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Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram

The Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram is constructions of both religious and cultural eminence. Situated in the coastal town of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu in India this site is about 60 kilometers to the south of Chennai. It is been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It consists of nearly 40 in monuments along with a number of Hindu temples.

The famous Descent of the Ganges or Arjuna penance is also one of the leading attractions of the place. Amongst the plethora of monumental categories you can get the Mandapa viharas or the cave temple, the Ratha temples, the stone cut temples, the rock relief and a number of other archaeological remnants right from the time of 6th century or even earlier are worth a mention.

Quintessentially the group of monuments at Mahabalipuram is one of the leading attractions of South India. Thousands of visitors and tourists troll the location every year witness is Grand scale and panoramic art.

Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram Built by

The monuments in Mahabalipuram can be credited to the Pallava dynasty. The literature of the colonial era has referred to these monuments as the seven pagodas. They have also been referred to as the Mamallapuram Temple or the Mahabalipuram Temple. After 1960 the site has been entrusted to the supervision and authority of the Archaeological Survey of India for the ASI. However certain epigraphical and numismatic evidences have suggested that even before the temple constructions at Mahabalipuram the location did have a good amount of significance.

Historical records suggest that the seaport of Sopatma which has been mentioned in the documents of Plotemy was somewhere near this place. The mention of the seven pagodas has also been found in the writings of Marco Polo.

Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram Timing 

The best time to visit the group of monuments at Mahabalipuram is during the daylight hours. It is open from morning 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the evening. Due to the massive scale of the monuments at Mahabalipuram you will require a minimum couple of hours to visit the place, explorer’s details and enjoy the surroundings of the temple. The place is open all round the week and even public holiday.

Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram Information

The Mahabalipuram monuments are fine example of construction that has both cultural and religious hues. The temples can be related to the legends of Hindu religious Pantheon. The Constructions are done on a grand scale cutting into rock and boulder where monuments were constructed and carved out of giant rocks.

All the specimen of architecture found in the site for example the Chariot shaped temples or the rathas, the rock relief, the cave temples or the Mandapas, the excavation and the structural Temple reflect the plush and palatial architecture which was in vogue in the contemporary time. There are 10 rathas, two rock bas relief, ten Mandapas and three structural temples in the site.

Square and circles are the main shapes used in the monumental plan. Rectangles were created through stacking up squares. Influences of Vaishnavism, Shaivism and shaktism are to be found on the constructions of the site. These monuments host several Sanskrit instructions from the 7th and 8th century. They provide a deep insight into the medieval culture, history, religion and government of South India

Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram Location & How to Reach

Mahabalipuram is well connected to other parts of South India through routes of air, rail and Road. The Chennai International Airport happens to be the nearest airport from Mahabalipuram and is about 68 kilometers away.

The nearest railway station from Mahabalipuram is Chengalpattu and is about 29 kilometres away. Mahabalipuram is connected with Puducherry, Chennai and Kanchipuram through bus route. The highway network in South India happens to be much elaborate developed and safe. Hence you can always hire a private cab or taxi and can travel on road to reach the site.

The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram is one of the most renowned tourist attractions of South India. Hence it happens to be a rather famous place. Once in Mahabalipuram you can hire any local medium of conveyance and can reach the site easily.

Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram Entrance Fee:

Indian tourists need to pay Rs. 10 as the entry fee to the Group Of Monuments In Mahabalipuram.

Foreigners however much pay Rs. 340 as their entrance fee.

Children below the age of 15 years can visit the place for free.

If you wish to take photographs for make videos around the temple you need to pay an extra Rs. 25 for your camera.

The entry tickets are available in the temple premises itself till evening 5:30. You can also pre book the tickets online from different virtual platforms.

Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram & Important Structures

At the very opening of the discussion it has been mentioned that the group of monuments at Mahabalipuram contains different important structures like the rathas, the Mandapas, the structural temples and the rock reliefs. Let’s hear about them in details now.


As the name of the structure in clients the Ratha temple are carved out in the shape of chariot. The artists have used natural blocks of granite and diorite in sand where different legends have been carved out in stone. The Pandava rathas or the five Chariot depicted in Mahabharata has been very well depicted in this Ratha Temple. However it is not clear that the Pandav rathas are dedicated to the five brothers and their wife Draupadi. The temples are dedicated to deities like Vishnu, Shiva and Durga. These Rathas can be traced back to the 7th century. The five rathas are placed on a north-south Axis with the one on the south is known as the dharmaraja Ratha which is followed by Bheema Arjuna and Draupadi rathas. The last two share a common platform. There are also the Nakula and Sahadeva Ratha.

Cave Temple

They are also known as Mandapa full stop this is a Sanskrit word which indicates at pillared hall, a square shaped vestibule or a Pavilion. This Mandapa was place which was meant for people to gather on social occasion and ceremonies. If other sanctums and cells were added to the Mandapas the entire construction came to be known as a Vihara. Mandap were single rock cut cave temples which serve the purposes of Shrine. Mahabalipuram has a number of such Mandapa that can be traced back to the 7th and the 8th century. Vihara temples found in Mahabalipuram are however incomplete. They give a deep insight into how these cave monuments were made and excavated.

Structural temple

The structural temples are the free standing temples at Mahabalipuram. They have been built out of single blocks of stone. These temples have been actually cut and carved into the single block of rocks. The surviving examples of these structural temples offer us a look into the architectural trends and patterns prevalent during the early medieval Tamil Hindu temple culture. These temples were dedicated to Hindu Gods and Goddesses like Vishnu, Shiva and Durga, although Shiva iconography happens to be more prominent amongst them.

Rock relief

Finally the last item on the list happens to be the rock relief. These reliefs are cut out on boulders and rock. They include popular specimen like the Descent of the Ganges, the wall of the Krishna Mandapa, and other monuments like the Butterball Rock the Butter Well.

Best time to visit Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram

The best time to visit Mahabalipuram is during the autumn winter and spring months of October to Marc. This is the time of the year when the weather and the climatic condition is the most favorable to explore the place in its minutest detail. It has been mentioned earlier in the discussion that you need to be out in the open to visit the various monuments in Mahabalipuram. The months from October to March are the most comfortable outdoors

History of Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram attained prominence during the reign of the Pallava king Simhavishnu. This was during the 6th century. Simhavishnu’s son Mahendraverman and his son Narasimhavarman I have also been attributed with the monuments built in Mahabalipuram. After a brief pause the process of construction was once again renewed with the reign of Rajasimha or Narasimhavarman II. Historical evidence concludes that the temples date back to the 7th century or could be a little earlier as well. Mention of the region has also been found in other European scholars and writers. Historians are of the opinion that European would it come down to this part of Asia to do trade did find the place rather significant due to its close proximity to the sea shore.

Attractions nearby Group Of Monuments At Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram as a location offers much more than the group of monuments as tourist attraction. Once you are done with the monuments in Mahabalipuram cover the following tourist location to get a complete seal of the place its culture and its heritage:

  • The Mahabalipuram Beach
  • The Crocodile Bank
  • Covelong Beach
  • Mammalapuram Lighthouse
  • Alamparai Fort

To complete all the places of tourist attraction, you must definitely plan well ahead of time. This is going to be an elaborate itinerary and hence must be well laid out.

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