UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Mahabalipuram

Established in: 630-728 AD
Year of Inscription: 1984

Reasons for Inscription: Criteria number (1), (2), (3) and (6). The Group of Monuments is an example of prehistoric architectural brilliance. It carries a unique display of primordial traditions and civilizations.

Category: Religious structure, Hindu

A monument complex popularly known as Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, is positioned on the Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal. Mahabalipuram is situated in close proximity to Chennai in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu. The architectural magnificence of the 7th and the 8th century monument makes Mahabalipuram a peerless illustration of ancient civilization and beliefs.

A Brief note about Mahabalipuram Monuments Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram was the capital region during the reign of Pallava Dynasty in the 7th century AD. The Pallavas rulers used to hold the ultimate command in the southern part of India, after the decline of Gupta Dynasty.

Pallava rulers were popular for their inclination towards Tamilian art and culture. The power and creativity was at its peak during the kingdom of Narasimha Varman-I and Narasimha Varman-II. The renowned Shore Temple and other temple complexes and rock carved caves were built during this period.

The tourist attractions incorporate descent of Ganges, structural temples like the Shore Temple and Olakkanesvara Temple, Mantapas or cave temples like Mahishasurmardini Cave Temple, Krishna Cave Temple, Panchpandava Cave Temple and Varah Cave Temple. The temples that are in the shape of a chariot are also known as Panch Rathas Temples. The list of Panch Rathas Temples in Mahabalipuram comprises Ganesha Ratha, Dharmaraja Ratha, Draupadi Ratha, Arjun Ratha, Nakula- Sehdeva Ratha and Bheema Ratha.

This place has a number of names, such as Mamallapuram, Mahamallapuram, Mallapuram and Mavalipuram. The sailors from Europe named Mahabalipuram as the Land of Seven Pagodas because of the seven pinnacles or stupas of its temples.

How to Reach

By Air: Chennai International Airport (58 kms) is the nearest airport from Mahabalipuram.

By Rail: Chengalpattu (29 km) is the nearest railway station.

By Road: There are regular buses to Mahabalipuram from Chennai, Puducherry and Kanchipuram.