Mahabalipuram is the land of old carvings on stones and architecture which tells a lot about the history. With a rich cultural heritage, the city also flaunts the beautiful silvery sand beach. To lure the spectators, this city houses some of the best and oldest carvings in granite. Escape into the silence of the gardens and lush green lawns of Mahabalipuram which are no less than an alluring treat for the eyes of the spectators. By visiting Arjuna's Penance and Tiger's Caves, the history buffs can make their holiday an enriching experience. A fun place for shopping one can take back handicrafts, and souvenirs for friends and families.
Places To SeeShore Temple
The temple dates back to more than 1400 years. Unlike other monuments in the region, the temple is actually a building and not carved out of rock. The original structure was destroyed by a cyclone and has seen major refurbishment. The carvings within the temple have also been eroded but somehow they add to the peace and tranquility of the surroundings. Tip
: Avoid visiting the temple during the weekends as it gets very crowded. Five Rathas (Pancha Pandava Rathas)
As the name suggests, the site houses five rathas (chariots) dating from the 7th century. Enormous stone carvings of animals, including that of a large elephant, stand guard to the five rathas. Tip
: A combined ticket gives you access to the Shore Temple and the Five Rathas. Thirukadalmallai Temple
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple was built by Pallava King to safeguard the sculptures from the ocean. Legend has it that once the temple was built, it prevented the corrosion of the remaining architecture by the sea. Tip
: You would have to pay a nominal fee to visit the temple. Sculpture Museum
Located in East Raja Street, the museum houses hundreds of sculptures carved out of stone, wood, etc. These sculptures depict Hindu gods and goddesses in various avatars and manifestations. Besides, you can also view some brilliant wall paintings and pillar structures. Tip
: The entry fee is Rs 5 per person. The museum is opened on all days of the week from 10:00 AM - 5:30 PMArjuna's Penance
Also known as the Descent of the Ganges, Arjuna’s Penance is a huge bas-relief filled with detailed carvings, including a family of elephants and monkeys. There is some ambiguity regarding what the bas-relief represents with opinions also suggesting that the central figure depicts Bhagiratha and not Arjuna. Krishna's Butterball
This giant natural rock, set on a hillside, seems to defy all laws of gravity and provides welcome shade if you dare to sit under it. The nearby hillside is slippery and you will notice children using it as a natural slide.
Things To DoBike Trips
There are several beautiful trails in Mahabalipuram that are best explored by biking. These trips can be arranged by the local tour agencies operating from the town. Boat Rides
Boat rides in the Bay of Bengal provide you the much needed relief from the hustle and bustle of the town and soak up the serenity of the tranquil surroundings. Boat rides, along with life guards, are commonly available. Tip
: Surf, a restaurant at the entrance of the town arranges boat rides as well as other activities like trekking, fishing and turtle walks by the sea shore. Yoga Camps
Several yoga camps are organized on a daily basis in Mahabalipuram. Residential camps are also organized for children as well as adults. These camps provide the much-needed relief from the stress of everyday life. Beaches
Mahabalipuram offers one of the best beach scenes in India’s east coast. While there is a thriving backpacker scene, there are several high-end resorts that cater to those who wish to relax in luxury and away from the crowds. Tip
: If you are looking for a quiet resort, look for one in the north of the town center. Stone Carvings
Mahabalipuram is known for its stone sculpture industry and while you can buy several stone structures from shops and vendors, you can also learn the art of stone carving. Depending on the length of the workshop, you can learn how to sculpt a simple locket to the more intricate carving techniques. Tip
: Be prepared to spend at least 5 hours on a workshop. The cost of one day of workshop is usually Rs. 100.