I visited Mahabalipuram which is 65 KM away from Chennai on ECR(East Coast Road).
The journey from Chennai to Mahabalipuram or mamllapuram is unforgettable due to its magnificent scenic views.
It takes about one and half hour to reach mahabalipuram.
The place is famous for its stone carvings temples and monuments.
The most important places are Shore temple which is a World Heritage site.
The monuments are mostly rock-cut and monolithic, and constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible. They are constituted by cave temples, monolithic rathas (chariots), sculpted reliefs and structural temples. The pillars are of the Dravidian order. The sculptures are excellent examples of Pallava art.
It is believed by some that this area served as a school for young sculptors. The different sculptures, some half finished, may have been examples of different styles of architecture, probably demonstrated by instructors and practiced on by young students. This can be seen in the Pancha Rathas where each Ratha is sculpted in a different style.
Some important structures include:
Thirukadalmallai, the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was also built by Pallava King in order to safeguard
the sculptures from the ocean. It is told that after building this temple, the remaining architecture was preserved and was not corroded by sea.
Descent of the Ganges - a giant open-air bas relief
Arjuna's Penance - relief sculpture on a massive scale extolling an episode from the Hindu epic, The Mahabharata.
Varaha Cave Temple - a small rock-cut temple dating back to the 7th century.
The Shore Temple - a structural temple along the Bay of Bengal with the entrance from the western side away from the sea. Recent excavations have revealed new structures here. The temple was reconstructed stone by stone from the sea after being washed away in a cyclone.
Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots) - five monolithic pyramidal structures named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishtra, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi. An interesting aspect of the rathas is that, despite their sizes they are not assembled — each of these is carved from one single large piece of stone.
If u r visiting mahabalipuram in the mid of December o till mid of January
then do not miss the Indian dance festival. This dance festival took place for 30 days in the period at Arjuna's Penance.
Every day their is dance show for 2 hours. Entry fee was Rs.100 for day.
I visited mahabalipuram on 28thDec Sunday; so being weekend there was huge rush.
So while visiting avoid Saturday and Sundays if possible. Its nice place to chill out and hang out with friends; u can spend 3-4 days easily in mahabalipuram.
The beach of mahabalipuram is neat, clean and safe.
Visit mahabalipuram and enjoy u r trip.