The temple town of Mahabalipuram is dotted with numerous temples and monuments in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Mahabalipuram Monuments is this ancient city’s biggest attraction and draws thousands of visitors each year. Temples in the Dravidian style and the brilliant sculptures are sure to give the state a flavor. The city is dotted with many worth visiting monuments, temples and chariots. Stone carvings are the main feature of the monuments of Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram Temple History
The religious center of the city was established by a Hindu Pallava king from the 7th century-CE, Narasimhavarman, also known as Mamalla, for whom the city was named. Ancient coins found in Mamallapuram from China, Persia, and Rome point to its earlier history as a seaport. It includes several surviving Pallava temples and monuments from the 7th and 8th centuries, the chief of which is the sculpted rock relief popularly known as “Arjuna’s Penance,” or “Descent of the Ganges,” a series of sculpted cave temples, and a Shaiva temple on the seashore. The five rathas, or monolithic temples of the city, are the ruins of seven temples, for which the city was known as Seven Pagodas. The five rathas of the city, or monolithic temples, are the ruins of seven temples, for which the city was known as Seven Pagodas. Collectively, the whole assembly was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
The Adi Varaha Perumal Cave Temple is Mahabalipuram’s oldest, but the least visited, of all Pallava complexes. The magnificence of the real mandapa (pavilion) is concealed behind a later-day frame that looks very ordinary. Before the reign of Mahendravarman I, the construction of this site began. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu (Varaha is an incarnation of Vishnu) and its design follows the spirit of Vaishnava Agamic texts. Both the outer hall and the sanctum are decorated with intricate sculptures in relief. This temple houses two relief sculptures supported by their respective wives by Pallava rulers, Simhavishnu (c. 537 CE – 570 CE) and Mahendravarman I.
How to Reach Mamallapuram Temple
Chennai Airport serves as the closest airport to Mamallapuram. The airport is located around 58 km away from the temple town. Chennai is well connected with rest of India by all major domestic airlines. One can board a direct or stopover flight to Chennai from anywhere in India and then hire a cab to reach the town of Mamallapuram.
Mamallapuram is well connected by the road with the rest of Tamil Nadu. State and private buses ply at regular and frequent intervals from places like Chennai, Pondicherry, Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram, to name a few. Road condition is good and the drive along the coast is quite pleasant. Depending on budget, passengers can avail AC or non AC buses.
The nearest train station to Mamallapuram is Chengalpattu Junction. It connects Chennai and various parts of Tamil Nadu by express and mail trains. On arrival at the station, one can hire a cab to travel a distance of around 29 km to reach Mamallapuram.