Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

Tamil Nadu State, Chingleput District
N12 37 0.012 E80 11 30.012
Date of Inscription: 1984
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(vi)
Ref: 249
News Link/Travelogues: INDIA

This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous ‘Descent of the Ganges’, and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva.

Suggested base(s):

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3 replies »

  1. The Five Rathas are some of the most intriguing structures you’ll ever see. Mostly because it’s unimaginable that each of the rathas were carved whole from monoliths of granite – which is pretty crazy considering these structures date back to the late 7th century.


  2. Shopping is a must, especially for stoneware. And food is always a highlight, especially the different fish curries. We’ve also attended dance festivals here and have walked the length and breadth of the shore, soaking in the wonderful climate.


  3. The best time for a visit would absolutely be morning when the sun rises and the front of the temple glows in the golden light. You can easily spend a few hours at the temple, especially if you love old temples as much as I do. Otherwise, you will be able to see and admire most of it within an hour. I would suggest going to try backside of the temple (there is lane on the right of the entrance) for some nice chai/ breakfast as well as a stroll on the beach. The beach isn’t exceptionally clean, but the morning breeze is good.


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