The Shore Temples Town

Seven Pagodas Mahabalipuram

37 miles from Chennai in South India are the famous Mahabalipuram group of temples – a U.N. recognised heritage. These temples consist of 70 rock-cut monoliths depicting sculptures of Gods and animals. Mahabalipuram was the naval base and port of the Pallava dynasty in the 7th century. It is known as the city of the Seven Pagodas or Chariots.

In this picturesque setting along the sea are some of the most visually impressive temple carvings of South Indian temple architecture. Ceremonial chariots, elephants, lions and the popular Nandi bull the favourite mount of Lord Shiva.

The most impressive and largest bas relief carving is the panel depicting “Penance of Bhagiratha”. It is 80 feet long with a height of 20 feet portraying myriad characters, dominated by a group of elephants, one of them 17 feet length.

Much of the elegant sculptures have been eroded by the saline air around . Today the monuments are protected from the environmental hazards.

Aalkal Mandap

Close up of an elephant

Old Temple on shore
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