Mahabalipuram Caves | Mahabalipuram Tsunami Temple | Mahabalipuram Shore Temple | Mahabalipuram Tiger Caves | Mahabalipuram Beach | Mahabalipuram History | Mahabalipuram timings | Mahabalipuram Travel
Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, derives its name from the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who bore the title “Mamalla,” meaning “great wrestler.” Founded during the 7th century CE, this once bustling port city was a thriving trade center and the capital of the Pallava dynasty. The Pallavas, renowned for their artistic achievements, left an indelible mark on the town through their architectural and sculptural creations.
Historians say that earlier there used to be 7 Temples, Those are called Pagodas, Now 6 are submerged in Sea and only One Temple in on the Shore of Mahabalipuram. This Temple survived the 2004 Tsunami and since then it is called Shore Temple.
Nestled along the southeastern coast of India, Mahabalipuram stands as a testament to the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region. This UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its breathtaking rock-cut monuments, intricate carvings, and ancient temples that vividly reflect the artistic prowess and architectural ingenuity of ancient civilizations. Steeped in history, Mahabalipuram’s origins and evolution provide a fascinating journey into the past.
Mahabalipuram serves as a timeline of evolving artistic styles. The early monuments predominantly exhibit rock-cut architecture, while later structures like the Shore Temple showcase a transition to structural stone architecture. The intricate detailing, symmetry, and precision of the carvings reflect the Pallavas’ dedication to their craft and their commitment to creating lasting legacies.
Group of Monuments in Mahabalipuram
Descent of the Ganges
This is a Giant Carvings, Which also includes Micro Carvings on the Rock, This was to Celebrate the Victory of Narasimhavarman 1 over Chalukiya king Pulakesin 2. This is a giant open-air rock relief. The Carvings in Mahabalipuram are mostly carved during the Pallava dynasty in the 7th Century and also It is Maintained by the Archeological Survey of India.
Pancha Rathas means Five Chariots, These are dedicated to five Pandavas, Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira, Nakula, and Sahadeva. These are Carved on five separate single rocks. Built During the reign of Narsimhavarman. These Rathas are called Arjuna Ratha, Bhima Ratha, Yudisthtara Ratha, Nakula Ratha, and Sahadeva Ratha.
Mahabalipuram was a famous port during Narasimhavarman Period around 686 AD, Also Chinese Travellers used to stay in Mahabalipuram 1500 Years ago. All these mentions were carved on the Single Rock. The Carvings about Chinese man backstabbing were also mentioned in Mahabalipuram. Xi Jinping visited this place along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a summit in 2019.
The Cave Temples are
Krishna Cave Temple
This Cave temple has carvings of Scene in Mahabaratha where Lord Sri Krishna Lift’s Govardhanagiri( a Mountain) to protects people from heavy rains and floods caused by Lord Indra, Built during the 7th Century.
This Cave has carvings of Vishnu Sleeping on Serpent with Five heads, Also the Posture of Goddess Durga slaying the Buffalo-headed Mahishasura.
Also known as Adivaraha Cave, Has the Carvings of Lord Vishnu’s Incarnation form of Boar, And also boar lifting bhudevi which is Mother Earth.
The Trimuthi Cave has Carvings of all three Hindu Gods, Lord Bramha, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva. All these are Carved in the 8th Century.
Dedicated to Goddess Durga Matha, the cave chamber inside is 21.5 feet (6.6 m) long, 8 feet (2.4 m) wide, and has a height of 8 feet (2.4 m).
Tiger Caves are the most famous and Top most caves among all others in Mahabalipuram, A Blue Print of Tiger Caves which is a miniature near the shore. But its origin is on the Land. On a single rock, Tiger’s face with different expressions are Carved and Three blocks with free spaces are left in the center.
The Atiranachanda Cave Temple is east-facing. It is situated at Saluvankuppam village, about 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) away on the Mahabalipuram – Chennai road. Its layout is 28 feet (8.5 m)t in length and 6 feet (1.8 m) in width on the plan, with a height of 6.5 feet (2.0 m).
This is an unfinished cave, The Entrance of this cave is 50ft high, On the sides of the entrance, The Evolution of humans in Different yugas are said to be carved, But due to a small mistake by Sculptor, This was stopped. This is near open-air rock relief.
As Mentioned, Shore Temple is the Main Temple of Lord Shiva, The Entrance is locked, The Idol of lord shiva has 16 sides. Ancient Lathe Machines were predicted to be used for this IDOL. This Temple also survived Tsunami in 2004. That’s why it is also called Tsunami Temple.
Olakkaneswara means Three Eyes, This was dedicated to Lord Shiva as he has three eyes, But this is not a Temple. It is an Ancient Light House. It is on the Top of the Hill.
Krishna’s Butter Ball
A Large Stone Which is exactly on the Slope of a Hill is still intact without Falling Down. The technology used to make this standstill is still a mystery. The Locals call it Krishna’s Butter Ball.
This is a Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, The temple is open from 6 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 8:30 pm. This is one among 32 Group of Monuments of Mahabalipuram. There are carvings of Lord Vishnu and his depictions on the rock walls of Temple
In the South of India, The Place which is most visited by foreigners is Mahabalipuram, Because of the Group of Temples, Caves, and beautiful History it holds. Almost 2 Million People visited this place in 2019. This is well maintained by the Archeological Survey of India, As it is UNESCO WHS. It has the advantage of attracting visitors worldwide.
UNESCO WHS Status
Mahabalipuram’s historical importance has led to ongoing efforts for its preservation. UNESCO recognized its significance by designating it as a World Heritage site in 1984. This designation has spurred conservation initiatives to protect the delicate carvings from natural elements and the passage of time. Local and international organizations collaborate to ensure that future generations can continue to marvel at the beauty and history encapsulated within this coastal marvel.
There are a Group of Monuments in Mahabalipuram, About 32 Temples and Carvings. It has a well-recorded history in the form of Carvings on the Rocks. Based on Cultural and Rich Heritage it Holds. UNESCO granted World Heritage Status for Mahabalipuram in 1984.
Mahabalipuram Travel Route
Chengalpattu is the nearest Railway Station and Chennai is just 60kms away from Mahabalipuram. So The Nearest Airport will be Chennai. Also from Chennai Many Local Buses, Taxi’s and Autos are available till Mahabalipuram. Government Tourist Buses are always available to Mahabalipuram
The Timings of Mahabalipuram is from 9 AM TO 6PM.
Ticket Price For Foreigners it is 600, Locals it is 50.