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Mahabalipuram Travel GuideMahabalipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu and is about 60 kilometers from Chennai formerly knons as Madras and located at the Bay of Bengal and consists of the world famous Shore Temples with that attracts thousands of tourists every year to Tamil Nadu.
Instead of the general sculpture that depicts God and Goddesses, this place is filled with sculptures that projects scenes of day-to-day life and this particularly makes the place all the more interesting.
The art of Mahabalipuram is divided into four categories:
* The open air reliefs
* Well structured temples
* Man-made caves
* Rathas (chariots)
Places to visit in Mahabalipuram
Legends say, that Arjuna had made a journey to a bank of the river Ganges to do penance, in the hope that Shiva would part with his favourite weapon, a magic staff or arrow. Carved on the face of a huge rock, Arjuna's Penance is the mythical story of the river Ganges, issuing from its source high in the Himalayas. The surface of the rock has detailed carvings, showing natural renditions of animals.
A total of eight Mandapams are dotted over the main hill and among them two have been left unfinished.
The temple of Krishna Mandapam is one the oldest rock-cut temple that features carvings showing Lord Krishna lifting up the Govardhana hill in order to protect his subjects from the wrath of the God of Rain, Indra.
The rathas are named after the Pandavas, the heroes of the Mahabharata epic. Although they are widely known as "Five Rathas", there are actually eight of them.
It was during the reign of Rajasimha in 7th century these shore temples were built. These represent the final phase of the excellent Pallava art. With two of the spires containing the shrine of Lord Vishnu and Shiva is amazing to see these gorgeous and romantic temples.
The ellegance of these art work perished slightly by the effect of the wind and sea during the course of the history. The remains are so wondrous that recently they were given World Heritage listing. Another interesting fact about the place is the dance festival celebration that is held every year from January 15 to February 15. During this period, dances from all over the country are staged, here, including Kathakali from Kerala, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, as well as tribal dances and many more.
Map of Mahabalipuram
When to visit Mahabalipuram
The best time to visit Mahabalipuram is in winter, during the months of November and February.
How to visit Mahabalipuram
International flights operate from London, Frankfurt, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur etc. to Madras. You can hire a bus from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram and Madras to Mahabalipuram daily. The city of Madras can be accessed by air or train from any corner of India.