Often known as ‘Mamallapuram’ by many, its most popular name is ‘Mahabalipuram’. The area of Mahabalipuram was once the naval base of the Pallava dynasty and its seaport was the main harbor for all trading that took place during those times.
It can be easily reached from Chennai within a couple of hours and one can also visit the Kanchipuram area famous for its silk weavers and their craftsmanship of the KanchipuramSarees. Mahabalipuram is often a worthwhile stop over destination too for those traveling by road from Chennai to Pondicherry or even further to Tanjore and Trichy which are also significant temple sites beside Mahabalipuram.
Today, Mahabalipuram has emerged as a cultural and art centre in addition to being a pilgrimage with several Hindu temples. The famous ‘Mamallapuram Dance Festival’ is organized every year in winters. One can witness numerous Indian classical dance forms during this festival. Artists from across the country come to participate in this festival.
Mahabalipuram boasts of a lovely beach with many beach front hotel properties to suit all budgets. Right from the four star Radisson hotel to some three star hotels too, Mahabalipuram offers plenty of accommodation to the visitors.
What to See
Today, Mahabalipuram is synonymous to temples and shrines. There are beautiful architectures to be explored amidst the caves cut out from huge rocks and the temples built by the sea shore. The collective group of monuments at the shores of Mahabalipuram have been listed as a World Heritage site. It comprises of the cave temples with an influence of Dravidian architecture and Buddhist elements. The temples are built in the design of a chariot called ‘Rathas’ in Hindi. Apart from the temples, Mahabalipuram boasts of an attractive coastline with gorgeous beaches.