The temple city of Mahabalipuram (also Mamallapuram) is situated just 60 km off Chennai on the Bay of Bengal coast in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The city is well connected through a network of roads from Chennai and other important cities of South India.
The history of Mahabalipuram is an intriguing one. Although its ancient history remains unclear, numismatics, temples and other sources of historical evidence suggest that it was a place of significance even before the temples were built. Some historical facts about Mahabalipuram are mentioned below:
- Mahabalipuram is a historic city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- It became a prominent center of art and literature between 3rd and 7th century CE.
- Ancient mariners referred to Mahabalipuram as the “land of the Seven Pagodas”.
- Several coins excavated from here reveal the existence of trade with Romans in ancient times.
Fairs & Festivals
The most important festival held in Mahabalipuram is the Mahabalipuram Dance Festival. This festival is held during December to January every year and attracts artists from all over the country. The festival is organized by the Department of Tourism, Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Various kinds of classical dances are performed at the festival like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi and Kathakali against the backdrop of Pallava rock sculptures.
The other festivals which are held in Mahabalipuram are Sthalasayana Perumal temple festivals, Brahmothsavam and Masimagam.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Mahabalipuram is during the winters, from the months of November to February. During this time, days are pleasant while the nights are cool. The conditions are just perfect for sightseeing and exploration.
How to Reach
BY AIR -The nearest airport from Mahabalipuram is Chennai (Madras), located around 60 km away. One can get flights for almost all major destinations in India and abroad.
BY RAIL -The nearest railway station, Chengalpattu, is situated around 29 km away from Mahabalipuram. Trains for Chennai and several other major cities in South India are available from here.
BY ROAD -Mamallapuram is connected by road to Chennai (57km), Tirukkalikundram (15.2km), Kanchipuram (69 km), and Pondicherry (95.6km).
Mahabalipuram is home to several tourist attractions that make for great exploration and sightseeing. There are several temples which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites besides other attractions which never stop amazing the visitors.
Here are the most famous tourist attractions in Mahabalipuram:
- Arjuna’s Penance
- Thirukadalmallai or Sthalasayana Perumal Temple
- Shore Temple
- Crocodile Farm
- Krishna’s Butterball
- Cave Temples
- Mahabalipuram (Mammallapuram) Dance Festival
- India Seashell Museum
Places Around Mahabalipuram
There are several tourist attractions around Mahabalipuram that can be visited by tourists. Some of the popular places that lie in close proximity to Mahabalipuram are:
- Cholamadal Artist’s Village (around 35km away)
- Chengalpattu (around 30km away)
- Mudaliarkuppam (around 38.2km away)
- Nithyakalyanaperumal Temple (around 16.7km away)
- Sadras (around 52km away)
- Thirukalukundram (around 15.2km away)