architecture, art, Bay of Bengal, beach, chariot, Chennai, dravid, exotic, history, India, Mahabalipuram, Pallava dynasty, Pancha Ratha, relief, sculpture, shore temple, Tamil Nadu, temple, tourism, travel, Varaha Cave Temple
Eastern Ghat, the coastline of Bay of Bengal and the valley nestled in between create an interesting motif throughout the state of Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of Indian Peninsula. Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is a golden thread of this geographical, historical and cultural tapestry that Tamil Nadu weaves.
Mahabalipuram lies 60 km south of Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu, and gateway to southern India. The town is spread across Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal, in Kancheepuram district. Owing to its coastal location the place remains humid throughout the year making the winter months (October – February) the ideal time for visiting with a sharp drop in both temperature and humidity.
Once a thriving port city, Mahabalipuram rose into prominence artistically and architecturally under the rule of Pallava dynasty at about 7th century AD.
Shore Temple – The sole surviving sanctuary of famous ‘Seven Pagodas’ battling against the inevitability of time, its other six counterparts long submerged into the depth of ravaging sea.
One must obtain a memento of stone sculptures lovingly carved by local artisans to date.
Mahabalipuram is full of pocket – friendly ($40 – $100 per day per person) hotels and restaurants serving local, North Indian or continental delicacies that are sure to allure the visitors.
Mahabalipuram has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But it not only intrigues the students of art, architecture and history but also manages wooing casual travellers looking forward to spend a few peaceful days in a coastal city.