Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is a town with historical importance situated around 50 kms from Chennai, it was one of the major seaports of the Pallava rulers, whose base is traced back to Kanchipuram.
The town is now not only known for its historical importance but is also gaining its share of momentousness in the growing surf scene and also for the variety of food this place is ready to offer you. From the typical south Indian dishes of Dosas and Idlis to the Italian dishes of Pastas and Pizzas you name it and it's out there.
History Of Mahabalipuram
The place once served as an ancient seaport to the Pallavas. The Pallavas have a long history of being great conquerors and were also advocates to art and architecture. They remained in power for almost 500 years mainly in the eastern coastal regions of India.
According to historians, the beautiful monuments here stand witness to architectural legacy which was left behind the Pallava King Mahendravarman I (580-630AD), followed by his son Narasimhavarman I (630-668AD) and their descendants.
Mahabalipuram Alias Mamallapuram
The name comes as a tribute to the erstwhile Pallava ruler Narashimavarman I. He earned the title of Mamallan since he was a great wrestler during his times. There is also another popular belief of how the place got its name, it is believed that the demon King Mahabali ruled the place, the King was known for his kindness and love for his people.
Best Places To Visit
The monuments located here have found its place in the list of World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO.
1. Shore Temple
This temple is situated on the banks of Bay of Bengal and was constructed by Narasimha Varman II (670-715 AD). The Temple is the only one remaining out of seven temples, the rest have been concealed or washed away by the sea. One can notice two rock cut shrines dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu respectively, another attraction here is the rows of Nandis or the bull surrounding the entrance to the temple.
2. Five Rathas
These rathas are sculpted out of gigantic stones which are made to look a like the chariots of a temple. These chariots take their inspiration from the Pandavas of Mahabharata, and are known by their names respectively, they are Dharmaraja Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Bhima Ratha, Nakula-Sahadeva Ratha and Draupadi Ratha.
3. Mahabalipuram Caves
The caves are yet another attraction not be missed out, it is located in the central part of Mahabalipuram towards the hillside is an assortment of caves.
Mahishasuramardhini Cave - The pleasing cave is known for its carvings which have depictions of various mythological scenes.
Varaha Cave - It depicts two incarnations of Vishnu, namely the Varaha or the boar which protects Bhoo Devi and the other as Vamana Murthy who overcomes the asura King Bali has been depicted in the walls of this cave.
4. Krishna Mandapam
It depicts the story of Krishna lifting the mount Govardhan to protect his people from the wrath of Indra.
This is a huge rock carving which is dedicated to the protagonist of Mahabharatha Lord Krishna. It measures 96 ft long and 43 ft high which not only depicts the Gods but also human beings, birds, and animals.
5. Krishna's Butterball
This is a very perplexing tourist attraction in Mahabalipuram. The butterball is a massive boulder balanced on a smooth slope. The boulder is seen parallel to the lad of butter which young Krishna would takeaway.
6. The Light House
The lighthouse is one of the major attractions, the first light was commissioned in 1884 and it became fully functional in 1904. The oldest lighthouse in India built around 640 AD by the Pallava King Mahendra Pallava has its place next to the modern structure.
Mahabalipuram is located on the famous East Coast Road (ECR), hence it's paradise to the ones who love the long and vast beaches.
7. Places to Stay
There is ample options for stay in and around the Mahabalipuram. One can find from the premium ones to the pocket friendly ones which can be easily located near the bus stand and also by the beach side.