Mamallapuram The Ancient Port City
Mamalapuram (Mahabalipuram) is one of the important place to visit in Chengalpattu District. It was a flourishing port town during the time of Pallavas. This thriving port city was given the lease of life through the chisels of Pallavas. The monuments of Mamallapuram are excellent specimen of Dravidian temple architecture and Pallava art.
The art in the marvellous monuments with sculpted panels, caves, monolith rathas and temples lay emphasis on robust earthly beauties, imbibed with life. Mythological episodes, epic battles, demons, Gods, animals, all vividly depicted on the wall. These sculptures are breathtakingly real and artistic. Most of the temple and monuments were completed during the reigns Narasimha Varman I and Narasimha Varman II.
In contrast to the grand monuments of the Cholas, the architecture of Pallavas is simple yet very lively and attractive. The Pallavas were followers of Jainism but the conversion of Mahendra Vernman to Shaivism had drastic consequences on the future of Jainism and it also explains the Shiva and Vishnu temple at Mamallapuram. The shore temple strikes a very romantic theme and is perhaps the most photographed monument in India after Taj Mahal. The temple is flood lit in the night and then its beauty comes out to fully. The pleasure of watching the monument in light with cool breeze from the sea has no comparison. Mamallapuram attracts tourists from all over the globe to its monumental splendour and sunny beaches.
There are nine cave temples which are cut in the rocks in Mamallapuram. These caves are famous for their real life depiction of incidents from the Hindu Mythology. There are Bas-reliefs in the various caves. In particular the carvings in the Krishna cave appears very real. Vishnu is seen in the cosmic sleep in Mahishasuramardhini cave. In contrast to peace here, the other portrayals of Goddess Durga is fighting the buffalo headed Demon.
How to Reach:
Chennai Airport (52 kms) is the nearest airport to Mahabalipuram, which is well connected to all major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata. Taxi/cabs and buses are available from the airport to reach Mahabalipuram.
Chengalpattu (22 kms) is the nearest railway station. However, Chennai railhead (60 kms) is the nearest major station having trains to Mahabalipuram from major cities of India like Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Taxi/cabs and buses are available from these stations to reach Mahabalipuram.
There are various buses to Mahabalipuramfrom the cities in and around the region through both Tamil Nadu Public Transport Services and private tourist buses (operating from Chennai Central). The city is well connected with Chennai through East Coast Road (ECR) and old Mahabalipuram Road.