- “Heard of Temple singing to the Rhythm of waves , rocks reading epic poetry, spell binding sculptures and rock cut caves echoing a glorious past”.
That is all is Mahabalipuram where waves dance to the symphony of stones.
Mahabalipuram (MB) – Chennai – Kanchipuram forms the golden tourism triangle on the shore of Coromandel Coast. Mahabalipuram is 60 km from Chennai and can be reached easily within 1 to 1.5 hours drive. Mahabalipuram is the most visited tourist destination of TamilNadu. It is one of the UNESCO 16 World Heritage Site because of its importance and ancientness of the sculptures and temples which depict its historical past and traditional legacy and also about the Dravidian civilization. When we went to Mahabalipuram in my recent visit I was constantly remembering Archana throughout the day as I think she likes old structures, caves monuments etc (How I know this ? She commented on my Bhubaneswar post). So I am totally dedicating my post to Archana for all her help in my 06 months journey in Ghumakkar.
In our previous visit to MB we went in Afternoon and returned back by evening. But seeing the points at MB in afternoon was really tough job , so this time we decided to go early morning. I had booked the cab service from the most reliable and efficient cab service of Chennai “Fastrack”. We started from Chennai at sharp 0700 hrs , collected our breakfast parcel from one of my favorites Tiffin centre “Veg Point” at Thiruvanmiyur. It was pleasant morning and our ride on scenic East Coast Road (ECR) was just wonderful. We had crossed many Chennai most visited points on our way like (Not mentioned in an order) Crocodile Park , Dakshina Chitra , VGP Amusement Park , MGM Dizzee World, ISKCON temple, Sai baba temple, Muttukadu etc.This time I also purchased a book for myself to better know MB and because of book I got to know another beautiful point “Pancha Ratha” which we missed in our last visit.
At around 0830 hrs we reached Mahabalipuram. The strange thing about MB is that we have to even pay for entering in the town.
We decided to first go to famous Shore Temple at MB Beach. There was huge car parking space as well as for buses. Driver has parked the car and we proceeded to Shore Temple. At 0845 Hrs also, the weather was little hot and the place was crowded.
a) Shore Temple and Mahabalipuram Beach
The shore temple opens from 0600 Hrs to 1730 hrs and entry ticket for Indian citizens are Rs 10/- per adult. There is very clean toilet facility available at this point.
This temple is considered in a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was built in 7th century. It is one of the oldest South Indian temples built in Dravidian style. The complex spreads out over a square platform, and comprises three temples, of which two are east and west facing Shiva temples, and the third a Vishnu shrine in the center. The temple has vast open are at the western side. Rows of Nandi form the perimeter wall for this temple. The Shore temple is the lone survivor out of seven such temples , the rest having fallen to the ravages of sea.
One can enjoy the beautiful view of MB beach from this temple and can easily go to the beach as the road (Path) leading to beach is just next to it. One side of path is full of local shops selling sea shells items and other handicrafts items and other side of path is the perimeter wall of the Shore temple garden.
We had spent around 01 hour at this temple and its surrounding and moved to MB beach. The beach at MB is similar to what we have at Thiruvanmiyur Beach. When we went to the beach two groups of school kids came to visit MB, thus there was very less space left for us to enjoy at the beach. My son enjoyed at beach for 15 minutes and we decided to go to our next point.
b) Pancha Ratha – These are the chariots made out of huge boulders in the form of Temple Chariot. There are 4 rathas is the name of Pandavas and 5th Ratha is the name of Draupadi, thus it is also known as Pancha Pandava Ratha. It is a beautiful site with 5 different chariot dedicated to different GODs and the carvings outside the Ratha dedicated to each God or to a GOD family.Sabse bade bhai ka sabse badha ratha aur sabse chhote ka sabse chhota. Which means Dharmaraja Ratha is the biggest and the Nakul Sahadevs ratha is the smallest.Huge Elephant cut from a single rock and majestic lion are really very attractive and the main centre for photography at this place.
After visiting Pancha Ratha we moved to our next point. On our way we saw temples on the rock side which we visited in our previous visit. This time we skipped these points as our parents were unable to climb that high.
c) Arjuana Penance – It is one of my favorites rock carving caves at MB. It is a huge rock canvas (96 feet long and 43 feet high) with chisel sketches of Gods, human beings , birds and animals. The best carving I liked here is Elephant family at the face of cave.
d) Krishna’s Butter ball – This rock is located just next to Arjuna Penance inside the garden. This Garden also has small caves/temples dedicated to Lord Ganesh and other GOD. The balance of this huge rock is just mind blowing and thus it is also known as Krishna’s Butter ball.
This finishes our Mahabalipuram visit and we left MB for Chennai at 1300 hrs. There were still many points to be explored at MB like Lord Vishnu Temple , Varaha Caves , Mahishasuramardhini caves etc which we left to see in our next visit.
Today’s greening tip is :
Plant less water thirsty plants in your Garden.
PS : Apologies for finishing all in one post as I do not want to stretch this post in two parts.