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    Mahabalipuram Temples

    The once busy port of the ancient city of Mahabalipuram is today considered one of the most popular and beautiful towns of Tamil Nadu. Mahabalipuram is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its numerous temples that were carved from the rocks at the Coromandel Coast during the 7th and 8th centuries. Each of these temples is an architectural wonder. If you are an enthusiast in the ancient designs and carvings of old then you must visit the below mentioned Mahabalipuram temples that are a true charmer!

    7 Stunning Mahabalipuram Temples

    Also called mandapas at some point in time, some of the famous temples rock-cut temples of this place include Shore Temple, Pancha Pandava Cave Temple, Ganesha Ratha Temple, and Karukathamman Temple. Here is a list of some of them:

    1. Shore Temple

    the temple has three sanctums

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    These temples have captivated every traveler. Made from granite, the temple has three sanctums, two of which are dedicated to Lord Shiva and one to Lord Vishnu. These sanctums to date remain the best examples of single rock-cut structures. The temple also houses a number of smaller shrines that complement the larger structure. The actual name of the temple is not known, but given the close proximity to the sea, it is called the shore Temple. The fascinating fact is that the existing temple is the only one remaining of a complex of seven shrines. The others are considered to be the submerged temples of Mahabalipuram.

    Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM

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    2. Ganesh Temple

    An architectural marvel belonging to the Pallava dynasty

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    An architectural marvel belonging to the Pallava dynasty, this rick cut shrine is sculptured to look like a chariot for the lord. The wonder of this temple is that it is built out of a single giant rock. The architectural wonder of the Pallavas does not end there – every bit of the temple is carved exquisitely, including the shikhara of the temple. This makes the temple look like it has two layers. The temple is guarded by four yalis who are sculpted into the stone pillars. The intricate designs carved on the stone on both sides of the rock-cut temples are an architectural wonder.

    Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM

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    3. Krishna Temple

    This cave temple sees the daily footfall of numerous people

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    This is one of the famous temples of Mahabalipuram near the beach. This used to be an open-air temple until the Vijayanagar Empire in the 16th century when the temple got enclosed within a mandap. The walls of the temple depict the story of Krishna lifting the Govardhan Mountain to protect his people. It also depicts him frolicking with the milkmaids. This cave temple sees the daily footfall of numerous people. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

    Location: Krishna cave, Mahabalipuram
    Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM

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    4. Atiranachanda Cave Temple

    an architectural wonder

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    Despite being an architectural wonder, the Atiranachanda Cave Temple does not always get its deserved attention. This is one of the oldest temples in Mahabalipuram. Massive boulders were cut to make staircases that lead to the temple’s forecourt. There is an open-air shivling facing which is Nandi the bull. Right where the staircase comes to an end, near the sculpture of Nandi, is a carving on a boulder depicting Mahishasurmardini slaying the demon Mahishasura. The artha mandapam (verandah) here has beautiful inscriptions from the Pallava grantha. Next to this is the rare dhara linga carved out black, glistening stone. On the wall right behind it is Lord Shiva as Somaskanda, inscribed into the wall. On either side of him are Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma in their Trimurti avatar.

    Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM

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    5. The Five Chariots

    it is full of architectural beauty.

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    Like many other temples in Mahabalipuram, this is another intriguing complex that is full of architectural beauty. This temple can be found in the southern end of the town of Mahabalipuram. The chariots are carved out of single granite in the Dravidian architectural style. Each of the chariots is dedicated to a Pandavas of Mahabharata

    Location: Pancha Rathas, Mahabalipuram
    Timings: 6 AM – 8 PM

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    6. Sthalasayana Perumal Temple

    it is prominently mentioned reference in the works of Tamil saints

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    In the history of the temples of Mahabalipuram, this temple has a special place. Out of the 108 Vishnu temples, which is prominently mentioned reference in the works of Tamil saints, this is one of them. It is one out of the 108 Divya Desams. The temple is dedicated to the Sthalasayana Perumal avatar and the Lord Narasimha avatar of Lord Vishnu. There are two separate shrines – one dedicated to each of them. This temple is also the birthplace of Bhoothnath Azhwar. He was the second of the Azhwars. This temple has a mesmerizing beauty to it. The temple has been mentioned in many historical books and folklores.

    Timings: 6 AM – 8 PM

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    7. Arjuna’s Penance

    This is a giant rock-cut relief

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    This is a giant rock-cut relief considered to be the largest of its kind in the world. This place is also called the ‘Descent of the Ganges’ owing to the fact that the structure showcases the symbolic events of Hindu mythology in which Ganga comes down to earth. The architecture and history of this place attract a large number of historians, scholars, and academics who are enthusiastic about the cultural past of India. This sculpting form has its roots way back in the 7th century in South India. These structures still have the legacy of the famous Pallava Art. Today they are protected and preserved by both ASI and UNESCO. It is hard not to notice the unbelievable efficiency and skill of the craftsman of that era who used only hammer and chisel to make this.

    Timings: 6 AM – 8 PM

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    How To Reach Mahabalipuram

    All the monuments are within walking distance from each other.

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    By Road: It is just 60 km away from Chennai and is well-connected via the efficient East Coast Road. It can be easily covered in a single day trip. It is also very near to Bangalore. All the monuments are within walking distance from each other. It is generally a 5 to 10 minutes’ walk from one site to the other. You can move around conveniently.

    By Rail: The closest station to Mahabalipuram is in Chennai, followed by Bangalore.

    By Air: The nearest airport is the Chennai airport, followed by Bangalore.

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    So, which of these ancient and utterly beautiful Mahabalipuram temples are you going to check out first on your next holiday in Tamil Nadu? Book your getaway right away and let us know all about your fabulous vacation experience once you’re back!

    Frequently Asked Questions About Mahabalipuram Temples

    Q. How many days are required for visiting Mahabalipuram?

    A. You need at least 2 days to explore all the important tourist places of Mahabalipuram. Out of that, you’ll need an entire day to see the temples.

    Q. Can the Mahabalipuram temples be covered on a cycling trip?

    A. Yes, since the temples of Mahabalipuram are located quite close to each other, covering them on a cycling trip will not be much of a problem.

    Q. What are the other places one can visit in Mahabalipuram other than the temples?

    A. Some of the best places to visit in Mahabalipuram are Crocodile Bank, Tiger Cave, and Kadumbadi Village to name a few.

    Q. What are the other places to visit near Mahabalipuram?

    A. Generally, tourists visit the cities of Kanchipuram, Chidambaram, Vellore, and Tiruvannamalai along with Mahabalipuram.

    Q. What is the general budget I should consider while traveling to Mahabalipuram?

    A. The cost of visiting Mahabalipuram will totally depend on factors like the month of travel, duration of travel, accommodation type, transport, etc. The cost can be as low as INR 5,000 per person for a 2D/1N trip and as high as 50,000 per person if one is traveling in the peak season and has picked a 5-star accommodation.


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