Thirupparamkunram Murugan temple

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Tirupparankunram Murugan Temple is a Hindu temple and one of the Six Abodes of Murugan, located at Tirupparankunram. this is the first temple. While Lord Muruga graces in a standing form in other five army camp temples, He graces in a sitting, wedding form with His consort Deivanai, the divine daughter of the king of heaven, Indra, and he is said to have worshipped Shiva here as Parangirinathar. The temple is built in rock-cut architecture and believed to have been built by the Pandyas during the 6th century.  This is a 2000 years old hillock temple beaming with the pride of being the pioneer of other five army camps.

It is carved in rock and is monstrous in size for such an architecture. There are number of cubical pillars with lotus medallions at the entrance of temple. The temple has innumerable cave shrines that are small and approached through narrow dark passages. The inscriptions on the chamber walls are believed to date back to the early medieval period. There are 11 famous ponds around the temple, out of which, Saravanapoigai and Lakshmi Theertham are very famous. A cave temple dedicated to the element of earth and mentioned in various classical Tamil texts as the ‘Southern Himalaya’ where the gods assemble, Tiruparankundram is also mentioned in legend as ‘the place where the sun and moon abide’.

Architecture:

Thiruparamkundram_(14) There are several architectural features of interest, especially the temple is built rock-cut architecture dating back to the Pandya period of 6th century and the life sized sculptures in the mandapas of the Nayaka period during the 16th century. An Aasthaana Mandapa with several artistically carved pillars lead one to the towering 150 feet (46 m) high seven-tiered rajagopuram at the entrance.The granite hill behind the temple is 1,050 ft (320 m) has a shrine of Kasi Viswanatha at the top. The image of Vinayaka in the temple in the temple is sported holding sugarcane and fruits. The main shrine is an early rock cut temple which has cells that house the sanctums of Subramanya, Durga, Vinayakar, Shiva and Vishnu. All the statues are carved on the wall of the parankundram rock. A notable feature of this temple is that the Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine, considered a rare thing in ancient Hindu temples. Outside the temple there is tank, where according to the temple tradition, the fishes are served with salt and rice flakes by the devotees. There are five Theerthams, or divine water sources, in and around the temple, Saravana Poigai, Lakshmi Theertham, Saniyasi Kinaru (well), Kasi Sunai, and Sathiya Koopam.

Skanda Shashti festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni (October – November) is the most prominent festival of the temple. Muruga are taken in procession to Madurai to celebrate Minakshi’s wedding (Chittirai festival), with residents of Madurai dressed in festive clothing. Nakkirar’s association with this temple is also celebrated as a festival. Since the image of Vishnu is in the temple, Vaikunta Ekadashi is also celebrated.

Those facing obstacles in marriage alliances, risk to the welfare of children pray here. They also light lamps in the Durga shrine during the Rahu Kala time each day. The Temple time is open from 5.00 am to 1.00 pm And 4.00 pm to 9.00 pm.

How to reach:

By Air: The nearest airport is Madurai Airport(10 km), which is well connected to all major city of India.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is madurai railway(08 km), which is well connected to all major city of India by daily train.

By Road: Buses from Madurai Periyar and Thirumangalam bus stands will aid you to reach the temple. From the bus stand temple is at a walkable distance.

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Brihadeeswarar Temple

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Brihadeeswarar Temple Big Temple (locally known as “Thanjai Periya Kovil”) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Siva Peruman located in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as RajaRajeswara Temple Rajarajeswaram and Peruvudayar Temple. Thanjavur named after the legendry asura “Tanjan”, is one of the ancient temples in India. The 1000 year old temple was built by Raja Raja Chola I to grace the throne of the Chola Empire in 1 to grace the throne of the Chola Empire in 1010 AD and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”, with the other two being the Peruvudaiyar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatesvara temple.

Nandi_of_The_Big_Temple- The vimanam (temple tower) is 198 ft (60 m) high and is one of the tallest in the world. The Kumbam (the apex or the bulbous structure on the top) weighs around 80 tons.There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock measuring about 16 ft (4.9 m) long and 13 ft (4.0 m) high at the entrance.  This is the second largest  Nandhi in India and is carved out of a single stone.  Everything about this temple is big, majestic.  No wonder it is referred  as The Big Temple.The structure is a proof of wealth, artistic expertise and power of the Chola kingdom. According to the inscriptions present in the temple, Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perumthachan was the engineer and architect of this famous temple.  The tower stands tall and one can see this fabulous structure even as one enters Tanjore.  The temple is entirely built of more than 130,000 tons of granite. 

History:

Brihadeeswarar_Temple,_Thanjavur The temple was built to grace the throne of the Chola empire by the Tamil emperor Arulmozhivarman, popularly called Rajaraja Chola I, in compliance to a command given to him in a dream. This is the Chola dynastys finest contribution to Dravidian art.  The Big Temple  was an expression of the success of Raja Raja Chola’s empire.  This temple is also called as  Brahadeeswara Temple or Peruvudaiyar Kovil or Rajarajeswaram. The emergence of such features as the multifaceted columns with projecting square capitals signal the arrival of the new Chola style. The style of construction of temple resembles the temple in Bhuvaneshwar. The temple is built over 29 square base and is surrounded by moat on two sides and Grand Anaicut river on the other side. The walls of the complex are adorned by beautiful paintings belonging to the Chola and Nayak period.  The temple is entirely built of more than 130,000 tons of granite. Intended to display the emperor’s vision of his power and his relationship to the universal order, the temple was the site of the major royal ceremonies such as anointing the emperor and linking him with its deity, Siva Peruman, and the daily rituals of the deities were mirrored by those of the king. The temple “testifies the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting.

Architecture:

Brihadeeswarar_Temple_3624 The architect and engineer of the temple was Raja Raja Rama as stated in inscriptions found at the temple.  The temple took 12 years to complete, and King Raja Raja Chola – I, performed the Kumbhabhishekam (consecration ceremony) in 1011 AD. The temple was built in honour of his victorious reign, during when the Chola kingdom (10th to 14th centuries AD) extended till Ceylon and some parts of the Malaya archipelago. The fresco painting can be seen in the ceilings of the corridors and also in the ceilings of the many sub-shrines. They are an invention of the Cholas and the painting, which are about 1000 years old are still brightly colourful. The Temple, like many others built during this period served many functions; the walls are very high and the entrance is built like a fort, along with a moat. On the inside, there are separate waiting areas for musicians, workers etc and the periphery served as a meeting place for the public.  Built towards 600AD, the architecture is considered ‘modern’ in the scale of Dravidian architecture. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.

The day of the Ruling star, satabhishag is treated as a festival day every month as it symbolizes the ruling star at the time of birth of Rajaraja. The temple is also the venue of the annual festival that is celebrated here for the period of nine days in the month of Visaka according to the Hindu calendar. The deity is bathed with the water soaked with the fragrant Champaka flower.

How To Reach:

By Air: The nearest airport is at Trichy (45 km), which is well connected to all major city of India.

By Rail: Thanjavur railway station is well connected to all major city of India

By Road: Thanjavur is well connected to all major city of India, Regular buses to Thanjavur from other major cities of the country are always available.

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Yelagiri Hills

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Yelagiri is a hill station in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India, situated off the Vaniyambadi-Tirupattur road. This is the best closest hill station to Bangalore & Chennai. It is also one of the famous weekend getaways from Bangalore & Chennai. Yelagiri is a beautiful place in Southern India. Located at an altitude of 1,110.6 meters above Mean Sea Level and spread across 30 km, the Yelagiri village (also spelled Elagiri at times) is surrounded by orchards, rose-gardens, and green valleys.  The drive to the picturesque idyll winds through 14 hairpin bends that open up to spectacular mountain landscapes; after every twist and turn, the city seems to fade away a little more. 

1280px-Yelagiri_Hill However, the district administration has now taken up the task of developing Yelagiri Hills into a tourist destination by promoting adventure sports such as paragliding and rock climbing. The first thing that hits you on arrival in Yelagiri is the lack of noise. The beautiful rustic surroundings are extraordinarily quiet and when someone rings a temple bell somewhere on the hill, you can hear it as clearly as if you were right there. The hill also attracts thousands of people during the annual Summer Festival. Yelagiri Hills has developed as an ideal destination for adventure sports lovers, especially paragliders and trekkers. Some of the trekking places are from Mangalam to Swamimalai (it is a 2-3 hr trek) and from near Athvanur bus stand to the sunset point in the evenings. The Yelagiri Adventure Sports Association (YASA) promotes paragliding, rock climbing, trekking, cycling at Yelagiri hill station. Yelagiri is one of those typical, silent places that seem ordinary on the outside, but are more and more startling as you discover it. It has all the features of a great hill station, be it sunset points or lakes and parks.

History : 

The main town of Yelagiri Hills is Athanavur, which comprises a winding road through the hills with isolated villages. The Whole of Yelagiri was once the private property of the Yelagiri Zamindar Family. It was taken over by the government of India during the Early 1950s. The house of the Yelagiri Zamindars still exists in Reddiyur. Fr. Francis Guezou of Don Bosco, worked for the uplift of hill tribals. He has been the main reason for the educational upliftment to the people of Yelagiri. Location And OverviewThe Yelagiri hill station is not as developed as other hill stations in Tamil Nadu like Ooty or Kodaikanal.

Tourist Attraction: 

Nature Park:

Nature_Park,_Yelagiri_Karnataka_India Nature Park is located adjacent to Punganoor Lake, Which surrounds the lake. Spread in an area of 12 acres, the Nature Park is an alluring place. A Park was established in the year 2008. It consists of an aquarium, rose garden, an artificial waterfall, and a musical fountain. The musical fountain has the water dancing to popular songs. The musical fountains show is there at 7 PM every day. The fish aquarium has a large variety of fish and tortoises. People of every age love to visit this park for a picnic to relax in the pleasant atmosphere of this park.

Entry Fee: Rs.15/- for adults and Rs.5/- for children and Rs 25/- for a musical fountain.

Timings: 7 AM – 8 PM on all days

Punganoor Lake: 

Yelagiri_Lake2  It is on of the most popular landmark in Yelagiri Hills. It is an artificial lake 25 feet deep with an adjoining park. There is also a fountain in the middle and boating facilities are available.  The tranquil atmosphere and lush green park adjoining will give you a pleasant experience. In the vicinity of the lake, there is a floriculture garden that houses a variety of flowers and rides for kids. The boat club here offers pedal and motor boat rides. The waters of the lake are calm and serene. There’s a walking track around the lake circumference, a children park, a small tree top view point, boating and few shops. One can take a short walk along the lakeside and also enjoy a boat ride. The Punganur lake is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. 

Jalagamparai Waterfalls:

Courtallam At a distance, 37 km from Yelagiri, 37 from Athanavur and 13 km from Thirupattur, magnificent Jalagamparai Waterfalls near Jadayanur is created by the River Attaaru running through the valleys of Yelagiri Hills. It is one of the best places to visit in Yelagiri Hills. It’s an hour, 5 km, walk from Yelagiri downhill. The falls are inundated with water from November to February and remain dry for most of the summer months. Through the valleys of Yelagiri Hills, Attaru River flows. the falls are inundated with water from November to February and remain dry for most of the summer months. Through the valleys of Yelagiri Hills, Attaru River flows. There is a Murugan Temple which has been constructed in the shape of a Shiva Lingam. 

Swamimalai Hill: 

3191168556_87fbbbb430_b Swami malai hills are the hills in the shape of cake with a strong base at the bottom and a high peak. It is a perfect place for those who love to enjoy the pleasure of trekking and mountain climbing spot with tourists. The Swamimalai temple on top offers stunning views of the countryside. Situated at 4,338 feet above the sea level, the 2-hour trekking starts at the eastern side of the Punganur lake. This trek leads one to a small peak from where the entire valley is visible.

 

Best Time To Visit Yelagiri Hills:

Yelagiri has a moderate climate, therefore, travelers love to visit the city all through the year.  Owing to its latitude, it never really gets too hot. But  if you want to see its Summer Festival, then May and June is the time to go. The 3-day Summer Festival in May is a time of festivity and cultural programs.

How To Reach : 

By Air: The nearest Airport is Bengaluru International Airport (191 Kms), Which is well connected to all major city of India.

By Rail: The nearest Railway station is Jolarpettai (21 km), Trains connect the Jolarpettai junction to Chennai, Bengaluru and Coimbatore railway stations.

By Road: Yelagiri sees regular buses from all major nearby centers. The Vellore Bus Stand is regularly connected with the hill station. Buses are also available from other nearby areas.

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Rameswaram

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Rameswaram, (also spelt as Ramesvaram, Rameshwaram) is a town and a second grade municipality in the Ramanathapuram district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on Pamban Island separated from mainland India by the Pamban channeland is about 50 kilometres from Mannar Island, Sri Lanka. It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar, at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. Rameswaram is known for one of India’s most venerated and most visited Shiva shrines, dedicated to Sri Ramanathaswamy. It is so intimately associated with the life of Sri Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, that both Saivites and Vaishnavites consider every grain of Rameswaram’s sand very sacred. The religious island is spread in an area of 61.8 square kms. and happens to be in the shape of a conch. This island was the place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva in order to cleanse away the sins after he killed the Ravana, king of Lanka and also built the bridge across the sea to bring his consort, Sita back from Ravana.

Rameswaram is the closest point from which to reach Sri Lanka from India, and geological evidence suggests that the Rama Sethuwas a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. As a result both the Shaivites and Vaishnavaites sects of Hinduism visit this holy place. Rameshwaram is an important year round pilgrim destination. The renowned Ramanathaswamy Temple stands in the heart of the Rameshwaram city. This is one of the most popular temples in India. It represents the real essence of culture and religion of people of India in form of a small miniature. Rameshwaram is the abode of one of the 12 Jyothirlingas of India. It is also considered one among four most sacred pilgrim centers of India. They are Rameswaram in the South, Badrinath in the North, Puri in the East and Dwaraka in the West. Among these, Rameswaram is dedicated to Shiva, while the other three are dedicated to Vishnu.

Tourist Attractions in Rameshwaram :

Ramanathaswamy Temple : 

Rameswaram_temple_(11) Rameswaram_Temple_Inside One of the twelve Jyotirlinga Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple of Ramanathaswamy is an architectural excellence built in the 17th century. A must visit pilgrimage for both the Vaishnavite as well as the Shaiva sect of Hinduism the temple constitutes a major part of the popular spiritual tourism destinations in India. the Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple is a part of the Char Dham pilgrimage of the Hindus.  Ramanathaswamy Temple, lies on the eastern side of the island, having different types of corridors and sculptured pillars on both the sides. This corridor is quite long and measures around 197 metres from east to west. It is also 133 m wide, measuring south to north, which is built in the Dravidian style architecture. Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple is famous for its collection of Lingas, which were made up of sand, salt, stone and other elements. According to stories, there were around 112 ponds here out of which only 12 are left. This popular tourist attraction in Rameshwaram with the second largest pillared corridor in the world is one of the must visit tourist places in Rameshwaram. This temple is believed to have been built on the site where Rama worshipped Shiva in order to do penance for killing the Ravana, king of Lanka. There are twenty-two wells in the temple and the taste of the water in each well is different from each other. 

Five Faced Hanuman Temple : 

12490246024_560e94cb02_b The temple is famous for its unique incarnation of the mighty monkey god Lord Hanuman. Highly revered by the Hindus, the temple of Five Faced Hanuman is only 2 km from the Ramanathaswamy Temple. It is believed that Hanumana revealed his five-faced form for the first time in this place.  These five faces were that of Lord Hanuman, Lord Adivaraha, Lord Narashima, Lord Hayagriva and Lord Garuda. It is believed that after revealing His secret, Hanuman was decorated with senthooram by the saints and is listed among the most prestigious places to see in Rameshwaram. This famous idol is carved out of a large Senthooram Stone which was considered very precious in ancient times.  The temple here enshrines the statues of Rama, Laxman and Sita. There is a floating stone in the temple which is believed to have been used during Sethu Bandhanam as mentioned in the Ramayana. 

Agnitheertham : 

Agni_theerth,_Rameshwaram Agnitheertham is a sacred water body, which lies just 100 metres away from the very famous Ramanathaswamy Temple. This is the place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva, to cleanse away the sins after killing the Ravana. This is one of the 64  sacred baths in Rameswaram , Every day thousands of pilgrims took bath in this holy sea. The Agnitheertham, are a collection of 22 such spots at the shores which the pilgrims bath in. according to Hindu mythology Lord Ram took a bath at the shores to absolve him from the sin of the killings in the war against Ravana. 

Jada Tirtham : 

Rames5 Around 3.5km from Ramanathaswamy Temple, on the way to Dhanushkodi Village, Jada Tirtham is known among the Hindu devotees for the sacred pond. After killing Ravana, Lord Rama visited this place and installed Sri Rama lingam in the temple. Before installing the lingam, Lord Rama washed his Jada (hair) with water in this temple to purify himself from the sins. It is basically a water tank that is surrounded by trees from all sides. Jada Theertham temple is a small temple, located within the Kaveri Tirtham. The Kaveri Theertham is the only place in India where Lord Kapardishvara is worshipped. It is also believed that Jatayu, the king of birds, who fought with Ravana, fell down in this theertham after he was killed by the latter.

Dhanushkodi : 

Dhanushkodi_by_ArunElectra Dhanushkodi is a small town situated near the holy town of Rameshwaram. This small town lies along the eastern coast of the state of Tamil Nadu and is situated south-east of Pamban.  A famous picnic spot on the island, Dhanushkodi is also an important pilgrim spot. This place is popular for its two attractions, namely the Dhanushkodi Beach and Dhanushkodi Temple, which attract people from places near and far. The name Dhanushkodi literally means the end of the bow and is spot where Lord Ram built the famous bridge with floating stones. Lined with shallow beaches, historical remnants and vast horizons of azure sea, this South Indian tourist spot is a must-see in Rameshwaram. Today’s Dhanushkodi Temple is nothing but a ruin of the temple described in different versions of the Ramayana. In case you are curious enough to discover the plot of Ram Sethu, do not forget to explore Dhanushkodi.

Gandhamadhana Parvatham : 

Temples_in_Hanuman_Dhara Gandhamathana Parvatham is a small hill, located 3 km north of the Ramanathswamy Temple. Gandamadana Parvatham is considered to house a foot print of Lord Rama on a Chakra. The hill lies at an amazing location and one can get the panoramic views of the entire island from this point. It is Gandhamadana Parvatham which was carried by Lord Hanuman on his shoulders. It is famous for its beautiful sunrise and sunset. It is a holy place for the pilgrims. On their way to Gandhamadana Parvatam, tourists can visit Sugreevar Temple and Theertham. It is even considered the highest point of the island of Rameswaram. Tourists can hire taxi or take a tourist coach from the nearest city of Madurai to reach this point.

Adam’s Bridge : 

Pamban_Rail_Bridge Adam’s Bridge or Rama Setu is a debatable historic bridge that connects Rameshwaram island of India to the north-western coast of Sri Lanka. It is popularly believed that this bridge was constructed by Lord Rama, with the help of Hanuman and his Sena, for rescuing his wife Sita from Ravana. This bridge got its name from an Islamic legend, who said that Adam used this bridge to reach ‘Adam’s Peak’ in Sri Lanka. The bridge is a network of limestone shoals that start from Dhanuskodi, the tip of India’s Pamban Island, which in turn is connected to the Indian mainland by a 2 km long bridge. Always a topic of hot debate among historians and archeologists, the bridge is among the most preferred tourist places in rameshwaram.

Water Bird Sanctuary : 

Bird_Sanctuary_06 Rameshwaram isn’t solely a religious spot. For all visitors who wish to explore something other than the temples, they can go to the Water Bird Sanctuary that is home to a lot of native as well as migratory water birds. There are around 500 water tanks in the region, due to which birds flock here in huge numbers. Most of the water tanks are happy hunting grounds for water birds, during the monsoon season. Between October and January, the sanctuary turns into a battalion of migratory birds who flock here to breed and feed their offsprings. The best thing is you can see a lot of native as well as migratory water birds in this sanctuary. It is during the months of October to January when flocks of migratory birds fly to this land for breeding and feeding their off springs. The bird sanctuary is located in Ramanathapuram District and indeed one of the most popular tourist places in Rameshwaram.

Best time to visit :

The best time to visit Rameshwaram will be from October to April, when the weather is pleasant enough with temperature ranging from 17°C to 32°C for you to enjoy sightseeing and other outdoor activities. During the summer months, from March to June, you can experience moderately hot temperature with temperature varying a minimum of 25°C to a maximum of 38°C. Rameshwaram experiences an average temperature of 35°C. avoid visiting in the rainy season between July and September, as it tends to get humid thus making it difficult to enjoy sightseeing or outdoor activities.

How To Reach :

By Air : The nearest airports from Rameshwaram is Madurai Airport 167 km) and Tuticorin Airport (TCR). Cabs are available for hire from the airport to reach Rameshwaram. Which is well connected to all major city

By Rail : The railway station receives meter gauge trains from Coimbatore, Trichy, Madurai, Thanjavur and Chennai, which in turn are connected to the rest of the country.

By Road : A bus journey to Rameswaram is quite comfortable and safe. Daily bus services by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) have routes to nearby cities like Kanyakumari, Thiruvallur, Pondicherry, Trichy and Chennai. You can choose from a regular, semi-deluxe or a deluxe coach. 

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Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram, is a town in Kancheepuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, around 60 km south of the city of Chennai. Mahabalipuram was the earlier name of Mamallapuram because the demon king Mahabali was killed by Lord Vishnu. The name was changed later by the king of Pallava Narashima Varman who has got the title of Mamalla; the great wrestler. World Heritage–listed temples and carvings inflames the imagination, especially at sunset. In addition to ancient archaeological wonders, salty air and coastal beauty, there’s also the traveller hub of Othavadai and Othavadai Cross Sts, where restaurants serve pasta, pizza and pancakes, and shops sell Tibetan trinkets. The town’s buzzing, growing surf scene is another attraction.

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Mahabalipuram is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu. And together with Chennai and Kanchipuram, it forms ‘Golden Tourism Triangle’ on the shore of Coromandel Coast. This 7th century port city of the Pallavas, which was a dynasty of Dravidian civilization, includes several historical monuments which were mainly structured in that era. This tourist destination has been listed amongst the UNESCO 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. The major attraction of Mahabalipuram is the Shore temple which is devoted to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, sited on the Bay of Bengal with the gateway from the Western side away from the sea. It is one of the world heritage sites and also one of the ancient rock cut temples in the country. Noted for its complex carvings embellished with beautiful motifs and craftsmanship, the architectural designs of this temple are absolutely fascinating.

Cave Temples were excavated by scooping out the scarp of the hill. The scooping work starts from front to back. The cave temple is usually divided into inner & outer mandapas, distinguished by the difference in levels. The front mandapa will have pillars & plasters numbering 4,6,8,10. The inner mandapa contains single, triple or five cells. The cave temple with little modification is categorized as Mamalla style. The pillars under this style are slender & taller with squatting lion at their base. The pillar is divided into distinct parts known as kalasa, tadi, kumba, padma etc. There are total 11 excavated temples in Mahabalipuram, called Mandapas, two open air bas reliefs, out of which one is incomplete. But the most famous Mahabalipuram temple, built from a rock is cut out temple, it is also known as ‘Ratha’. They were executed by chiseling out the exterior face of the boulder. Work started from top to bottom. The pyramidal vimana with sikhara at the top is an important feature of this style. It can be rightly said that these monolithic temples must have paved the way for the structural temples with elaborate architectural & sculptural details in the subsequent stage. 

Places to Visit in Mahabalipuram :

Shore Temple :

1280px-Mahabalipuram_Shore_temple Shore Temple, which dates back to 8th century AD, is a combination of three shrines. This temple also includes Vishnu temple, which is constructed in between two Shiva temples. Built using blocks of granite, the structure features Dravidian style, which is a beautiful creation by Pallavas and is situated on the seashore of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. Tradition has it that there once stood seven temples along the shore line in this area. Today, the only one that is there is the Shore Temple. It was built during the 7th century by the artisan Rajasimha under the rule of Narasimha Varman II. It is one of the oldest temples that can be found in South India that is built in the Dravidian style. The Shore Temple is the icon of the ancient monuments of Mahabalipuram. The temple gets its name from its location on the Coromandel shore overseeing the Bay of Bengal. The sculptural excellence symbolizes the heights of Pallava architecture. 

Erected on a 50 feet square platform, the temple is a pyramidal structure rising to the heights of 60 feet. The characteristic specimen of Dravidian temple architecture, Shore Temple is one of the oldest structural stone temples of South India. The temple basks in the glow of the first rays of the rising sun and spotlights the waters after sunset. It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of ‘Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram’. Which is located 2 km from Mahabalipuram.

Cave Temples : 

Mahabalipuram_Caves Mahabalipuram houses a total number of 8 Rock-Cut Cave Temples built in the 7th century by the Pallava Kings. The temples feature a number of finely cut rock columns which vary in detail. The various rock carved sculptures are dedicated to the various Hindu deities and are considered as the finest masterpieces of Indian art. The mandapa in the front has two lion- pillars and two pilasters, and beyond this in the centre, the cell is guarded by two dwarapalas. There are four panels on the walls of front mandapa representing Varaha raising goddess earth from the ocean. 

Arjuna’s Penance : 

1280px-Mahabalipuram_pano2 Arjuna’s Penance is one of the largest bas reliefs in the world, carved during mid 7th century. Arjuna’s Penance is approximately 30 m long and 9 m high relief that is made on two massive boulders. This rock bas-relief was built by king Narasimha I. This rock is shaped like that of a huge wale. The sculpture is carved at the back portion of the whale shaped stone. Arjuna’s Penance is one of the magnificent monuments of Mahabalipuram.The subject of the massive structure is either Arjuna’s Penance or the Descent of the Ganges, or possibly both. It is a temple carved out from a rock to resemble a chariot and is built in Dravidian style of temple architecture. It was once dedicated to Lord Shiva. As per its name Arjuna’s Penance this wonderful Mahabalipuram temple is also considered to be an illustration of Mahabharata, when Arjuna (one of the five Pandavas) rigorously worshiped to achieve Lord Shiva’s weapon to destroy enemies. While according to another legend the temple also depicts the instance of Bhagiratha, who did penance to bring holy river Ganga down to earth from heaven. 

The Five Rathas : 

Five_Rathas_-_Mahabalipuram Five Rathas is a rock-cut temple built in late 7th century by the Pallavas. These Five Rathas are named after the Pandavas and other characters of Mahabharata. Draupadi Ratha, Dharmaraja Ratha and others   comprises the five rathas. a small hill sloping from south to north has been segmented into five divisions & converted into monolithic temples. These fine rock temples are located in a sandy compound. These five Rathas are the perfect examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. There are built in the shaper of pagodas and they look similar to that of the Buddhist shrines and monasteries. Panch Rathas is a monument complex at Mahabalipuram. The coastal city along the shores of Bay of Bengal was a major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom. It is currently one of the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage sites. The distinctive Dravidian architectural style of the Pallavas is prevalent in the design. The intricately carved sculptures belonging to various gods and demi-gods of the Hindu mythology that are placed in the niches in the chariot shaped temples are a marvel to behold. It is dedicated to the God of Rain, Lord Indra. The Bhima Rath is huge. It measures 42 ft in length, 24ft in width, and 25ft in height.  

Mahabalipuram Beach : 

01MamallapuramBeachView At a distance of 2 Kms from Mahabalipuram, the golden sandy Mamallapuram Beach is a picturesque place bounded by the shimmering sea and rolling hills. The beach is beautiful, white and clean, and can be enjoyed abundantly by tourists. Identified as the most pristine beaches of Tamil Nadu, the beach attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year. This 20 km long beach came into notice only after 20th century. The beach is popular among tourists for indulging in beach activities like sunbathing, diving, wind surfing and motor boating. Beside the beautiful beach are various monuments, rock-cut temples and Monolithic Rathas.

India Seashell Museum : 

india-seashell-museum One of the newest attractions of Mahabalipuram, Sea Shell Museum is one of its kinds in India and the largest one in Asia. On display are around 40,000 kinds of shells along with details about them. This is a repository of different kinds of shells  and educates the visitors about its details as well. There are car, ship, train, plane, etc. made from shell, which has been put on display. There are four galleries. The museum also has a shopping centre, called Maya bazaar, where visitors can get their hands on different interesting items that are made from sea products such as oysters and conch shells. The place has beautiful pearl jewelry. There is also a small aquarium in the complex, called Fish World, which houses colorful fishes. There is a seafood restaurant too, Fresh ‘n Live Sea Food. The museum complex is spread in an area one and a half acres of land.

Tiger’s Cave : 

Tiger_caves,_Mahabalipuram Tiger’s Cave is located near Salurankuppam village at a distance of 5 km to the north of Mahabalipuram. This is a magnificent mandapa which contains a shrine dedicated to goddess Durga which has big beautiful figures in front.  There are massive yet impressive figures placed in front of the caves. As with most carvings in India, the carvings and figures tell a story. The stories here have to do with an event that occured with the goddess Durga. The Tiger’s Caves are a fantastic picnic spot and serves as a beautiful destination for nature lovers. Visitors can even travel to the beach, which is in the  proximity of this cave.

Festivals at Mahabalipuram :

 Open air dance festival is an annual celebration of Mahabalipuram temple, which is celebrated for a week. It is internationally famous as ‘Mahabalipuram Dance Festival’. Classical dances, music, tribal dances and puppet shows also entertain the mass gathering. Pongal, the most important festival of the Tamils, is celebrated in mid-January every year. The festival is celebrated amidst gaiety and joy not only in Tamil Nadu but also in most parts of South India. The Sthalasayana Perumal temple festivals, Masimagam and Brahmothsavam, are held in the month of March.

How to get there :

By Air : Chennai is nearest airport which is 60 km from Mahabalipuram. Chennai is well connected to all major city.

By Rail : The nearest railway station to Mahabalipuram is Chengalpattu, which is 29 km from Mahabalipuram. Chennai is also nearest railway station. which is well connected to all major railway station. 

By Bus : Mahalabipuram is well connected by road with rest of Tamil Nadu. State and private buses ply at regular and frequent intervals from places like Chennai, Pondicherry, Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram, to name a few.

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