Mahabalipuram (or Mamallapuram) is a place of cultural significance. Built from barren stones to some of the most beautiful stone sculptures, during the great Pallava era, the marvelous statues still stand testimony to the rich taste of art that persisted in India during those ancient times.

In case you plan to visit this place, let me draw a list of the places that are must see in Mahabs:

  1. The Shore Temple
  2. Arjuna’s Penance
  3. Krishna’s Butter Rock
  4. The Pancha Rathas
  5. Lighthouse

The Shore Temple is perhaps the most visited – possibly something to do with it’s legend as the sole survivor of the mythical seven pagodas and it’s close proximity to the sea shore as well as the tens of shops selling Mahabalipuram paraphernalia.

The Arjuna’s Penance is at a walking distance from the Shore Temple. On the way you can also see a few other mandapas (like the Varaha Mandapam) and carvings on stone.

Very close to Arjuna’s Penance is Krishna’s Butter Ball. This is probably not of much interest to the architecturally/ culturally oriented folks as it is nothing more than a natural boulder on a hill slope. It is said that the Pallavas tried moving this with elephants but for some reason were never able to! I see it as an element of Nature’s resistive force 🙂

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Keila says:

That whole route from Chennai to Mahabs is quite scenic.. especially the dawn and dusk times.. there is a point you see in the middle of the sand two clusters of thatched houses. as two hamlets in the middle of nowhere. wonder what happened to them. Though I live on the ECR, close to Chennai, haven’t been that side recently.

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