Mahabalipuram has been gaining slow but steady popularity as a destination among domestic & international tourists. Out of 28 Cultural World Heritage Sites in India, Mahabalipuram is one of them. That’s just one of the reasons why Mahabalipuram should be on your bucket list.
There are many interesting sites in Mahabalipuram which will keep you glued to this beautiful town for at least 2 days. With its proximity to Chennai (~55 km), Mahabalipuram can be visited from all parts of India easily since Chennai is well-connected by air, road & rail.
Things to see in Mahabalipuram
#1 Shore Temple
Shore Temple of Mahabalipuram is the most famous sight in the town. It is also the UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are 7 temples but only 1 is visible & on the shore. The Shore Temple is in a good condition. The history behind the temple’s construction is interesting. Take help of a guide when you visit this site & understand the history. It is way more fun like that.
Other 6 temples are submerged & it is difficult to spot them. You might find boat rides offering you the glimpses of one of the submerged temples but it is very rare to actually spot it. Calm sea, clear water & perfect sunlight is required to see the submerged temple which makes it next to impossible.
#2 Arjun’s Penance
A giant wall of bas-relief carvings has 2 different stories & historians are still wondering over the most correct story that depicts all the carvings. It is called Arjun’s Penance or Descent of the Ganga.
Historians are confused because they are speculating the central figure of the carvings. Some say it is Arjun & some say it is Bhagirath. Whatever the story may be, the structure is astounding on many levels. These carvings would have taken years to finish it & after about 1400 years, it is still standing tall. When you visit Arjun’s Penance, listen to both stories & decide which one you like the most. 😉
#3 Five Rathas
Literal translation – Five Chariots.
You must have understood the reference, right? It is about 5 Pandvas. In the premise, there are 5 huge chariots which are, again, about 1400 years old. Apart from Chariots, there are many carved stone animals which are huge!
The most fascinating thing about Five Rathas is that the entire premise was carved from a single rock (Top to bottom). Thinking about it in the present time, it would take quite a number of extraordinary minds & works to achieve this feat with primitive tools.
#4 Krishna’s Butterball
If you have seen any mainstream Tamil film, you know it defies all laws of Physics. When you visit Krishna’s butterball, you too will wonder whether Physics is real.
This gigantic rock is on the edge of a slope with very little contact between the rock’s surface & the slope. Many kings tried to push/pull with Elephants, they failed. This rock survived even earthquakes, strong winds & extreme weather conditions.
You will have the opportunity to take picture as if you are holding the rock (Best to act like Baahubali). A piece of advice: Please do not write anything on the rock. You are not going to be a part of history like that, you are just spoiling it.
#5 Old & New Lighthouse
There are 2 lighthouses in Mahabalipuram. The old one is still in a good condition & it is possible to go on top of both of them.
Both lighthouses offer a splendid panoramic view of Mahabalipuram, the ocean & the surrounding. Don’t miss an opportunity to take a picture here. The steps are steep but totally worth the hard work.
#6 Beaches of Mahabalipuram
Ah! The beach. Mahabalipuram has one of the most beautiful beaches in India. White sand, clear water & serene surroundings make it all the more charming. There are various activities that you can take up around the beach like boat rides, water sports, horse riding etc.
Whenever you visit Mahabalipuram, keep at least 2 days to explore it at ease.
The best resort in the town is Chariot Beach Resort. Read our review here.
You can book a stay at Chariot Beach Resort on their website & use our discount code Param500 to get Rs. 500/- off on the total value!