Fact Files : Mahabalipuram
Location : 58-Km From Chennai, Tamil Nadu Also Called: Mamallapuram
The City Of Bali Famous: Centre For Pallava Culture And Arts
Important Festivals Celebrated: Dance Festival In The Month Of December
Suggested Itinerary :
South India Vacation
Southern Temple Tour
The southern most state of India, Tamil Nadu has beautiful topography with panoramic views to revel in. Its ancient monuments, intricately carved historic temples with fantastic murals, and unique rituals attract domestic and foreign tourists alike. Mahabalipuram on the Coromandel Coast, along side the Bay of Bengal, has stone legacies that propel it to one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state. Situated 60 km from Chennai, it is believed that rock carvings and temples in this port town are the oldest surviving specimens on the eastern coast of India.
A well-established seaport from seventh to tenth century, Mahabalipuram became the capital of Pallavas after they shifted from Kanchipuram. The city was originally known as Mamallapuram or the Town of Great Wrestler to honor the achievements of King Narasimha Varman I and the title he was conferred with in the wrestling world. After the Gupta Dynasty declined, Pallavas ruled the land from 3rd to 9 th centuries AD. They were powerful, profound thinkers and great patrons of arts, crafts, literature, and religion.
The period between 650 to 750 AD is believed to be the Golden Age of Pallavas and saw emergence of several great poets, scholars, saints, and dramatists as well as acclaimed artists and artisans. Pallavas knew how to appreciate skill and talent of a person and new styles of art and architecture surfaced during their reign. You can see innovative and exuberant sculptures and unique paintings at Mahabalipuram that make ingenious use of available resources. The creative energy that the city has witnessed is enviable. An area of exploration for emerging art and architecture forms; Mahabalipuram became the ground for artists and artisans to display their best.
However, Pallavas did not make a show of the high quality and uniqueness of the creative arts that were developed during their reign. Perhaps, they thought that exposure of the richness of their capital to the outer world might court unwanted invaders and interference to their kingdom. Later, the town was flooded with seawater and remained lost and buried in sand until it was rediscovered in late 18th century during excavations. The rock-cut caves, bas-reliefs and temples carved from giant single blocks of rocks constitute the ‘open-air museum and art gallery’ of Mahabalipuram.
Besides the aesthetics and architecture, Mahabalipuram offers splendor of Nature and classical handmade crafts too. Its white sandy beaches that shimmer silver in moonlight look mesmerizing, when surrounded by a number of casuarinas trees. The grandeur of the city of Mahabalipuram is awe-inspiring and lends it a historical charm that is rarely seen anywhere else.
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