|The beach of Mahabalipuram attracts
thousands of tourists throughout the year. While at the beach you may sun
bathe, relax and unwind yourself. At the same time you may check out the
magnificent monuments besides the beautiful beaches. The rock cut art is
amazingly attractive. For the more religious tourists there are the shore
temple, rathas, arjuna's penance that are worth visiting.
The proper name of the site is "Mamallapuram", after Mamalla, an honorific of the Pallava king, Narasimha Varman I (630-668), who created the earliest of its monuments. But now it is popularly called as "Mahabalipuram".
Temples in Mahabalipuram:There are two low hills in Mahabalipuram. about 400m from the sea. In the larger one, on both sides, there are eleven excavated temples, called Mandapas, two "open air bas reliefs", one of which is unfinished, and a third enclosed one. Out of a big rock standing free nearby there is a "cut out" temple, called a "Ratha".
Out of the other hill, much smaller and standing about 200m to the south, are fashioned five more rathas, and three big sculptures of a Nandi, a Loin and an Elephant. On the top of the bigger hill there is a structural temple, and a little distance the magnificent beginnings of a Vijayanagar Gopura and also survivals of what is believed to be a palace.
The Shore Temple:The Shore Temple occupies a most extraordinary site, by the very margin of the Bay of Bengal so that at high tide the waves sweep into it and the walls, with their sculptures, have been eroded by the winds and waves of thirteen centuries. The European name for Mahabalipuram, since the first western visitor wrote of it in the 16th century, is the "Seven Pagodas".
One of the most spectacular carvings is the "Descent of the Ganges" also known as 'Arjuna's Penance'. The carving tells the story of pious Arjuna who persuades Shiva to use his hair to break the fall of the River Ganga. The large cleft between the boulders is the where the Ganges descends.
Arjuna's Penance:If a temple by the sea and, at times, in the sea is a tour de force, the "open air bas relief" is even more so. In Mahabalipuram alone of all innumerable sites of monuments in India sculptor was impelled to choose a large cliff face on which to make his carvings. What is more, he chose a scene from the "Mahabharatha" (also spelt as Mahabharata), which a great Sanskrit dramatist, probably then living in Kanchipuram, had popularised.
Golden Beach Resort:
How to Get There:
By Air:Chennai (58-km) is the nearest airport with both domestic and international terminus. Chennai is connected with all the major places in India through the numerous domestic flights. International flights operate from various parts of the world to Chennai.
By Rail:The nearest railway stations are Chengalpattu (29-km) and Chennai (58-km). From these stations one has to take road to reach the Mahabalipuram.
By Road:Buses are available from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai to Mahabalipuram daily. The road to Mahabalipuram is good. Tourists can also hire a taxi from Chennai. For more details visit www.chennai-madras.com