||58-Km From Chennai, Tamil
|Also Known As
||Mamallapuram, The City Of
||Centre For Pallava Culture
||Dance Festival In The Month
Packages of Mahabalipuram |
How to Get There
About Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu
- Nearest Airport:
Chennai Airport (58 km).
- Nearest Railway Station:
Chengalpattu Railway Station (29 km) and Chennai Railway station (58 km).
- By Road:
Mahabalipuram is well connected through all the major cities and buses are available daily from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai to Mahabalipuram.
The name of Mahabalipuram is derived from a Tamil word Mamallapuram. Mahabalipuram can literally meant as the city of great wrestler as the Mahabalipuram means the city of maha bali (powerful). This historic town is situated in Kancheepuram district of South Indian state Tamilnadu.
History of Mahabalipuram
The Mahabalipuram History is two thousand years old. It was the port city of South Indian dynasty of Pallavas during 7th century. The Pallavas ruled Mahabalipuram from 3rd century to 9th century. Located 60 km south of Chennai this town is enriched with a number of heritage monuments. These historic monuments were constructed during the 7th and 9th centuries, and have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage site.
During the early 18th century Mahabalipuram grew as the pilgrimage center, now a days it has become the favorite place of tourists where they get relaxation and enjoy sea bathing. At a nearby place from here it has an atomic plant.
Temples In Mahabalipuram
There are total 11 excavated temples in Mahabalipuram, called Mandapas, two open air bas reliefs, out of which one is incomplete. But the most famous Mahabalipuram temple, built from a rock is cut out temple, it is also known as Ratha.
The Shore Temple
The name – Shore temple is so named because of its unique location as it overlooks Bay of Bengal. This temple is an architectural masterpiece, made of granite blocks during 8th century AD. It is a five-storeyed temple with pyramidal structure of 60 feet height.
The Shrines in Shore Temple
The temple has three shrines. The main shrine and the smaller second is dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva and the third small shrine is dedicated to Hindu Lord Vishnu.
Sthalasayana Perumal Temple
Sthalasayana Perumal Temple is another important Mahabalipuram temple, which is counted amongst one of the 108 Divya Desam. It is a small temple, adorned with two major shrines of Lord Sthalasayana Perumal and Nilamangai Thayaar. The temple also has another separate shrine of Lord Narsimha that reflects the Pallava style of architecture. Maasi Makham and Boothatalwar's Avathara utsavam are the important festivals of the temple.
The Depictions Of Arjuna's Penance
Arjuna's Penance is one of the largest bas reliefs in the world, carved during mid 7th century. It is also renowned as “The Descent of Ganga”. Standing at the height of 43 feet this massive structure is carved on the two adjoining monolithic rocks. The total length of Arjuna's Penance is around 96 feet.
As per its name Arjuna's Penance this wonderful Mahabalipuram temple is also considered to be an illustration of Mahabharata, when Arjuna (one of the five Pandavas) rigorously worshiped to achieve Lord Shiva's weapon to destroy enemies. While according to another legend the temple also depicts the instance of Bhagiratha, who did penance to bring holy river Ganga down to earth from heaven.
Figures at Arjuna's Penance
One of the notable figures of the temple is the figure of cat, that narrates the story of Panchtantra. Besides the figures of male and female snakes (Nagas), an artificial waterfall, four-armed deity of Lord Shiva, group of dwarfs (guards and followers of Lord Shiva) are pretty fascinating.
The Five Rathas (Pancha Rathas)
The Puncha Rathas is one of the best examples of monolith Indian rock cut architecture, dates back to the late 7th century. These five rathas were constructed during the dynasty of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narsimhavarman I.
These five rathas shrine is named after the five Pandavas -Yudhishtir (Dharmaraja), Bheem, Arjun, Nakul and Sahedeva). The largest one of these is the ratha of Yudhishtir, then towards north are the rathas of Bheem, Arjun, Nakul and Sahedeva in order of descending heights. Each temple is carved beautifully with pink granite, outcropped of a rock. These shrines represent the glimpse of rich Dravidian architecture. The roofs of four of the shrines are in pyramidal shapes.
Mahishamardhani and the Adivaraha Mandapas
The exquisite carved rock temples in Mahabalipuram are called as 'Mandapas'. Out of these the two best Mandapas are of Mahishamardhani and the Adivaraha. These Mandapas are connected each other through a common scriptural source. On the walls of the Mandapa the excellent sculptures of Goddess Durga killing the devil and the Lord Vishnu in His cosmic sleep mesmerize everyone.
Set amidst atop of a hill the Mahishamardhani temple is carved out of a rock. It has three shrines, out of which a small mandapa can be projected forward from a central shrine.
The Adivaraha mandapa has two groups of royal sculptures facing each other. One is of a king seated with his two queens, while the other sculpture is of a standing king with his two wives standing beside him.
Fair & Festival at Mahabalipuram Temple
- Open Air Dance Festival
Open air dance festival is an annual celebration of Mahabalipuram temple, which is celebrated for a week. It is internationally famous as Mahabalipuram Dance Festival, organized by the Government of Tamilnadu. The festival starts from 25th December every year and conducted on all Saturdays and Government holidays upto the first week of February.
It is celebrated with the great gusto right beside the Arjunas Penance, before an open air stage, hence it's called Open Air Dance festival. In the festival you may enjoy the famous Indian dance forms such as Bharat Natyam, Kathakali, Odisi, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam and Kathak, performed by the skilled traditional dancers.
Tour Packages of Mahabalipuram