Mahabalipuram is an enchanting town situated in the southern state of India popularly known as Tamil Nadu. This place is famous for its amazing beaches, creative art vibes, architectural designs and trees belonging to the Casuarinaceae family. The name Mahabalipuram is originally derived from King Mahabali. Moreover, all around this glorious city, the large rocks have been blended into artistic curves resembling the icing on top of a cake.
Mahabalipuram is celebrated all over the globe for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the major reason why you should definitely visit this picturesque city. Furthermore, this city is culturally rich and historically significant which attracts millions of tourists every year. This beautiful city is home to one of the biggest temples in the world known as the Shore temple. It is also well known for being the largest habitat for preserving crocodiles. Krishna’s butterball, a gigantic rock, rests strangely on a slope ready to crumble down. However, it is known for staying intact for more than 1000 years. This is yet another must-visit monument.
Best Time to Visit Mahabalipuram
The ideal time to visit Mahabalipuram is between the months of November and February. During these months, the days are perfect for outings and filled with adventure and the nights are lovely and cool. These months are considered to be the beautiful winter season of this glorious city.
It is always best to refrain from visiting this city during the summer and monsoon seasons as the heat and humidity makes it very unpleasant for sightseeing.
History of Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram became a very significant site of architectural design, creative arts and literature during the 3rd century and the 7th century. A great number of artefacts were excavated from this magnificent city which displays historic relations with the Roman culture much before it intertwined with the Pallava dynasty.
The Pallava kings creatively designed Mahabalipuram and introduced many modern architectural styles which contributed to its civilization.
Major Attractions in and Around Mahabalipuram
1. Pancha Ratha
Also known as the five chariots, this site is an architectural tribute to the five brothers of the Mahabharata and their beloved wife well-known as Draupadi. This site is structurally the most marvellous attraction in Mahabalipuram.
2. Cave Temples
Cave Trimurti consists of pillars and sculptures carved to display the Gods in numerous postures. It symbolizes the trinity of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva indicating the growth of creation, development and destruction. The Tiger Cave is praised for its profound pillar designs and architectural details which display many mythical beings namely tigers and lions. Adi Varaha Perumal Cave is also considered as a temple and is the oldest Pallava creation to ever exist.
3. Shore Temple
The great Shore temple of Mahabalipuram was developed during 700-728 CE and is considered to be the remains of a huge complex of temples that remain under the sea at present.
4. Olakkanneshvara Temple
This masterpiece in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu is also known as the Temple of Lord Shiva. It was developed during the same period as the Shore temple. This beautiful temple is situated on the hills further away from the beach and this led to people believing it to be a lighthouse in the former days.
5. Crocodile Bank
Take a break from all the historic monuments and beach activity and stop by this interesting site. This site is loved by children and families alike since there is great information about each of the species here. This crocodile bank is also home to turtles and snakes. Here, you can find African crocodiles and Indian ones known as Gharials.
Savour some delicious seafood at Wide Beach, a beach that is well-loved for its rock sculptures and intricate caves. Gaze at the captivating sunsets and sunrises away from the hustle of the city life. Mahabalipuram Beach is known to be the best spot for creating those picture-perfect moments and blissful memories. This beach rests on the shore of the Bay of Bengal and is the perfect spot to relax and unwind. Sadras Beach is yet another spectacular spot in Mahabalipuram with rich green groves and golden sands. It is certainly soothing to the eyes as it offers breathtaking views for tourists to enjoy.
How to Reach Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram is certainly the most fascinating city located in the heart of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. For those who are keen to explore this magical city, you would have to travel an entire distance of around 2264, 1361, 1766 and 349 km from big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bangalore. The following are some of the means of transportation that will save you the trouble of getting lost in an ecstatic travel bubble.
Chennai International Airport (MAA) is the nearest airport to Mahabalipuram and is located just 54.8 km away via East Coast Road. On arrival at Chennai International Airport, you will have the option of hiring a local taxi and may even find some private ones at affordable rates to reach Mahabalipuram.
Here is a list of Indian cities from where flights are available to Chennai
The closest railway station to Mahabalipuram is none other than the Chengalpattu junction. It is this very junction that links Chennai to other parts of Tamil Nadu by other mail as well as express trains. Once you arrive at this railway station, you will then have easy access to cabs that you would be able to hire at affordable rates to reach Mahabalipuram which is just 29 km away.
For the most comfortable experience by road, you may opt for spacious luxury buses or simply hop on the regular tourist bus. You can also opt for a private taxi or choose to drive there yourself if you enjoy long drives. Mahabalipuram is without a doubt, full of well-constructed roads making it a pleasant experience to drive along its coast.
Without any difficulty, you would be able to hop on a regular bus from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai. As per your convenience and budget, you can choose to travel on an AC bus or non AC bus.
From Chengalpattu to Mahabalipuram- 27 km via SH58 and SH 49B.
From Puducherry to Mahabalipuram – 96 km via East Coast Road
Frequently Asked Questions about Mahabalipuram
Q: What are some popular places to visit in Mahabalipuram?
A: Some popular places to visit in Mahabalipuram include Shore Temple, Five Rathas, Arjuna's Penance, and Mahabalipuram Beach.
Q: How can I reach Mahabalipuram from Chennai?
A: Mahabalipuram is located about 60km from Chennai. You can take a bus, train or taxi from Chennai to reach Mahabalipuram.
Q: Is it worth visiting Mahabalipuram?
A: Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its rich cultural and historical significance. If you're interested in history, culture and architecture, then Mahabalipuram is definitely worth visiting.