Mahabalipuram also known Mamallapuram, is another most popular tourist destination in Tamilnadu. It is in the Kanchipuram district, famous for silk weaving. Surely the Indian silk sarees from Kanchipuram, are world famous. Moreover this place is only thirty kilometres from Kanchipuram town. Rock carvings, cave temples beaches etc are the main attractions of Mahabalipuram. Above all the place got tagged in world heritage site of UNESCO. Certainly it will not be a waste of money and time, you spend in this historic place.
Kadalkarai kovil- The seashore temple
Most of the monuments were built between 7-8 centuries. Narasimha Varma was the king of the Pallava dynasty during that period. Besides a ruler he was a good warrior too. ‘Malla’ in Tamil language means a warrior, and the place got the name after him. In due course of time, the name changed to Mahabalipuram. In short all the wonders we see there, are remains of the great Dravidian culture.
Best time to visit Mahabalipuram.
Usually the climate is pleasant from October to February. Hence it is better to visit Mahabalipuram during this period.
How to reach Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram town is about seventy kilometres from Chennai airport. The nearest railway station is Chengalpet junction, that is about thirty kilometres from there. Usually train services are available to most of the South Indian cities. Likewise cabs and rickshaws are available for local travel. Almost all drivers there, are well experienced guides too.
Where to stay.
Not only resorts, but budget hotels are also available there. Tamilnadu tourism also provides safe and comfortable stay. Moreover, private parties run hotels that are also good. Definitely, you can select accommodation according to your budget. Those, which are not much closer to the seashore are comparatively cheaper.
What to eat.
Most of the restaurants there, serve South Indian dishes. Chinese as well as Continental food, are available. Variety in seafood dishes, are the most important delicacy.
How to enjoy there.
First of all, consult local guides of Mahabalipuram. Because proper planning makes sightseeing more enjoyable, and also there is nothing to be worried about wasting time. Usually two days are enough for a round trip. But enthusiasts in architecture and stone carvings need more time.
Places to visit.
1. Monuments. Most important things to visit there are the monuments, especially the sculptures based on Indian epics. For example Krishna, holding the Govardhan hill to protect inhabitants of Gokula, his abode, is really amazing.
Krishna’s butter ball2. Krishna’s butter ball. It is a huge rock perched on a hilltop. Really it is a miracle that such a rock balancing on a small platform. The secret behind that, is elusive even to modern architects.
The Pancharathas3. Pancharathas. Group of five stone carvings considered as the chariots of Pancha Pandavas. But according to another belief, these are temples depicted to various Hindu deities.4. Kadalkaraikovil. The seashore temple, another awesome gift left by Pallavas.5. Ganesha temple.6. Arjuna’s penance.7. Krishna mandapa.8. Light house.9. India sea shell museum. Indeed another attraction of Mahabalipuram. More than 500 species of sea shells are displayed there. The most amazing thing is that, all the shells are from the collection of a single person. Really the effort taken by Mr.Rajamohamed, a merchant from Rameswaram, during the past 33 years must be appreciated.
10. Beautiful beach. Above all, the beaches of Bay of Bengal, with calm waves and shiny sands, is really captivating.
What to buy from there.
There are a lot of shops from where you can buy various items, especially curios made with Seashells. Small stone carved structures and idols are other fascinating things. Moreover if you travel a little more, you can buy original and traditional Kanchipuram sarees directly from weavers, for a much cheaper price. In addition, Kanchipuram is famous for a lot of temples, that are best examples for architecture flourished centuries ago.Sculpture in workshopFurthermore, on the way we can see people still engaged in stone carving works. In short, they might be the actual descendants of Pallava craftsmen !Therefore, make your next vacation a memorable one, by visiting Mahabalipuram. Certainly the memories will cherish forever, if you spend a few days here.