"Glories of Hindu Art" Top 5 Page for this destination Mamallapuram by NedHopkins

Mamallapuram Travel Guide: 176 reviews and 681 photos

Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu

Also known as 'The Descent of the Ganges' and as 'Bhagiratha's Penance,' this 12x30 meter rock carving is said to be the largest bas relief in the world. It is worth several visits and hours of visual exploration.

Since the Muslim presence was never strong in South India, most Hindu temples and monuments in Tamil Naduhave survived in relatively good shape.

(Mamallapuram is also known as Mahabalipuram.)

Built -- like most of the monuments in Mamallapuram -- in the 7th century CE, the Shore Temple was one of seven that once honored the Hindu gods here. Over the centuries the other six were washed away.

The sea wall that the modern Indian government erected to protect the Shore Temple kept it from harm during the 2004 tsunami (which hit three days after this picture was taken).

By themselves the Panch Rathas ('five chariot temples') would justify UNESCO's designation of Mamallapuram as a 'world heritage site.'

Carved out of huge boulders, with the monks working to make the stone look like wood, the temples honor five brothers in the epic Mahabarata.

The elephant and lion (not pictured here) are the largest carved beasts in the country.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Temples and other monuments carved in and from stone
  • Cons:Hawkers
  • In a nutshell:Not to be missed
  • Last visit to Mamallapuram: Dec 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (5)

Comments (3)

  • mallyak's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2008 at 12:02 AM

    brilliant butter ball..similar to the rocks in hampi.

  • muddybok's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2006 at 6:57 PM

    Hahaha!! You only write about 5 rathas & 1 ball. ;-) Your butter ball shape is nicer than mine cuz of the angle i took it. NIce.

  • cadzand's Profile Photo
    May 4, 2005 at 1:24 PM

    I missed the working granite :(( We almost were there on the same time.

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