The Story of Ancient Sculptures in Mahabalipuram – Top Places to Visit in Mahabalipuram!

The ancient sculptures in Mahabalipuram attract thousands of tourists, historians and artists to this place every year. When you enter this ancient historic town of Tamil Nadu, you will get to see a couple of studios on either side of the road involved in making beautiful rock-cut sculptures. It’s a real pleasure to see that many local artists of this region still follow the ancient practice of creating architectures out of rocks.

The reasons to visit Mahabalipuram will gradually become clear as you go inside the town for Mahabalipuram sightseeing. At earlier times, this temple town was known as Mamallapuram and served as an important destination for the rulers of Pallava Dynasty. The Pallavas had great interests in rock-cut architectures and stone temples. It was during their reign, many temples and monuments were carved out of rocks in Mahabalipuram. Some of them are even more than 1500 years old!

The Story of the Ancient Sculptures in Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is home to some of the finest and oldest stone temples in the world. The rock-cut architectures on these temples make them even more appealing.

There are many top places to visit in Mahabalipuram. All of them are ancient and are great examples of Indian artworks.

Top Places to Visit in Mahabalipuram

In this post, we have listed down some of the major attractions in Mahabalipuram that you should never miss during your visit to this historical place.

Pancha Rathas (Five Rathas)

The Pancha Rathas or the Five Rathas is a group of ancient monuments being carved out from a single large pink granite. The structures are believed to be more than 1400 years old. If popular beliefs are to be believed, then, the Pancha Rathas (or Five Rathas) of Mahabalipuram represents the chariots of the Pandava brothers and Draupadi. However, there are many historians who claim otherwise. According to their views, these monuments have no connection with the tales of Mahabharat. Nevertheless, they proudly stand as a great example of the distinctive Dravidian style of architecture. The intricately carved sculptures of different Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu mythology forms an important part of these designs.

The architectures on the Pancha Rathas is undoubtedly one of the best ancient sculptures in Mahabalipuram. And, if you are planning a tour to Mahabalipuram, then you should always include this place.

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Photograph Courtesy: Abhishek Roy

Descent of the Ganges and Arjuna’s Penance Monument

This is a giant 43-feet tall open air rock relief carved on 2 separate monolithic rocks. The inscriptions and the fine rock-cut sculpture details depict the story of the descent of the sacred Ganges from heaven to earth being led by Bhagiratha and Arjuna’s Penance.

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Photograph Courtesy: Abhishek Roy

The Cave Temples of Mahabalipuram

The Cave Temples of Mahabalipuram are located on a hillock of this ancient temple town. These rock-cut caves are approximately 1400 years -15 years old and are an important destination for the tourism of Mahabalipuram. Of the eleven caves in this region, the  Varaha Cave Temple, the Krishna Cave Temple, the Panchapandava Cave Temple, and the Mahishasuramardini Cave are the most notable ones.

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Photograph Courtesy: Abhishek Roy

Sthalasayana Perumal Temple

The Sthalasayana Perumal Temple is an ancient temple of Mahabalipuram dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is a great example of Dravidian architecture. The beautiful artworks on the walls of this temple proudly represent the intricate works of ancient sculptures in Mahabalipuram.

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Photograph Courtesy: Abhishek Roy

Shore Temple

Built with large blocks of granite about 1300 years back, the Shore Temple is an important tourist destination in Mahabalipuram. Shore temple is a complex of three temples – one large and two small, situated on the shores of the Coast of the Bay of Bengal. This temple, also built during the reign of the Pallava Dynasty, is the second oldest rock-cut stone temple of South India.

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