Travelling to IndiaIndia TravelCulture Dance IndiaTaj Mahal Tour, India
Mahabalipuram tours focus on the ancient temple town of Mahabalipuram in Tamilnadu, India. Explore more on Mahabalipuram tours.

Mahabalipuram Tourist Attractions

Rock Carvings, MahabalipuramArjuna's Penance:
Arjuna's Penance is 27 metres long and 9 metres high bas-relief believed to be the world's largest bas-relief. It consists of two huge boulders with a cleft in the rock that depicts the descent of the Ganga on Earth to fulfill the wish of King Bhagiratha to redeem the cursed souls of his ancestors. The carvings depict two large elephants, scenes from the tales of Panchatantra, a forest with tribal people, all forms of animal life and graceful women beaming with inner beauty. The whole scene seems to have a subtle touch edge of humor that is evident in the cat doing rigorous penance against an ascetic.

The Varaha Cave shows two incarnations of Vishnu-Varaha (boar) and Vamana (dwarf) along with four panels of the famous Pallava doorkeepers in contemplative reverie. It is the lyrical softness and grace of these supposed to be macho-guards that make them attract the attention of the tourists. The 7th century Mahisasurmardini Cave has fine bas-reliefs on its panels while the Dharmaraja Cave sports three empty shrines. The other highlights of these caves are the Somaskanda, masterpiece of 'dhwani' (the art of suggestion) depicting Lord Vishnu and a huge theatrical panel showing Goddess Durga's fight with the demon Mahishasura. Just 5 kn from the city is another 7th century cave called Tiger Cave, a rock-cut shrine.

The famous Rathas or Chariots are situated at the southern extreme of Mahabalipuram. Known as the Paanch Pandava Rathas, after the five characters of Mahabharata, four of them are carved out of a single rock. The Draupadi and Arjuna Rathas are square in shape while the Bhima Ratha is linear in shape. Dharamraja Ratha is tallest of all and Nakula-Sahadeva Ratha is apsidal.

Butter Ball, Mahabalipuram
Krishna Mandapam:
One of the earliest rock-cut temples of Mahabalipuram, its walls depict scenes of Krishna's pastoral life. One of them depicts Krishna lifting the Govardhan Parvat on his little finger to protect his people from wrath of the Rain God, Indra.

Shore Temple :
The best of all at Mahabalipuram is its Shore Temple. It houses one Vishnu temple and two Shiva temples that are all architectural masterpieces in themselves. The sea waves lashing all around make for a pretty scenery for the temples.

Mahabalipuram Dance Festival:
Mahabalipuram Dance Festival is usually held in January or February every year as the world-class dancers from all over India perform with the Shore Temple as the backdrop and notes of musical instruments creating an ethereal aura when mixed with the natural music of wind and the sea.

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