|The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, in Tamilnadu, about 58 km from Chennai, were built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. The town is said to have gained prominence under the rule of Mamalla. These monuments have been carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast. The temple town has approximately forty monuments, including the largest open-air bas-relief in the world. The monuments inscribed are the Ratha Temples: Temples in the form of chariots, Mandapas, 11 Cave sanctuaries covered with bas-reliefs, rock relief of Descent of the Ganges, which is the largest open air Rock relief also known as Arjuna's Penance or Bhagiratha's Penance.|
Shore Temple. The oldest structure in the area, build c. 700 AD, this temple has been here for more than 1400 years. However, unlike Mamallapuram's other monuments, the Shore Temple is a building (not carved from rock) and the bulk of the current structure is a reconstruction after it was struck by a cyclone. It's not particularly large, and the carvings have been badly eroded by the wind and the sea, but this adds to the sense of antiquity. The area around the temple is now a landscaped park, with guards keeping the hordes of souvenir hawkers at bay.
A Shiva lingam is enshrined in the central building and the site can get very crowded on weekends.
Shopping at Mahabalipuram
Mamallapuram wakes each day to the sound of
sculptors' chisels on granite. Mamallpuram is the ‘Heart of Indian Temple Sculpture’. It has produced many splendid sculptures.
The tourists buy many small sculptures and artistry
works made by the artisans.
The shopping is excellent in Mahabalipuram. Handmade crafts made by people in the region are the specialty. These handmade crafts many times come in the form of stone statues carved to look like the enormous originals that are in the area. These statues are normally carved out of granite which enhances their beauty. Many people are more than glad to travel to this region to acquire such fine artistic pieces made by quality artisans. Soapstone images, wood carvings, jewelry, and items made from local seashells are also popular items that are sold in the local shops.
|Five Rathas (Pancha Pandava Rathas). This site contains five rathas, literally chariots, dating from the 7th century. The sculptures are complemented by some enormous stone animals, including a large elephant.|
|At Krishna's butter ball|