Mahabalipuram is a small town with vibrant history dates back to the Tamil Pallava dynasty in the 7th and the 9th century in South India. Famous for its rock carved temples,sculptures and the world’s largest stone bas relief, The Group of Monuments of Mahabalipuram is granted the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Formerly a grand port city of the glorious empire of the Pallavas, Mahabalipuram now known as Mamallapuram is among the finest specimens of craftsmanship. The glorious days have mastered the art of construction without using bricks or mortar. Their exquisite sculptures from rocks are one of its kind and are the pioneer of many such masterpieces. The extravagant Shore Temple is an icon, associated with the glory of the days. This city is a place of ancient sculptural wonders. The structures here are mostly carved out of granite and are one of the oldest existing examples of the Dravidian architecture.
The world heritage site has other nine rock-cut cave temples with interesting carvings on the walls portrays scenes from the Hindu mythology and stories from Panchtantra. Awe at the finely-carved Hindu Gods and Goddesses in various postures, some mythological relating incidents. The most popular icon is the carving of the celebrated fight between Mahishasura and Goddess Durga and another carved image of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
Among the most impressive sights is the carving of the magnificient Pandava Rathas (dedicated to the Pandava brothers of Mahabharata) all carved out of a single rock. Another popular carving is known as Arjuna’s Penance or the Descent of Ganga where the Mahabharata hero was said to have paid for his worldly sins. There are also famous ‘Mandapams’,which are rock-cut galleries with sculpted figures inside them. The timeless setting of rocks by the serene sea pays tribute to the magnificence of the heritage site.