A large part of the state being on the coastal edge of the country, the weather is tropical and sultry for most part of the year. The summer months of April, May, June are hottest where temperature ranges to 40 degrees.
December and January are the peak months for Chennai. The temp ranges from 20-22 degrees. To avoid peak rush October is better. The weather in these months is pleasant and easy to bear the humidity.
A small town in Kanchipuram, Mahabalipuram is a 7th century port city ruled by the pallavas loacted strategically 60 kms away from Chennai. The places gains its name from the King Mahabali who ruled here. Christened as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the world famous Shore temples are located here. Mahabalipuram’s Shore Temple, built in the 8th century CE under the reign of Narasimhavarman II, stands at the shore of the Bay of Bengal.
The name “Seven Pagodas” has served as a nickname for the south Indian city of Mahabalipuram. Before the tsunami that occurred on December 26, 2004, evidence for the existence of the Seven Pagodas was largely anecdotal. Pallava King Mahendravarman I had begun a series of “cave temples,” which were carved into rocky hillsides. after the tsunami was a large stone lion, which the changing shoreline left sitting uncovered on Mahabalipuram’s beach. ASI and the Navy also discovered remains of two other submerged temples and one cave temple within 500 meters of the shore (Das).
The two spires of the temples, contain a shrine for Lord Vishnu, and for Lord Shiva.
How to Get There
By Road - There are buses available from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Madras to Mahabalipuram daily.
By Air / Train - Madras can be accessed by air or train from any corner of the country. International flights operate from various parts of the world to Madras.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit this area is in winter, between the months of November and February.
What to See
Carved on a rock this structure is said to have been in Himalayas. The rock surface shows carvings of animals. Stories from the panchatantra are the subject line. Now how came this rock got the name of Arjuna's penance - Well Arjuna the one among the Panch Pandava brothers and master in archery did a rigourous penance on one leg to appease Lord Shiva. Arjuna's prayers were answered and he received the pashupatashastra form Lord Shiva. This rock hence receives the name as it is said to have been a witness to the whole story.
A rock cut temple which depicts a scene from Krishna's life where he lifts the Govardhana mountain to save his village from the severe rains.
This is the part of the Dravadian temples where rathas or chariots have gopurams and vimanas with multi pillared halls and sculptures walls. Each ratha here is named after the Panch Pandavas or they are popularly called the Five Rathas. It is also believed that actually there are 8 of them. Some submerged in sea.
Mahabalipuram Dance Festival
The Mahabalipuram dance festival, is held every year from January 15 to February 15. During this period, dances from all over the country are staged, here, including Kathakali from Kerala, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, as well as tribal dances, puppet shows and classical and traditional music concerts.