This is one of the places in South India which is highly frequented by tourists. In fact, this is one such destination where travellers usually go with their family and kids. There are many attractions in Mahabalipuram which one should not miss while being at this beautiful nook of the country. The best months to be at this place are February, March, October, November and December.
Mahabalipuram is renowned for its sculpted reliefs, rathas and the magnificent Shore Temple. Among the reliefs, Arjuna's Penance is one of the most fascinating. It is a colossal art form, 27 meters long and 9 meters high and is perhaps the world's largest sculpted base-relief. It depicts the descent of the Ganga and scenes from the Panchatantra.
Varaha Cave is a small rock-cut mandapam (hall) with two incarnations of Vishnu-Varaha (boar) and Vamana (dwarf). It also has four brilliant panels of the famous Pallava doorkeepers.
The Krishna Temple
The Krishna Temple is one of the oldest temples of the region and is dated to mid-7th century. The walls of the temple depict scenes of pastoral life during the time, including one with the image of Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill on his fingertips to protect his people from the wrath of Indra. The most spectacular sight at Mahabalipuram is the Shore Temple, a sentinel of history standing up against the lashing waves. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is a visual delight with a plethora of architectural display like the compound wall lined with charming sculptures of Nandi, the bull and the figure of Vishnu in the sanctum sanctorum.
The other name of this holy place is Sthalasayana Perumal Temple, which is one among the 108 temples built by the Pallavas around the 8th century B.C. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The architecture of the temple is a visual delight and will take you back to the days of Pallavas.
There are eight rock-cut cave temples in Mahabalipuram. All these were built in the 7th century by the Pallava Kings. The finely cut rock columns in the temples and rock carved sculptures dedicated to various Hindu deities, are considered as the finest masterpieces of Indian art.
This temple overlooks the shores of the Bay of Bengal. Carved out of granite, this temple is also known as the temple of 'Seven Pagodas'. It is said that there were seven pagodas in the temple in the 13th century AD. The architecture reflects the style of Pallavas.
This is one of the most popular destinations in Mahabalipuram. This 20-km-long beach is not only famous for the serene beauty, but also for beach activities like diving, sunbathing, motor boating and wind surfing. Tourists are usually seen in this beach during the months of November and February.
Excursions can be made from Mahabalipuram to neighbouring places of interest. If you have visited Mahabalipuram, then you should touch the other ends of the Golden Triangle by taking a temple tour of Kanchipuram and Chennai. Kanchipuram, a dusty and small town is popularly called the 'Golden Town of a Thousand Temples' with the famous Kamakshi, Varadarajaswami, and Kailasanathar temples, brilliant examples of Pallavan Art. Kanchipuram (65 km) has become the synonym for some of India's finest silk saris. If you are a nature lover and a bird watcher, you should visit Vedanthangal, the site of one of India's largest bird sanctuaries.
It also provides facilities for windsurfing, swimming and water sports. Crocodile Bank is situated barely 14 km from Mahabalipuram on the Chennai-Mahabalipuram road. Set up by an American named Romulus Whitaker in 1976, the number of crocodiles in the bank grew in its first 15 years from just 15 to over 5,000. Located nearby is a snake farm where anti-venom is produced. An ideal beach getaway would be Covelong, the picturesque beach resort, just 19 km from Mahabalipuram. You can also enjoy the sights and sounds of the quiet fishing village with the remains of a fort.