Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty

Tripoto
1st Jan 2016
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee
Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty by Madhumita Banerjee

New Year was round the corner. Time for planning to make the year end and the New Year a happening one had started a bit earlier! So, How to celebrate the New Year? Well, to me – nothing gives me more joy than travelling. Welcoming a New Year in a new land, soaked in new culture, experimenting new cuisines has a different charm all together!

We welcomed 2016 in a grand way with our trip to Mahabalipuram- Pondicherry! On 31st December 2015, we boarded Chennai Express from Secunderabad Station. For the first time in my life, I had a different experience with Indian Railways. Our train reached destination station- Chennai before time at 5:45am. We had made a prior booking with cab, which was scheduled to pick up from Chennai station at 6:30am. During the waiting period, we had our breakfast quickly in the Station itself to save time. Around 6:30am, our Cab Driver was there to pick us up. I loved the journey through Chennai to our first stop- Mahabalipuram.

The road to Mahabalipuram- East Coast Road ran almost parallel to the Sea Coast. On our way, we got the glimpse of the famous Marina Beach of Chennai. The sight of the sea, backwaters will keep you engrossed at the natural beauty all around. The journey from Chennai to Mahabalipuram has picturesque beauty. Mahabalipuram is situated just at 60 km away from Chennai on the sea shore of Bay of Bengal. Within 1.5 hours we reached Mahabalipuram. One needs to pay an entry fee to Mahabalipuram- which is protected by ASI. Mahabalipuram is famous for its architecture. Though ravaged by the sea, wind and time, the sculptural treasures of Mahabalipuram speak volumes about the magnificent heritage of ancient Dravidian art and temple architecture.

We started exploring Mahabalipuram from the Shore Temple. One has to buy a ticket before exploring Mahabalipuram. It’s a single ticket for visit to all ASI Protected Monuments. So, make sure to keep the ticket safely.

Our first stop in the New Year’ 2016 was Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram. The Shore Temple is situated right on the shore of the Bay of Bengal. The landscape around the Temple was eye catching. This Temple was built during 690-715 A.D. The Shore Temple, with its paved forecourts, is the lone survivor out of seven such Temples, the rest having fallen to the ravages of the sea. There are two rock cut shrines- one dedicated to Lord Shiva and the other to Lord Vishnu. The Temple was beautiful.

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 1/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 2/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 3/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 4/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 5/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| The Shore Temple ||

Having explored the Temple, we went to explore Mahabalipuram Beach right beside the Temple. The sea was bit rough at that hour due to high tide. Had Mahabalipuram been the only stop, we could spend some time on the beach. But, we couldn’t spend longer.

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 6/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 7/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| Mahabalipuram Beach and the Shore Temple ||

Our next stop was Arjuna’s Penance. It is a huge rock canvas (96 feet long and 43 feet high). The sculptures are so intricate that one may find it difficult to figure out its details. The canvas portrays Gods, human beings, birds, animals all fitting harmoniously into the theme of penance of Arjuna. There is another school of thought, which describes that the Arjuna’s Penance talks about descent of Ganga on earth. The cleft in the rock depicts Ganga descending on Earth. As a layman, I could hardly figure out so much significance to the place. However, preliminary research about the place came to our rescue.

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 8/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 9/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 10/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| Arjuna's Penance ||

Mahabalipuram has a series of wonderful monuments and architectures. Then, we visited Varaha Mandapa. It is said to be one of the best finished gems of Pallava art. It is a rock cut cave.  It portrays two incarnations of Lord Vishnu.  

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 11/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 12/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| Varaha Mandapa ||

Then, we visited Rayala Gopuram, another masterpiece of Pallava art. Thereafter, visited Ramanujam Mandapam- another rock cut cave temple of Mahabalipuram. 

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 13/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 14/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| Rayala Gopuram ||

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 15/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| Ramanujam Mandapam ||

Then, we walked down the stairs to the Light House. Here, the Light House is accessible to public at a token entry fee. The view from top of the Light House was breathtaking beautiful. You can view the entire Mahabalipuram from top. The cool breeze of the sea and the beautiful view around was really enchanting.

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 16/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| Way to Light House ||

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 17/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| Light House, Mahabalipuram ||

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 18/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 19/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 20/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| The Reflector, Light House ||

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 21/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 22/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| View from Light House ||

Thereafter, we visited Nakula Sahadeva Temple, right beside the Light House. Each Temples were unique in its architecture and spoke volumes about marvelous art during Pallava dynasty. Then, we visited Krishna’s butterball. It’s a giant natural rock boulder, standing on a slope, seemingly defying all laws of Physics. The awkward position of the rock has made it quite popular among tourists, where people pose for pictures. :P 

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 23/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 24/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| Nakula Sahadeva Temple ||

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 25/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| Krishna's Butterball ||

Last but not the least, we visited the Five Rathas. The Five Rathas are monolithic temples and are known as rathas as they resemble wooden chariots and it was an innovation of Pallava King. Though these temples are termed as Panchapandava Rathas- they have nothing to do with Mahabharata. These architectures bear silent testimony to the art and architectural skills of illustrious era of Pallava dynasty.

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 26/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 27/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

Photo of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 28/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 29/30 by Madhumita BanerjeePhoto of Mahabalipuram ~ Remnants of Pallava Dynasty 30/30 by Madhumita Banerjee

|| Five Rathas || 

One needs at least 3.5-4 hours to properly explore the place. Mahabalipuram has lot to offer. It’s a beautiful place on the shore of Bay of Bengal. The beautiful sandy beach, the fascinating historical retreat of Mahabalipuram is bound to captivate one’s spirit and hence proves to be an ideal getaway from Chennai. There are number of hotels and restaurants around the place. 

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