The tiny seaside village of Mahabalipuram, is situated 58 Kms south of Chennai on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. Many are drawn solely by the miles of unspoiled beach. It was once a major port of the Pallavas (5th – 9th Century A.D). It boasts of some of India’s most sublime rock cut art comprising of open – air bass – reliefs structured temples, man made caves and chariots.
Though it is no longer a port, Mamallapuram has retained its fame in stone, thanks to the great contribution of Pallava artisans. It is among the most outstanding examples of Dravidian art and architecture and a jewel in the crown of Tamil Nadu. In a land that is liberally strewn with some of the best in temple art, Mamallapuram holds its own, and stands as a silent yet eloquent witness to the glory of its creators.Unfortunately most of the work was left incomplete, and time and nature have also eroded the remains of this once great port.
Yet, Mamallapuram’s wonders in rock leave visitors enthralled, conveying as they do, an impression of beauty and harmony. The monuments are floodlit at night and so it is possible to enjoy their beauty even after sunset. The Mamallapuram dance festival is conducted every year during Dec-Jan. It is a month long festival and dances take place during the weekends. Classical dances such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Mohini Attam, Odissi, Kathak etc., are performed by well-known exponents of the art.