Mahabalipuram Sightseeing

Leisure Places

The Mamallpuram beach adds beauty to the pallava constructions.Mahabalipuram Beach also known as Mamallapuram Beach this beach on the shores of the Bay of Bengal has a coastline spanning a distance of over 20 km with beautiful beaches. It is located 58km from Chennai on the Mahabalipuram road, the golden sandy beach is a picturesque place bounded by the shimmering sea and rolling hills. Mahabalipuram beach also has some ancient historical monuments in its close proximity and this is the main reason of attraction of this beach. Mahabalipuram is famous for its shore temples in South India built by the Pallava King Rajasimha in the early 8th century and the world's largest bas-relief, the 'Penance of Arjuna', which is 96ft long and 43 ft high, the five rathas and the tiger's cave along the beach.

Light House in mahabalipuram was built in 1894.The sailors and the boat riding fishermen find their way to the land with the help of light houses. The new lighthouse is located south of Arjuna's penance which is the highest point of the area.

The Tiger Cave is a rock cut hindu temple located in the hamlet of saluvankuppam.This is a coastal village of 5 Kilometers north of mahabalipuram on the Kovalam Road. This is a magnificent mandapa which contains a shrine dedicated to goddess Durga which has big beautiful figures in front. The deposition here is on the battle of Goddess Durga and Mahishasura. There are number of charges in this Mandapam from that of the Mahishasura Mardini Mandapam. The figure of somaskanda is found in Athiranachanda Mandapa to the south of Tiger care. It gets its name from the carvings of tiger heads on the mouth of a cave which forms a part of the complex. The Tiger Cave is considered to be one of the Mahabalipuram rock-cut temples constructed by the pallavas in the 8th century AD.

There is a crocodile breeding and research centre that is run by the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. This bank houses several species of Indian crocodiles and alligators from India and around the world. These reptiles are bred in captivity and are kept in their natural habitat in open pools and can be viewed by the public from a safe proximity. This farm breeds crocodiles to augment the crocodile population of wildlife sanctuaries.

Timings 8.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. Holiday Monday

This is an ideal picnic spot. It is a Boat-House where facilities for boating and windsurfing are available. A wonderful picnic spot. The effect caused by the rocking bridge over backwaters is stunning and exciting. It's a out of the world for people who are connoisseurs of sea food..Its about 30 Kms from Chennai on East Coast road which leads to Mammalapuram. The other picnic spots in near proximity.

Timings : Monday – Sunday 9.00Am-6.00Pm

Covelong (Kovalam) is a fishing village in India, 40 kilometres south of Chennai, on the East Coast Road en route to Mahabalipuram. Covelong was a port town developed by the Nawab of Carnatic, Saadat Ali. It was taken over by the French in 1746, and destroyed by the British in 1752.The Dutch built a fort in Covelong during the colonial times, which today has been made the Taj Fisherman's Cove, a private luxury beach resort. Covelong beach is one of the few places in the East Coast where wind surfing takes place.



Museums & Art Galleries

The Sculpture museum of Mahabalipuram is located in the East Raja Street and it is well accessible.The sculpture museum, Mahabalipuram is famous for its elaborate collection of sculptures and images of god and goddesses of Hindu mythology. There are more than 3,000 sculptures can be found in this museum. All the sculptures bear the historic significance and the tales of the by-gone days. In the display of the museum there are sculptures made of wood, metal, brass and cement. There are creations of ancient artists to the contemporary ones. Mahabalipuram is the seat of culture and sculpture. The detailed architecture and the images of god and goddess depict the bounty of the Gupta Empire. Not only Hindu mythology but the Buddhists sculptures and images too, exist in the temple town. The monolithic statues, the Rathas (chariots), sculptured relief and their miniature can be seen in the museum.

Monuments

Pancha Rathas is also known as Pandava Rathas, is a monument complex at mahabalipuram.Pancha Rathas is an example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture. Dating from the late 7th century, it is attributed to the reign of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman Ifrom 630–680 AD, he is also called Mamalla or great warrior of the Pallava Kingdom. Each of the five monuments in the Pancha Rathas complex resembles a chariot, and each is carved over a single, long stone or monolith, of granite which slopes in north-south direction with a slight incline.Though sometimes mistakenly referred to as temples, the structures were never consecrated because they were never completed following the death of Narasimhavarman I.Each has a different layout, such as square, rectangular, or apsidal plans. The largest measures 42 by 35 feet and the tallest is 40 feet high.

Places of Worship

The Shore Temple was built in 700–728 AD and it is named because it overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. It was built on a promontory sticking out into the Bay of Bengal at Mahabalipuram.At the time of its creation, the village was a busy port during the reign of Narasimhavarman II of the Pallava dynasty.It is one of the oldest structural stone and rock cut temples of South.Shore temple is a complex of three temples, one large and two small, located right on the shores of the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal in Mahabalipuram, which was earlier known as Mamallapuram. During the Pallava Dynasty reign this was a port city of their kingdom which they ruled from Kanchipuram. It was built by the Pallava Dynasty when it was the trading port of the dynasty. Sailors gave the name Seven Pagodas to the Shore Temple when they saw this tall structure on the seashore, as the temple probably acted as a landmark for navigation of their ships. As it appears like a Pagoda, the name became familiar to the seafarers.This structural temple complex was the culmination of the architectural creations that were initiated by the King Narasimha Varma I. All the three Temples of the Shore Temple complex are built on the same platform. Viewed from the northern end, the temples appear to be a replica of the Dharmaraja Ratha.The main Shore Temple, which faces east so that the sun rays shine on the main deity of Shiva Linga in the shrine, is a five-storied structural Hindu temple rather than rock-cut as are the other monuments at the site. Built with sculpted granite stones hauled from a nearby quarry, it is the earliest important structural temple in South india.Its pyramidal structure is 60 feet high and sits on a 50 feet square platform. The temple is a combination of three shrines. The main shrine is dedicated to shiva as is the smaller second shrine. A small third shrine, between the two, is dedicated to a reclining vishnuand may have had water channelled into the temple, entering the Vishnu shrine.

The thalasayana Perumal Temple is at Mahabalipuram. The Temple resides as the first and foremost of Mahabalipuram sculptures. It is one of the 108 divya desam.The temple stands on the shore and it was built along with the other sculptures. It is a small temple with two major Shrines for Lord Sthalasayana Perumal and Nilamangai Thayaar. This is the avatrasthalam of Bhoothathazhwar, the 2nd Azhwar. There is also a separate shrine for Lord Narasimha. The architecture depicts the pallava style. This shrine was built by Pallava kings. Bhoothathazhwar was found in a tank that is opposite to the temple.The place is also famous for its Adivaraha shrine near the seashore, where the Lord having His Consort on his right side unlike other places with His Consort on the left side like the nearby Thiruvidaventhai divyadesam. Sage Pundareeka was worshipping Lord vishnu with Lotus flowers. Once the Sage Pundareeka started piling water from the ocean in order to get the divine vision of Lord Vishnu. Seeing his devotion, Lord Vishnu came in guise as an old man and asked for food. The Sage went to get food for the old man. When he returned he found Lord Vishnu in an Ananthasayana posture and wearing the lotus flowers which was offered by the sage. He then realised that it is Lord himself had come in disguise to bless the devotee.

Varaha Cave Temple is a rock-cut cave temple located at Mamallapuram on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal.It is part of the hill top village, which is 4 kilometres to the north of the main Mahabalipurm sites of rathas and the Shore Temple.It is an example of Indian rock cut architecture dating from the late 7th century. The temple is one of the finest testimonial to the ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis.The most prominent sculpture in the cave is that of Lord Vishnu in the incarnated form of a Varaha or boar lifting Bhudevi, the mother earth goddess from the sea.