- About Mahabalipuram
The sea-side town of Mahabalipuram, with a boulder strewn landscape,
lies along the Coromandel Coast at a distance of 60 km from Chennai
(Madras). The history of this town dates back to over 2000 years; having
always served as a stronghold citadel of the Hindu-Dravidian culture
throughout the ages. In the ancient times Mahabalipuram was a prominent
sea-port in the Coromandel Coast, serving as a major hub of trade and
commerce with South-East Asia. Mahabalipuram, also known as the City of
Bali, figures in the UNESCO list of world heritage sites for its ancient
Apart from the shore-temples, Mahabalipuram is famous for its unblemished beaches attracting tourists and travelers. Another crowd puller is the annual Mamallapuram Dance Festival organized during January-February period. The dance festival showcases a large number of indigenous art forms performed by artists from all over the country. The Sthalasayana Perumal temple festival, Masimagam and Brahmothsavam are a few other events of tourist attraction held at Mahabalipuram.
- Place of Interest
Shore Temples :
These UNESCO world heritage monuments were carved out of rock during the reign of Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. All the temples are elaborately covered with thousands of exquisitely carved sculptures. Each of the monuments is built in the Dravidian style of architecture with visible influences of Buddhist elements. A number of well-preserved monuments are still excavated in the area with little or no damage to the sculptures. The renowned Arjunas Penance, Krishna Mandapa and giant open-air reliefs attract hordes of tourists from across the world.
Crocodile Farm :
The Crocodile farm at Mahabalipuram has Indian and African crocodiles, 6 different species of alligators, and numerous species of reptiles bred in captivity. These reptiles are kept in open-air enclosures simulating their natural habitats. One can enjoy watching these animals from a safe proximity. The snake show held at the farm attracts a lot of visitors. Irula tribesmen, who are famed snake-catchers, demonstrate snake venom extraction during the show.
Tirukazhukundram Hills :
Thirukazhukundram Hills, located at a distance of 15 km from Mahabalipuram, is famous for the grand Rudrakoteeswarar Temple. This temple, located at the foot of the hills, is set in a picture-postcard background. Another nearby attraction is the Bhaktavatsalar Temple. Both these temples are well-renowned for their amazing architectural grandeur and historic significance.
Dakshina Chitra :
Located at a distance of about 12 km to the south of Cholamandal village is Dakshina Chitra. This place is known for the traditional performing arts of TamilNadu.
Cholamandal Artists Village :
Cholamandal Artists village is the So Ho, the artistic haven, of Chennai (Madras). Spread over an area of 8 acres, the place is known for the regular art exhibitions conducted by highly talented and skilled artists who reside in the village. Cholamandal Artists Village is located at a distance of 38 km from Mahabalipuram. For those with an artistic inclination, a visit to the Cholamandal Artists Village will help gain more insights about the traditional artworks of TamilNadu.
Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary lies at a distance of 55 km from Mahabalipuram town. This sanctuary is an abode for exotic migratory birds including the garganey teals, shovellers, pintails, stilts, sandpipers, coot, moorhens and terns. The best time to visit this water-bird sanctuary is between November and February.
Chengalpettu, the erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagara rulers, is famous for the imposing ruins of the ancient Vijayanagar Fort. Nearby is the Kolavai Lake where one can enjoy boat riding.
Nithyakalyanaperumal Temple :
This Hindu pilgrimage centre lies at a distance of 16 km from Mahabalipuram. The major deity of this temple is Goddess Lakshmi. Important festivals celebrated here are Garuda Sevai on the Tamil Month of Aani, Pooram in Aadi, and spring festival during Vaigasi.
- Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Mahabalipuram is during the October to March period.
- How to Reach
Nearest airport is the Chennai International Airport at a distance of 60 km from Mahabalipuram. The airport has regular flights to all major destinations in India and abroad.
The nearest railway rail head, Chengalpattu, is at a distance of 29 km from Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram is well connected by an extensive network of roads to all the major destinations in India.