Kanchipuram Places of Interest

Arjuna's Penance :


The world's largest base-relief measuring 27m x 9m is the pride of Mamallapuram. This huge whaleback shaped rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts and birds and infact, can be said to represent creation itself.

Five Rathas :

These are five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They are also known as the Pancha Pandava Rathas. Four of the Rathas are believed to have been scooped out of a single rock formation. They are richly carved with art motifs and wall panels depicting many Hindu divinities and royal portraits.

Cave Temples :

The rock-cut cave tradition, represented by more than thirteen caves, was first initiated here by Mahendravarma-I. They are known for their simplicity in plan and decoration. Notable on among the cave temples are Konerimandapa, Mahisa-suramardhini cave, Varaha-mandapa, Adi Varahamandapa, Tirumurthi cave and Krishnamandapa.

Mahisasuramardhini Cave :

The Mahisasuramardhini cave, depicting the Goddess fighting a demon on one side, and Lord Vishnu's cosmic sleep on the other, is a particularly remarkable scooped cave, sure to keep one spell-bound.

College of Sculpture :

Here training is given in various branches of temple art and architecture, according to the sirpa sastra. The college also has a display hall, which exhibits beautiful traditional sculptures

Mamallapuram :ShoreTemple

Situated on the shore of the Bay of Bengal is an ancient sea-side town.The Pallava art at this place emphasises robust earthly beauty, imbibed with life.The Pallavas have created many marvellous monuments sculptural panels, caves, monolithic rathas and sculptural temples. Mythological episodes, epic battles,demons, gods, animal, are all vividly depicted on the wall. Sculptures are breathtakingly real and artistic. This fantasy was created and architected by the great chirpi Devadapperunthachan. These monumental splendours and the sunny beach attract tourists from all over the world.

Krishna Mandapam :

In the Krishna Mandapam, there is a sculpture on the rock face of one wall - Lord Krishna as the protector of all living beings, presenting man, bird and beast. Krishna Mandapam epitomises real bliss and presents activities that have changed little with time.

 Krishna's butter ball :

 The huge boulder near the Ganesha Ratha is popularly known as Krishna's butterball. It rests precariously on a narrow rock base. Legend has it that several Pallava Kings attempted to move it, but all the kings and their elephants could not shift the boulder even by an inch.

Mudaliarkuppam - Boating - T.T.D.C :

This Boat House will Ply Row boats, Pedal boats and Motor boats. A Snack bar will also be provided shortly. It is felt that this boat house will
attract the tourists travelling on ‘the East Coast Road’ in large numbers and provide good quality entertainment. 92 Kms.from Chennai and 36 Kms down Mamallapuram on the East Coast Road. Timing : 10a.m. to 6p.m. Contact : T.T.DC., Chennai-5 Ph: 25368358. Cell: 98402 90990.

Open air Museum :

This newly setup modern open-air museum of sculpture reflects the cultural heritage of the Tamils from the Pre-Sangam days. The objects on display, shaped mostly from granite by 200 sculptors, include chains of stone, ornamental wheels and a host of other items. The themes here are many,including those relating to historical and cultural events of the past, placing the contribution of the Tamils in proper perspective. Situated very close to the shore temple, one can have a glimpse of the past as well as the progress being made in the present in the field of art in Tamil Nadu here.

The Shore Temple :

This is one of the oldest temples in South India standing on the edge of the sea, enclosed by a row of bulls carved out of rock. It is said to have been built by king Rajasimha in the later half of the 7th century A.D. It is a good example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in the Dravidian style. It has two shrines, one dedicated to Vishnu and another to Shiva. The monuments are floodlit at night and so it is possible to enjoy their beauty after sunset too.

Tiger Cave :

It is 4 Kms north of the main monument complex. It was built as an open-air theatre, where cultural programmes were held during the Pallava period. Though it is very near the sea,the place is serene and calm.

Varaha Cave :

This is a small rock-cut mandapam featuring four panels of fine looking doorkeepers and four interesting bas-reliefs.

Sculptures of Chola Period at Madambakkam :


Stone carving Local sculptures in the main street leading to the sea (after the Tina Shell View Lodge) teach stone carving. You will learn how to sculpt a simple locket, and the longer you'll stay, the more complicated things you'll be able to do. For a simple locket at least 5 hours are needed. Here you can learn/work as long as you like everyday (the result is yours of course).


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