Once a thriving port trading with many distant nations, Pallava chisels have breathed life into stone. The Pallavas art at this place emphasises robust earthly beauty, imbibed with life. These monumental splendours and the sunny beach resorts attract tourists from all over the world.
A crocodile farm, snake venom extracting centre, schools of art and sculpture and a wide choice of resorts along the beach draw holiday-seekers all round the year.
Prime Attractions :
Dakshinachitra - 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.
Arjuna's Penance - 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.
Five Rathas - 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
Air - Chennai (58-km) 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.
Rail - The nearest railway stations are Chengalpattu (29-km) and Chennai (58-km). From these stations one has to take the road to reach Mahabalipuram.
Road - There are buses available from Pondicherry , Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai to Mahabalipuram daily. The road to Mahabalipuram is good. Tourists can also hire a taxi from Chennai.