A group of forty monuments make Mahabalipuram an UNESCO World Heritage Site which calls on scores of art lovers and tourists from across the globe. It is a beautiful town on the Bay of Bengal coast in the Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu State. This historic town is famous for its rock-cut architectures whose sculptural glory makes it one of the most favored destinations among tourists.
Attractions of Mahabalipuram are not only based on architectural beauty of temples but also revolve around the scenic charm of sun kissed beaches fringed with palm trees. Temples of Mahabalipuram regarded as the pioneer of Dravidian architecture style whose sculptured beauty enthralls tourists during their visit to this place. Some of the popular attractions of Mahabalipuram are:
This Ratha temple is popularly known as the Pancha Pandava Ratha or Five Ratha. It is an excellent example of the Dravidian style rock cut temples architecture which captivates tourist attention during their visit to this place. These five Rathas (Chariots) are carved out of single rock in the 7th century. The five rathas represents the legendary five Pandava brothers of the Hindu Holy Scripture Mahabharata. The names of the five chariots are Yudhister, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadev and Draupadi wife of Pandava.
Shore Temple :
The architectural brilliance of the shore temple makes it an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful architectural rich temple was built by the artisan Rajasimha during the reign of Narasimha Varman II in the 7th century. It is among the oldest temples in South India constructed in the Dravidian style. Most interesting facts regarding this temple is that the temple has a shrine to both Shiva and Vishnu. Out of three architectural buildings two are dedicated to Lord Shiva temples situated on east and the third one is a Vishnu temple situated on the west.
It is the worlds largest bas-relief which depicts the entire legendary story of Ganga descent. Along with this the stone structure also represents how Arjuna the Mahabharatha hero performed severe austerities to obtain Lord Shiva weapon to destroy his enemies. It is made up of two huge boulders of 31 meters long and 9 meters high. Entire bas-relief is highly adorned with several mythological stories, which are presented through various images of beasts, birds, Nymphs, Nagas and demi- gods.