Mahabalipuram is also known as Mamallapuram. It is one of the most visited place from Chennai and also a historical / heritage site in Tamilnadu.
It is an ancient historic town and was a bustling seaport during Pallava kings in 7th Century AD. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the second capital of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. According to the legend, it has been named after the demon king Mahabali who was renowned for his generosity. Some maintain that it has been named Mamallapuram after the Pallava King Narasimha Varman I, a great wrestler with the title Mamallan.
Mahabalipuram is known for its historical monuments,scenic beauty, sculptures, culture and tradition. Mahabalipuram art can be divided into four categories: open air bas-relief, structured temples, man-made caves and rathas (chariot temples).Sixteen man-made caves in different stages of completion are also seen, scattered through the area. The striking feature is that all the sculptures here are monolithic – giant structures carved from single rocks. The temples of Mamallapuram, built largely during the reigns of Narasimha Varman and his successor Rajasimha Varman, showcase the movement from rock-cut architecture to structural buildings.
The famous Arjuna’s Penance and the Krishna Mandapa adorn massive rocks near the centre of the village. The beautiful Shore Temple towers over the waves, behind a protective breakwater. The mandapas and the rathas shaped as temple chariots are made from the granite rock face, while the famed Shore Temple, erected half a century later, is built as a structured temple with huge blocks of rocks following wonderful architecture. Thirukadalmallai temple, Cholamadal Artist’s Village, Mahabalipuram Beach, Tiger Cave and Crocodile Bank serve as popular picnic spots for people here.
Best Time to Visit Mahabalipuram: October to March