Arjuna's Penance 1/undefined by Tripoto
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
history tours, photography
September - May
Families, Couples
2 out of 32 attractions in Mahabalipuram

Arjuna's Penance

This is the World's largest bas- relief and is a stone carved group opf monuments with more than 100 types of sculptures of gods, goddesses, birds, animals and other such figures. It is said that this is the place in which Arjuna from mahabharata practiced very hard penance in the prayer of Lord Shiva. This was to please the lord who could bless him with the divine bow with which he would later kill the kauravas. This is the reason this place is called as Arjuna's Penance. Also, once Bhagiratha Sage stood on one leg and prayed to the lord continuously so that he could change the course of the River Ganga and send it here. he was later blessed and he River Ganga started flowing here. This is why this place is also caled as the 'Descent of the Ganges'.
Tasmai Dave
Descent of the Ganges: These are two HUGE rocks with carvings depicting Arjun's Penance and the Descent of the Ganges. The intricate carvings have stood the test of time across almost 1600 years! The site is located right next to the road and can be spotted very easily. Best time to visit is in the morning when the sun is just rising. Yes, it is difficult to fit it in a single photo frame.
Panchami Bekal
Arjunas Penance: It is a monolith wonder 43 feet tall. One can see intricate art on the rock depicting the scenes of the real and the celestial world. These carvings are a treat to the history buffs :)
Kalyani Barman
The pride of Mahabalipuram, it is the world’s largest bas-relief measuring 27m*9m. This huge whaleback shaped rock has carvings which are said to represent creation itself.
Mahuya Paul
This is my personal favorite. The Descent of the Ganges or Arjuna's Penance is a giant open-air bas relief carved of two monolithic rock boulders. It features Arjuna, the heroic warrior of the Mahabharata who had qualms about the fratricidal battle he was due to fight. It also depicts the legend of the descent of the sacred river Ganges to earth from the heavens while being watched by scores of gods, goddesses, mythical figurines of Kinnara, Gandharva, Apsara, Gana, Nagas, and also wild and domestic animals, all admiringly looking up at the scene. The total number of carvings is probably about 146. The carvings of elephants on the open air bas-relief is almost life-size and is reported as the best animal carving in India. Ensure that you ask your guide about each and every carving depicted there.