Mahabalipuram is settled on the Coromandel Coast facing the Bay of Bengal in Tamil Naduis one of the most impressive historic places in India. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site.Mahabalipuram is home to some impressive rock-cut temples, sculptures, caves and bas-reliefs which are a wonder of sheer creativity and artistic. During the rule of Pallavas in 7th to 10th centuries, the coastal town was a well-established sea port.
The town of Mahabalipuram and the magnificent temples were re-discovered in the late 18th century. Visitors can explore the 'open-air museum',walk along the sandy beach,attend the amazing Classical Dance Festival and shop for classical handmade crafts.
Shore temple is located on the Coromandel shore overseeing the Bay of Bengal., was built During the rule of Pallava dynasty, the icon of Mahabalipuram was built. Dravidian style of architecture is the masterpiece which dates back to the 7-8th century. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva but there are many other sculptures of various Hindu deities. The most magnificent structure in the temple is 'poetry in stone'. The brilliance of the artisans are proved on the granite rock-cut carvings.
Arjuna's Penance is carved in the mid-seventh century, the masterpiece measures approximately 15m (45ft) high by 30m (100ft) long . The relief is made more beautiful with intricate life-like carvings of the Lord Shiva, mythological beasts,demi-gods and other beings.
Some sources interpret the meaning of monument as the legend of the descent of Ganges on the earthly plane after Bhagirath's severe penance. Others believe that River Ganga does not flow in south India, so it is dedicated to Arjun, the hero of Mahabharata, as a legend states that he had penanced to attain blessings of Lord Shiva at the banks of River Krishna.
There are a group of monuments which shows a beautiful creation of the Pancha Pandava Rathas. The chariot is designed in five rock cut reliefs, dedicated to the Pandavas from the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. It is built out of a pink granite, which represents characteristic Dravidian architectural style of the Pallavas. Chariot is shaped in the form of a temples, which has sculptures of various gods and demi-gods of the Hindu mythology. The five rathas are of Dharamraja Yudhisthir's Rath, Arjuna's Rath, Bhima Rath, Nakul – Sahadev's Rath and Draupadi's Ratha.
During the rule of Pallavas an impressive creations of architecture was created known as Dharmaraja Mandapa. It was named after the DharmarajaYudhisthir, the eldest Pandava of Mahabharata. The triple celled cave temple is exquisite example of art created on stone.The 40 foot structure which is made more beautiful with spectacular carvings of Ardhnareshwar, the combined deity of Shakti and Shiva.
Mahishasuramardhini Cave is another spectacular artistic sculptures in Mahabalipuram. The carvings and intricate reliefs recreate the legend of Goddess Durga killing the devil Mahishasura. The cave shows Goddess Durga riding on a lion, having several arms, holding an arrow and a bowand there are extraordinary detailed panels representing Siva Linga and Seshasayi Vishnu.
Thirukadalmallai is one of the 108 DivyaDesams, holy temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it was built by Pallavas in 8th century. The magnificent Dravidian Pallava style architecture is a white coloured Gopuram, a marvel to behold.
Varaha Cava Temple is another fine architectural delight of Mahabalipuram. The finest testimony of the Viswakarma Sthapathis is the 7th century-rock-cut structure. The marvellous sculpture of an incarnation of Lord Vishnu rescuing Bhudevi (Mother Earth) from Seas is a remarkable beauty. There are many mythical characters on the walls of Cave.
Krishna's Butterball is a huge rock that rests on a very narrow rock base and has been in the same position for centuries. It is believed that this stone could not be ever moved even an inch from its position.The precarious site seems unbelievable and is a miracle in its own way. This site is a rare feat one must not miss.
The Koneri Mandapa is an unfinished five celled rock-cut temple, which is an extravagant beauty. The construction date is not known and even the accounts are not mentioned in the history.Four pillars are supported by couchant lions and flanked by pilasters and with a central cell. Beautiful intricate carvings is done on the cave , but it is no confirmation on the idol or devotion to any Hindu pantheon.
The best masterpieces of architecture monument in Mahabalipuram is Trimurthi cave. The cave is made more beautiful with stunning carvings of Hindu mythology. It is dedicated to Brahma, Siva and Vishnu the three gods of the Hindu pantheon.
The Seashell Museum is the India’s first museum of this kind. The museum is stored with different kinds of seashells. The museum displays around 40000 specimens of unique and rare shells