Located within the Kancheepuram district, Mahabalipuram is one among the oldest cities in India and is understood for its various stone carved monuments and ancient temples. Mahabalipuram, located in Tamilnadu was a port town during the first Century to 140 AD and was ruled by the traditional Pallava dynasty. The Pallava Kings Mahendravarman I and Narsimhavarman I even have been attributed with the commissioning of most of the monuments back within the 7th and 8th century AD. The groups of monuments located here have also been deemed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Here’s the list of the must-visit places in Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram houses a complete number of 8 Rock-Cut Cave Temples inbuilt the 7th century by the Pallava Kings. The temples feature variety of finely cut rock columns which vary intimately. The various rock carved sculptures are dedicated to the varied Hindu deities and are considered because the finest masterpieces of Indian art. The various cave temples are namely, Krishna, Mahishasuramardini, Varaha, Trimurti, Kotikal, Tiger, Atiranachanda and Panchapandava.
One of the 108 Divya Desams or Temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Thirukadalmallai or the Sthalasayana Perumal Temple was built by the Pallavas around 8th century BC. The Divya Desams are the 108 temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu that were built by the Tamil Azhvars or Saints. The architecture is once more the Dravidian Pallava style with a white colored gopuram that’s a marvel to behold.
A huge open-air sculpture, Arjuna’s Penance shows the varied events that occurred during Arjuna’s Penance. The relief is carved on two big rocks which are approximately 43 feet high, atop which an enormous collecting pool won’t to be during the older times. The rock sculpting done on the rocks is intricate and is amazingly detailed and is unlike the other that’s found in India.
The name of the temple is so due to it overlooking the shores of the Bay of Bengal. The Shore Temple is carved out of granite and is alternatively called the 7 Pagodas thanks to some unconfirmed evidence that the complex had 7 Pagodas till a Tsunami hit the shores in the 13th century AD. The architecture may be a distinctive Pallava style and therefore the finely cut granite temple is decorated with various rock cut reliefs and sculptures.
The exquisite Pancha Rathas are outdoors rock cut reliefs and are fashioned within the sort of 5 chariots named after the Pandavas from the Hindu epic Mahabharatha. The carved monoliths have all been carved out of pink granite and therefore the tallest one among them is around 40 feet high. The distinctive Dravidian style of architecture of the Pallavas is prevalent within the design. The intricately carved sculptures belonging to varied gods and demi-gods of the Hindu mythology that are placed within the niches within the chariot shaped temples are a marvel to behold.
The 2004 tsunami caused a huge damage to several of the archeological monuments here. However the site has been well preserved through the years and is still considered the best collection of Pallava architecture and art. The aforementioned places are considered because the better of the monuments present at the traditional town of Mahabalipuram.