: In Mahabalipuram, 58-km South Of Chennai, Tamil Nadu
: Stone carvings, Caves, Rock Cut Temples
The old port town of Mahabalipuram also known as Mamallapuram on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, has a coastline spanning a distance of over 20 km with beautiful beaches.
Located 58km from Chennai on the Mahabalipuram road, the golden sandy beach is a picturesque place bounded by the shimmering sea and rolling hills.
Identified as the most pristine beaches of Tamil Nadu, the beach attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year. The beach is an idle place for sunbathing and lazing around. The sea is rough and swimming is not recommended.
On the way to Mahabalipuram Beach is Dakshinachitra, 28 km from Chennai, a heritage space with exhibitions and workshops of the arts and crafts including traditional home architecture and performing artists of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Other places worth a visit while on a tour to the beach include the crocodile farm where about 5000 crocodiles of 6 different species, alligators and other reptiles are bred in captivity, kept in open, marshy enclosures, snake venom extracting centre and a school of art and sculpture. Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu hosts a Dance Festival annually at Mahabalipuram during Jan- Feb. The festival which lasts for a month has exponents of classical dances like Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Kathakali.as well as folk dances perform in an open air stage against the magnificent backdrop of the Pallava rock sculptures.
While travelling from Chennai to Mahabalipuram visit Dakshinachitra - a heritage centre. Here traditional crafts persons and folk artists work and perform in the reconstructed period settings of 19th century homes, streets and workspaces of the Southern States of Tamil Nadu, Kerala , Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh .
Shore Temple: This is one of the oldest temples in south India. It belongs to the early 8th century AD and is a good example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in Dravidian style. The monuments are floodlit at night and so it is possible to enjoy their beauty after sunset.
The world's largest bas-relief measuring 27m x 9m is the pride of Mahabalipuram. This huge whaleback shaped rock contains figures of Gods, Demigods, men, beasts, birds and infact represents the entire creation.
These are five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They are also known as the "Pancha Pandava Rathas", and the four of the Rathas are supposed to have scooped out of a single rock formation.
Tiger's Cave: It is 4-km north of the main monument complex. It was an open-air theatre, where cultural programmes are held. Though it is very near the sea, the place is serene and calm.
How to get there
Chennai (58km) 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. Air timings (Chennai)
Rail : The nearest railway stations are Chengalpattu (29km) and Chennai (58km). From these stations one has to take road journey to reach Mamallapuram. Train timings (Chennai)
Road : Buses are available from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai to Mamallapuram daily. Tourists can also hire a taxi from Chennai.