Your hotel in Chennai.
The primary attraction in the temple complex is the Shore Temple described by Percy Brown as “'a landmark by day and a beacon by night”. Designed to catch the first rays of the rising sun and to illuminate the waters after dark, the temple ended up with an unusual lay-out. As the main shrine faces the sea on the east, the gateway, the fore court and the assembly hall of the Shore Temple all lie behind the sanctum.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see these cave-temples which are outstanding examples of Dravidian art and architecture.
You will be picked up from your hotel in Chennai and travel in an air-conditioned vehicle to Mahabalipuram, which was the second capital of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. On this tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will be accompanied by a local English-speaking guide. You will see:
• The Shore Temple: Perched on a rocky outcrop, the main shrine faces the sea on the east. The temple is dedicated to two Hindu Gods: Shiva and Vishnu. Interconnected cisterns around the temple meant that the sea could be let in to transform the temple into a water shrine. But, in recent times, a stone wall as been added to protect the shrine from the rising seas and further erosion.
• The Rathas: The eight rathas are monolithic temples fashioned as chariots. Of the eight rathas, five have been named after the Pandava brothers, the heroes of the epic Mahabharata, and their wife, Draupadi. The largest is the Dharmaraja Ratha and the Draupadi Ratha is the smallest and the quaintest. Listen to your guide tell you more about the history and mythology associated with Mahabalipuram.
Every year, around January-February, the Mamallapuram dance festival is held here. It is a month-long festival and well-known exponents of various dance forms such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Odissi perform here.
After the tour, you will be taken back to your hotel where the tour ends.
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