On a Fine Monday morning as I was on my way from Pondicherry to the Chennai Airport, I sat in the backseat wondering how I could make productive use of 6 hours that I had in hand before I boarded, I crossed a couple of options such as an unusual act of reaching the airport before time or exploring a city I had visited in the past-Chennai, as we took a stop mid-way a blessed soul recommended us to spend a few hours at MAHABALIPURAM, we were thrilled at the chance of exploring a new destination!
MAHABALIPURAM IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE WHERE ONE WOULD WITNESS NUMEROUS MONOLITHIC INDIAN ARCHITECTURAL MARVELS, IT’S LIKE AN ANCIENT CITY EXISTING IN THE MIDST OF A MODERN DAY TOWN, THE BEAUTY OF THIS PLACE LIES IN THE FACT THAT ONE SEES 7 STAR 21ST CENTURY HOTELS CO-EXISTING WITH MAJESTIC STRUCTURES OF KINGDOMS THAT ONCE EXISTED IN 700 A.D.
1. SHORE TEMPLE MAHABALIPURAM
The whole place is set overlooking the shore of the Bay Of Bengal, We were Refreshed by the very sight of the Beach as we strolled towards this temple ,that was built in 700-728 AD with blocks of Granite at the time of Pallava Dynasty. This has been declared as UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE as one of the group monuments at mahabalipuram. The sun shone on our Faces whilst the cool breeze from the sea brought us great respite on a hot summer afternoon. The temple was massive and people climbed huge rocks to get the right snap at this marvelous selfie spot.
2. PANCH RATHAS
As we sat in anticipation of what great monolithic Indian architecture we will be witnessing next, we were highly impressed by the next tourist spot- PANCHA RATHA’S or 5 chariots. Each of these 5 chariots are carved out of a single long stone of granite. This place is a blessing for photographers, it has 5 chariots each named after a pandava and draupadi of the MAHABHARATA. In order of size, they include the Dharmaraja ratha,Bhima Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Nakula Sahadeva Ratha, and Draupadi Ratha.
3. STHALASAYANAPERUMAL TEMPLE
Whether you are a worshipper of Vishnu or you have a different favorite Deity you are bound to appreciate the uniqueness of this temple. Located very close to the descent of ganges and the butter ball, we were lucky to have been present here during Aarti, as I mentioned before this temple is Unique because the sculpture of Vishnu in resting posture doesn’t have NAAG Dev (snake deity) to support his head, it’s a beautiful stone idol covered with gold and other ornaments and so is the idol of his wife Lakshmi. IT’S A MUST VISIT IN MAHABALIPURAM !!
4. KRISHNA’S BUTTER BALL
We heard from our driver that this butter ball is a legend in itself, as the legend goes it has been in 1 place for 1200 years , despite being based on a slope ( weighing 250 tons, and having dimensions of 6m (ht), 5m(wide) and a base of 1.2 m that too on a slope! ) It is said that the then governor ARTHUR HAVELOCK attempted to move the boulder using 7 elephants but failed, the same ensued when KING NARASIMHAVARMAN made a similar attempt. It’s a very popular tourist spot for people living in an outside of mahabalipuram and we loved it!!
5. DESCENT OF GANGES MAHABALIPURAM
On our way to Krishna’s Butter Ball we stopped to check out a masterpiece made by sculptors out of ‘2 monolithic boulders with a cleft’, water may have flown through this cleft at some point in the past, it is a marvelous structure with great details depicting the story of the descent of river GANGA to earth from heaven, the waters of Ganges are said to possess special powers. It is also a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SIGHT.
6. BONUS: MAHABALIPURAM BEACH
As a lover of the Beach, I enjoyed the tranquility of this beach, it was not very crowded when I reached here, the water was as blue as I wanted it to be, I took a stroll along the beach enjoying the cool breeze and the water playing ,catch and run ,with my feet. It was Overwhelming.
This is how we concluded our visit to mahabalipuram it was a unique experience indeed!!
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