Mahabalipuram

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Mamallapuram, 50km south of Chennai, was the major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom based at Kanchipuram. A wander round the town’s magnificent, World Heritage–listed temples and carvings inflames the imagination, especially at sunset.In addition to ancient archaeological wonders, salty air and coastal beauty, there’s also the traveller hub of Othavadai and Othavadai Cross Sts, where restaurants serve pasta.

Mamallapuram, also known as Mahabalipuram, is a town in Kancheepuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 58 km south of the city of Chennai. It is an ancient historic town and was a bustling seaport during the time of Periplus (1st century CE) and Ptolemy (140 CE), from where ancient Indian traders sailed to countries of South East Asia.

By the 7th century it was a port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas. It has a group of sanctuaries carved out of rock in the 7th and 8th centuries: rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air rock reliefs such as the famous Descent of the Ganges, and the Shore Temple, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.It has an average elevation of 12 metres (39 feet). The modern town of Mahabalipuram was established by the British Raj in 1827.

Climate


Mahabalipuram has a tropical climate. The Köppen-Geiger climate classification is Aw. The average annual temperature is 28.4 °C. The temperatures are highest on average in May, at around 32.6 °C. In January, the average temperature is 24.3 °C, the lowest of the year. The average temperatures vary during the year by 8.3 °C. In a year, the average rainfall is 1219 mm. In winter, there is much less rainfall than in summer. The variation in the precipitation between the driest and wettest months is 309 mm.

An 8th-century Tamil text written by Thirumangai Alvar described this place as Sea Mountain ‘where the ships rode at anchor bent to the point of breaking laden as they were with wealth, big trunked elephants and gems of nine varieties in heaps’. It is also known by several other names such as Mamallapattana and Mamallapuram. Another name by which Mahabalipuram has been known to mariners, at least since Marco Polo’s time is "Seven Pagodas" alluding to the Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram that stood on the shore, of which one, the Shore Temple, survives. The temples of Mahabalipuram, portraying events described in the Mahabharata, were built largely during the reigns of Narasimhavarman and his successor Rajasimhavarman and show the movement from rock-cut architecture to structural building. The city of Mahabalipuram was largely developed by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I in the 7th century AD.The mandapa or pavilions and the rathas or shrines shaped as temple chariots are hewn from the granite rock face, while the famed Shore Temple, erected half a century later, is built from dressed stone. What makes Mahabalipuram so culturally resonant are the influences it absorbs and disseminates. The Shore Temple includes many reliefs, including one 100 ft. long and 45 ft. high, carved out of granite.

All but one of the rathas from the first phase of Pallava architecture are modeled on the Buddhist viharas or monasteries and chaitya halls with several cells arranged around a courtyard.Art historian Percy Brown, in fact, traces the possible roots of the Pallava Mandapa to the similar rock-cut caves of Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves. Referring to Narasimhavarman's victory in AD 642 over the Chalukyan king Pulakesin II, Brown says the Pallava king may have brought the sculptors and artisans back to Kanchi and Mahabalipuram as 'spoils of war'. The fact that different shrines were dedicated to different deities is evidence of an increased sectarianism at the time of their construction. A rock relief on a sculpted cliff has an image of Shiva and a shrine dedicated to Vishnu, indicating the growing importance of these Sangam period deities and a weakening of the roles of Vedic gods such as Indra and Soma.

According to local guides, the site's name changed during the centuries. The first name was Kațalmalai meaning "The land between the mountain and the sea" in Tamil. The second name was Mämalläpuram meaning "The land of the great wrestler" as the region was ruled by the Pallavan King Narsimhavarman during the 8th century who was known for his strength. The third name was and is still there is Mähäbalipuram meaning "The land of Mahabali". According to legends, he was the grandson of the devoted Prahlada.

History


Megalithic burial urn, cairn circles and jars with burials dating to the very dawn of the Christian era have been discovered near Mahabalipuram. The Sangam age poem Perumpāṇāṟṟuppaṭai relates the rule of King Thondaiman Ilam Thiraiyar at Kanchipuram of the Tondai Nadu port Nirppeyyaru which scholars identify with the present-day Mahabalipuram. Chinese coins and Roman coins of Theodosius I in the 4th century CE have been found at Mahabalipuram revealing the port as an active hub of global trade in the late classical period. Two Pallava coins bearing legends read as Srihari and Srinidhi have been found at Mahabalipuram. The Pallava kings ruled Mahabalipuram from Kanchipuram; the capital of the Pallava dynasty from the 3rd century to 9th century CE, and used the port to launch trade and diplomatic missions to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.


state Tamil Nadu,India
Country India
Area 12 m (39 ft)
Languages Tamil,English
Currency Ruppee

Beach

The old port town of Mahabalipuram also known as Mamallapuram on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, has a coastline spanning a distance of over 20 km with beautiful beaches. Located 58km from Chennai on the Mahabalipuram road, the golden sandy beach is a picturesque place bounded by the shimmering sea and rolling hills. Identified as the most pristine beaches of Tamil Nadu, the beach attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year. The beach is an idle place for sunbathing and lazing around. The sea is rough and swimming is not recommended.

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Five Rathas

Five Rathas is a monument complex at Mahabalipuram, on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, in the Kancheepuram district of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Five Rathas is an example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture.

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Shore Temple

The Shore Temple is so named because it overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD.

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ArjunaPenance

Arjuna’s Penance is one of the magnificent monuments of Mahabalipuram. This wonderful bas air relief dates back to the mid-seventh century. Standing tall at a height of 43 feet, the monolith was carved on the face of two huge adjoining boulders, making its length around 96 feet. The majestic structure cannot be made out in photographs, it deserves to be praised by one’s own eyes. The subject of the massive structure is either Arjuna's Penance or the Descent of the Ganges, or possibly both. Historians and experts of archeology have never settled on one account as there are not sufficient sources or records.

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Alamparai Fort

The ruins of Alamparai Fort lie near Kadappakkam, a village 50 km from Mamallapuram on the land overlooking the sea.

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Tiger's Caves

The Tiger Cave is a rock-cut Hindu temple complex located in the hamlet of Saluvankuppam near Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, India. It gets its name from the carvings of tiger heads on the mouth of a cave which forms a part of the complex.

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Sadras

Sadras is a fortress town located on India's Coromandel Coast in Kanchipuram District, 70 km south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu state. Sadras is the anglicized form of the ancient town of Saduranga pattinam.

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Crocodile Bank

The Mahabalipuram Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology is a reptile zoo and herpetology research station, located 40 kilometres south of the city of Chennai, in state of Tamil Nadu, India

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Daal Chawal

The favourite breakfast item of rameshwaram, Daal Chawal is roasted, spicy semolina (sooji) flavoured with curry leaves.

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The favourite breakfast item of rameshwaram, Daal Chawal is roasted, spicy semolina (sooji) flavoured with curry leaves. The same dish is also known as Daal Chawal . Yum!

Dosa

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Huli or Saaru

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A creamy broth of cocunut, lentils and veggies, Huli or Saaru is usually served for lunch. It’s got lots of tamarind and chillies, which gives it a very sour and spicy flavour.

Rasam And Paapad

Tangy, spicy, sweet and sour, Rasam is like an explosion of flavours in your mouth.

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Tangy, spicy, sweet and sour, Rasam is like an explosion of flavours in your mouth. Nothing goes better with the taste like a simple, crispy and crunchy Paapad.

Mysore Pak

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Chakkuli

The best thing in the world to have with your tea!

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