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Auroville tours mahabalipuram sightseeing


Arjuna's Penance is a massive open-air bas-relief monolith, which dates back to the 7th century. It is situated in the town of Mahabalipuram, at a distance of 58 km from Chennai, and 60km from pondicherry the capital city of Tamil Nadu. Standing tall at a height of 43 feet, the Mamallapuram monolith was carved on the face of two huge adjoining boulders, somewhere around the mid-7th century. The length of Arjuna's Penance is around 96 feet and the monolith is also known by the name of 'The Descent of Ganga'. Arjuna's Penance is known by two names, as experts disagree on the stories depicted by it. As per one view, the massive rock sculpture has been named after one of the heroes of the great Indian Epic, MahabharataRead

The liveliness and naturalism of the sculpted figures stand as proofs of the outstanding skill of their sculptors. Arjunas Penance showcases more than 100 figures of gods and flying celestial creatures, birds and animals, including giant elephants, along with human beings and saints. A natural cleft between the two rocks separates the monolith into two separate halves. It is this cleft that is believed to represent the descent of the Ganges to earth.

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Called as mandapas or rock-cut caves the cave temples in Mahabalipuram are sanctuaries or temples covered with bas-reliefs. Traces of such architecture are known to have been used during the Buddhist period. Much similar cave architecture was excavated on rock faces. There are eleven mandapas in Mahabalipuram out of which the Varaha Cave Temple, Krishna Cave Temple, Panchapandava Cave Temple are noted ones. An impressive sculpture panels on the walls of the Mahsisuramardhini Cave Temple has the goddess Durga depicted as killing a demon with a buffalos head. The sculptures realism and artistic elegance is an achievement in itself. You will find many incomplete remnants near the caves from the Pallava period.


One of the most photographed monuments in India, Shore Temple is a structural monument on the shores of Bay of Bengal. Built in the 7th century, Shore Temple depicts the royal taste of Pallava dynasty. During the reign of Rajasimha, the temple saw its construction when Pallava art was at its apex. Ravaged by wind and sea, the temple has witnessed the historical events of India. This work of genius was recognized and listed amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Shore Temple comprises three shrines, where the prominent ones are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. In the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), an image of Shivalinga embraces the site. At the rear end, one can find two shrines facing each other.Shore Temple is also acknowledged for being the first stone structure made by Pallavas


The five Rathas is a set of magnificent monolithic rock temples. Panch is a Hindi world which means ‘Five’. These fine rock temples are located in a sandy compound. These five Rathas are the perfect examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. There are built in the shaper of pagodas and they look similar to that of the Buddhist shrines and monasteries. Rathas in English means carrots. There chariots are constructed with Towers, The cars of gods, multipillared halls, and sculptured walls which are chissled out minutely.

The Rathas have an association to the great epic Mahabharata which describes the heroes of Mahabharata with their wife Draupadi which is termed as pancha pandava rathas. The five rathas are (i) Draupadi’s Ratha, (ii) Arjuna’s Rath, (iii) Nakul – Sahadev’s Rath, (iv) Bhima Rath and (v) Dharamraja Yudhistar’s Rath. .


Lighthouse was then known as Seven Pagoda Lighthouse because the structures-mandapa, Rathas, Cave appeared like Pagodas when observed from the sea. A dressed stone masonry circular tower 26m in height was built on a nearby rock in 1900. Its exterior surfaces were left natural and unpainted so as to blend with surroundings. The PV equipment and 2nd order three panel optic assembly supplied by M/s Chance Bros, Birmingham was installed over this tower. The light was commissioned into service on 31st March 1901. In 1937 and 1940 the equipment underwent changes and modifications to give single flash every ten seconds