Thirukadalmallai, Varaha Cave Temple, The Shore Temple,
Krishna's Butterball and Mahishamardini Cave are few popular
attractions in Mahabalipuram that are visited by a large number
of tourists every year. During the Pallavas rule, new forms of
architecture flourished and some great architectural
establishments came into existence. Massive rock cut caves and
several temples can be seen over here.
Shore Temples are the oldest structure in the whole region.
These temples were built around 700 AD and has been here for
more than 1400 years. Krishna's Butterball is a huge natural
rock that lies on a hill side and is counted among major
The monuments are mostly rock-cut and monolithic, and comprise
the early stages of Dravidian architecture in which Buddhist
elements of design are highly visible. They are constituted by
cave temples, sculpted reliefs, monolithic rathas (chariots),
and structural temples. The pillars are of the Dravidian order.
The sculptures are superb examples of Pallava art. They are
located in the side of the cliffs near India's Bay of Bengal.The
carving at Mahabalipuram must have required hundreds of highly
Some important structures include:
The Shore Temple
It is a structural temple along the Bay
of Bengal with the entrance from the western side away from the
sea. Recent excavations have revealed new structures here.
Varaha Cave Temple
It is a small rock-cut temple dating
back to the 7th century. Varaha Cave has four impressive
carvings of Gakalakshmi, Vishnu, Durga and Trivikama.
Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots)
It is a five monolithic
pyramidal structures named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima,
Yudhishtra, Nakulaand Sahadeva) and Draupadi. A remarkable
aspect of the rathas is that, in spite of their sizes they are
not assembled – each of these is carved from one single large
piece of stone.
East Raja Street has hundreds of
sculptures in stone, wood etc.It is well worth a visit.
It is the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
It was also built by Pallava King in order to preserve the
sculptures from the ocean. It is told that after building this
temple, the remaining architecture was preserved and was not
corroded by sea.
Descent of the Ganges or Arjuna's Penance
It is a giant
open-air bas relief.
The central carving is of Shiva and
Parvati and Murugan.
Light House was built in 1894.