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MAHABALIPURAM

Kanchi Kailashanthar Temple - Mahabalipuram Mahabalipuram (or Mamallapuram, its ancient name) is one of history's intriguing enigmas. Situated just 60 km off Chennai on the Bay of Bengal coast in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Mahabalipuram was a flourishing port town of the Pallava rulers of South India who chiseled in stone a fabulous open-air museum of sculptures under the vault of a burning sky. The mystery of Mahabalipuram lingers, unravelled, but its sculptural extravaganza is a living testament of the virile artistic temperament of the Pallavas who were trendsetters in South Indian art.

PLACES OF INTEREST
Arjuna's Penance - Mahabalipuram Arjuna's Pennace
Arjuna's Penance, an enormous relief made on two huge boulders, is the universe itself in stone This colossus of art, 27 metres long and 9 metres high, is perhaps the world's largest bas-relief.
The Varaha Cave - MahabalipuramCaves Mahabalipuram
The Varaha Cave, a small rock-cut mandapam (hall), is a faceted and finished gem with two incarnations of Vishnu-Varaha (boar) and Vamana (dwarf). The Dharmaraja Cave, built in the early seventh century, contains three empty shrines. The Mahisasurmardini Cave (mid-seventh century) , the Somaskanda sculpture radiates peace, power, and wisdom while Lord Vishnu is shown in omniscient repose in a masterpiece of dhwani (the art of suggestion). About 5 km north of Mahabalipuram is another cave called Tiger Cave, a rock-cut shrine possibly dating back to 7th century.
Rathas - Mahabalipuram Rathas
A group of structures lying at the southern extreme of Mahabalipuram, amidst casuarinas trees, are the famous Rathas (chariots). The Pancha Pandava Rathas, as they are called, are five in number. Out of these, four are carved out of a single rock, while the fifth on the west is scooped out from a small rock. Besides these, there are the Ganesha Ratha to the north of the main hill and two Pidari Rathas on the eastern side. The hut-like Draupadi Ratha sports doorkeepers and Durga with a worshipper offering his head. The Arjuna Ratha, facing west, has its outer walls carved with the most graceful figures of gods and mortals. The Sahadeva Ratha with a huge monolithic elephant in front; the Bhima Ratha with its two storeys and lion-based pillars; and, of course, the Dharamraja Ratha-the biggest and finest of them all with its eight panels of exquisite sculptures-provide the visitor with insight into the craftsmen\'s skill of a time long gone by.
Krishna Mandapam - Mahabalipuram Krishna Mandapam
The Krishna Temple is one of the earliest rock-cut temples of Mahabalipuram.
Shore Temple - Mahabalipuram Shore Temple
A three-in-one abode of God-a Vishnu temple sandwiched between two Shiva temples-it is a visual pleasure, its precincts abounding in architectural masterpieces The Shore Temple forms the backdrop of the Mahabalipuram Dance Festival celebrated in the month of January/February every year.
 
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