From Tigers to Tombs

and all things heritage…..a trip covering the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

Mahabalipuram – A Seaside Wonder

The bus ride to Mahabalipuram from Chennai covering a distance of 60 km, was anything but enjoyable. It was hot and humid punctuated by a series of traffic jams till we left Chennai. But that did not deter us one bit as we were looking forward to being dazzled by this seaside wonder.

Our first stop in Mahabalipuram was the Shore Temple. Built by the Pallava Kings in the 8th Century AD, as a dedication to Lord Shiva, it sits majestically overlooking the Bay of Bengal. We just couldn’t take our eyes off this intricate work on granite and its picturesque setting next to the beach.

We then headed out to explore the Five Rathas. It takes a bit of explanation on what these actually are. They can be described as Temples in the form of chariots dedicated to the 5 Pandavas and Draupadi. It is actually beyond comprehension how a civilisation that existed 1300 years ago could actually convert solid granite rocks into such fine pieces of art. One can just observe and be amazed!

Our next stop actually has a unique distinction. It is the Largest Open-air bas-relief in the world!  Known as Arjuna’s Penance, the figures carved on the rock can be interpreted in two different ways. One symbolises the descent of River Ganga onto the earth and the other shows the penance of the Pandava prince, Arjuna. There are a lot of interesting figures that further adds mystery to this interesting monument like the Praying cat, a headless scribe etc.

Mahabalipuram did surprise us. It was clean and had all the adequate facilities for tourists.The fact that this seaside wonder survived the Tsunami is testimony to its sturdy architecture that is coupled with exquisite designs. It will clearly continue to impress  numerous tourists in the years to come.

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19 thoughts on “Mahabalipuram – A Seaside Wonder

  1. Aparna on said:

    Mahabalious! Never got the significance of these monuments when I went there because there were a bunch of lecherous men video-taping our entire visit :P. Anyway, I like these short and crisp blog posts. Good luck for the next leg!

  2. Smriti on said:

    Love the 3rd picture – Shore temple… do you guys have more pictures elsewhere?

    • From Tigers to Tombs on said:

      Glad you enjoyed the pics smriti. Unfortunately, while traveling it becomes difficult to upload pics from the camera. Whenever we get a fairly long halt in one of the places, we should be able to upload some more. In the meanwhile, we do try sharing pics from the mobile phone on Facebook. We can try incorporating some of them in the blog too until the camera pics are downloaded.

  3. Hi Guys, I just read about your trip in the ‘The Hindu’. Kudos for making this journey. I hope you will enjoy, appreciate and reflect a lot. Awaiting the future blogposts. Good luck !

    • From Tigers to Tombs on said:

      Thanks siva. Do follow our Facebook page and our twitter feeds too.
      Facebook page goes under the same name.
      Twitter: frmtigers2tombs

  4. Christodoss on said:

    I just read about your Tour of 28 UNESCO HERITAGE sites in India in the Hindu today and got interested to know more about you and your travel experiences in India in particular, as I am a travel enthusiast and amateur photographer.

    Wish you both all the best and and hope to see a lot of pictures of places visited and your experiences and suggestions for improvement in facilities for travellers.
    God Bless.
    Christodoss.

    • From Tigers to Tombs on said:

      Thanks christodoss. We have covered between 3 and 4 sites so far and we can confidently say that you will have wonderful photographic opportunities.
      While we do upload mobile phone pics as frequently as possible, it may take us some time to upload pics from the camera. Do continue following our blog and our Facebook page.thanks!

  5. rcramasamy on said:

    Hey dudes,
    Its something great to take a detour from the daily routines and pursue one’s passion.
    GOOD JOB!
    Bon Voyage…

  6. This place looks damn good!! Good pics!!

  7. Anirudh MJ on said:

    Love the pictures. Well written.
    Concise and conveys everything!

  8. Aniketh and Sulesh,when are u planning ur next trip and to where?Would love to join along.I live in Pondicherry.

    • From Tigers to Tombs on said:

      Hi sunny. We are traveling continuously for 3 months. We did not visit pondichery, but we did come mahabalipuram and thanjavur in Tamil nadu. We are currently enroute to sunderbans national park. You can view our itinerary on our blog and then catch us on one of our legs.thanks

  9. Sulatha88 on said:

    Great pics and brilliant writing…both in perfect sync…

  10. Hey guys,

    Nice pic’s on Mahabalipuram. When I think of this place,my memmoirs go back to the school days when we had an excursion to this place. The story behind these monuments taught in schools fascinated me. History has always taught us to think right from past actions. So guys cherish these moments and if Archeology or History fascinates you pls let me know.

    Anup

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