Mahabalipuram is a coastal town in North Tamil Nadu known for its stone sculptures carved during the Pallava era. It is a favorite heritage destination for international travelers and a popular weekend getaway spot for Chennai residents.
We take a walk around the temple town of Mahabalipuram to listen to stories that are often ignored…
Exploring the very popular destinations seen in the north of the country on India tours, it’s time to get to know the south.
The name ‘Mahabalipuram’ on a backflip brings back the memories of school picnics that were spent meanininglessly amongst endless sculptures and stone carvings on hot and grimy days.
CHENNAI: In the absence of regulation by government and proper training of local residents who act as guides at Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO world heritage site which generates a huge revenue for Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), tourists are affected.
There is also no system in place to monitor whether these locals who have turned as guides are giving the right information about the monuments. Also, the charges they collect depend on the visitors.“It has been four years since the government provided training to local residents who are acting as guides. Since there are apprehensions as these people will ask for a job if we train, it was stopped for the time being. Again, the State government has to spend its money for training,” said a senior official from Tamil Nadu Tourism Department.
“Also we can’t monitor these locals on whether they are giving the correct information as there is no mechanism in place,” the official added.
Read more from source: Lack of regulation, training to locals as guides affects tourists in Mahabalipuram
History never really says goodbye. It only says ‘See you later’.
The Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist Eduardo Galeano once said “History never really says goodbye. It only says ‘See you later’.”
Being one of the oldest habitable societies in the world, India is a land soaked in history. From ancient kingdoms to the bittersweet British rule, the country has seen it all—which now results in a beautiful confluence of influences in architecture, culture and lifestyles.
The southern states of the country, in particular are a treat for those who love exploring remains of the past and understanding their lineages. If you happen to be someone who’s all set to take a memorable trip down memory lane, here’s an epic road trip you can take through South India and explore the best of India in the best possible way.
The 1800-km road trip kicks off from the City of Nizams, Hyderabad from where you drive down to Hampi, the go-to destination of every history aficionado.
Whether you’re an adventure buff, a beach bum or a mountain child, we’ve made a list – by no means exhaustive – of 10 quick getaways in the south.
What better to do on a long weekend than head out somewhere?
And even though 2018 has fewer long weekends than 2017, there still are a fair few – as many as 14, in fact.
This year, Republic Day (January 26) falls on a Friday, which makes it a three-day weekend. Similarly, Mahavir Jayanti (March 29) and Good Friday (March 30) fall on Thursday and Friday respectively, making that weekend perfect for a short trip out of town.
In fact, if you take leave on one day (Thursday, August 23), you can get five entire days off in August – Eid-ul-Adha falls on a Wednesday and Onam falls on the Friday after.
Check out a list of more long weekends in 2018 here.
The temples of Tamil Nadu are a classic example of art form evolved over thousands of years and thus they very much glorify the ancient culture of Tamil Nadu and as well as of India.
Tamil Nadu is known as the temple city of India and the state is considered as the torchbearers of the magnificent heritage of that region. The Hindu Tamil temples here are a classic example of art form evolved over thousands of years and thus very much glorifies the ancient culture of Tamil Nadu and of India as well. Tamil Nadu has nearly 33,000 ancient temples scattered on its land and some of them are known to be the biggest temples of the Hindu community. The Hindu Tamil temples located here dates back to 800 to 1400 years and still stands to be rock solid.
The Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram is one of the oldest structural temples of South India and was a pioneer of this style of architecture which eventually replaced the other forms prevalent then. Today the Shore Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Mahabalipuram group of temples, and visited by thousands of travellers every year.
But what exactly is a structural temple?
Well, to understand this better, we need to do a quick overview of evolution of the temple architecture styles over the ages.
The oldest such temples were the cave temples where simple temples were built by excavating the rock and were more or less like the Buddhist cave temples common during that era. An evolution of this style was a rock cut temple in a cave, but chiseled into a free standing structure.
It was the first weekend of my internship at Chennai. Out of all the weekend getaways from Chennai, I decided to start with the temple city of Mahabalipuram ( aka Mamallapuram among locals ).
Mahabalipuram is a town in the Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, about 58 km south of Chennai. It is a historic town, famous for its group of monuments dating back to the 7th century. These monuments have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I boarded the bus to Mahabalipuram from Koyambedu bus stand in Chennai at 10:30 am. The journey took a total of 90 minutes with splendid views of the Bay of Bengal along the East Coast Road. This road is popular among travelers looking for a road trip as well. After getting down at the bus stand, I made way for Arjuna’s penance.
A town in Tamil Nadu with a population of about 20,000 people has become environmentally sustainable and litter-free. Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO declared heritage site, just 55 km south of Chennai, has about 5,000 households.
Here almost 85 per cent of the waste is segregated at the source and diverted from reaching the landfills.
Hand in Hand (HiH), a Tamil Nadu-based NGO, convinced residents of this town the benefits of waste segregation. In India, about 150,000 tonnes of waste is generated every day. Of the total amount of municipal waste collected, an average of 94% makes its way to landfills, and only 5% is composted. The solid waste management wing of HiH aims to facilitate local bodies to manage India’s burgeoning garbage menace.
Mamallapuram, 50km south of Chennai, was the major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom based at Kanchipuram. The town is all about ancient archaeological wonders, salty air and coastal beauty.
A wander round the town’s magnificent, World Heritage–listed temples and carvings inflames the imagination, especially at sunset.
Standing like a magnificent fist of rock-cut elegance overlooking the sea, surrounded by gardens and ruined courts, the two-towered Shore Temple symbolises the heights of Pallava architecture and the maritime ambitions of the Pallava kings. Its small size belies its excellent proportion and the supreme quality of the carvings, many now eroded into vaguely Impressionist embellishments. Built under Narasimhavarman II in the 8th century, it’s the earliest significant free-standing stone temple in Tamil Nadu.
The two towers rise above shrines to Shiva and their original linga captured the sunrise and sunset.
You may have heard of Chennai recently as the trendy new Indian vacation destination, but it’s anything but new. Seasoned adventurers have long celebrated the seaside capital of Tamil Nadu as the “soul” of South India, with its incredibly vibrant people, unforgettable cuisine, and its rich tradition of arts and culture. Today, the city formerly known as Madras is an explorer’s paradise, showcasing a rich diversity in culture and history that is reflected in every facet of life. Don’t expect 24 hours to be nearly enough time to fully explore the soul of South India, but a quick visit is better than nothing, and will certainly leave you intrigued for more.
Head to Mylapore for Kapaleeshwarar Temple and the City’s Best Silk Sarees
With only 24 hours, a great place to start your adventure is Mylapore.
Mahabalipuram, as the name sounds there is magnificence within. Art and culture in here takes us several hundred years back, why not! this being one among UNESCO’s world heritage centre. Mahabalipuram once called as Mammallapuram was built in the 7th century A.D. by Pallavas.
A quick snap of the shore temple:
– 60 kms from Chennai, TamilNadu
– 99 kms from Pondicherry
Whats famous here
– Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots) – five monolithic pyramidal structures named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishtra, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi. Each of these is carved from one single large piece of stone.
– Thirukadalmallai, the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
– Descent of the Ganges or Bagiratha’s Penance – a giant open-air rock relief
– 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
– The Mahabalipuram Beach
Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is an ancient historic town famous for its stone carvings and cave temples. It was a bustling sea port – ancient Indian traders who went to countries of south-east Asia sailed from the sea port of Mahablipuram.
The structures here, mostly carved straight out of granite, are among the oldest existing examples of Dravidian (South Indian) architecture. Mahabalipuram was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.
The main objective of the project in Mahabalipuram is to spark interest among the local community by involving children and international volunteers in activities that promote sensitivity and respect towards the World Heritage site. The workcamp in Mahabalipuram will focus on the protection of the cultural heritage and the sites of historical importance and on creating awareness among the locals, school children, tour-guides and tourists.