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, Tamil Nadu
(Mahabalipuram is also known as Mamallapuram)
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|On this page: History, Travel within city, Hotels, Packages|
This city was actually the 2nd capital of the Pallavas. It was originally named after the rude, cruel, and arrogant King Mahabali who was killed during a fierce battle by Lord Vishnu at that location. It was named by the people more out of gratitude that the heartless king was killed there than out of respect upon his death for his leadership.
During the rule of the Pallavas, new styles of art and architecture were pioneered. Mahabalipuram is where they tried and then exhibited their new artistic and architectural creations. As a result, the area is brimming with rock-cut caves and numerous temples. In fact, this region is often referred to as an open museum. Some of the temples were even carved out of one enormous rock rather than simply constructed out of rock. Not much pillaging has occurred here over the centuries, since the wealth of the Pallavas was never flaunted, so the temples are well preserved.
The architecture is not the only draw for tourists in this city. The area is also nestled in an especially impressive setting. Beautiful white sandy beaches are plentiful, as are the casuarinas trees that are found in abundance there. Mahabalipuram is also known for providing a fantastic shopping experience. Exquisite local handmade crafts are readily available in the local shops.
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The ancient name of the city was ‘Mamallapuram’ which was later changed into Mahabalipura during the reign of King Narsimha Varman I. A very interesting history is associated with the name of the town. It is said that the King Narsima was awarded with a title ‘Mamalla’ meaning ‘the great wrestler’. It was from this title that the name of the city was derived.
The Pallavas ruled here from the 3rd to the 9th century and during this time many saints and poets were born here. The period from 650 to 750 AD is considered to be the most glorious years of the Pallava rules, as during this time the rulers were the most powerful. Since then the city slipped into oblivion and was revived only in the year 1827, by the British who laid the foundation of the modern city of Mahabalipuram.
Travel within city
You can also opt for buses that ply around Mahabalipuram. These buses are mainly tourist buses from Chennai, Bangalore, Madurai and other nearby locations. Government run buses from Chennai and Bangalore are also available and these can help you travel around local destinations as well. Bus fares will range between Rs 10 and 30.
Cabs can be taken from the city of Chennai to Mahabalipuram, although no cab agencies are centered around Mahabalipuram per se. Cab charges will range around Rs 1000 to 2000.
Rented motorcycles are also available in Mahabalipuram, and these are quite famous among tourists. You can rent out a motorcycle from one of the rental agencies present in the town, and charges will vary around Rs 300 to 350, depending on the type of motorcycle that you go for.
Mahabalipuram is a very small town, and all major places of interest are located quite close to each other. You can thus travel to all the major regions in Mahabalipuram through foot. This can help you cut down on your transport expenses, and also help you take in the beauty of the region gradually.
You can find 19 hotels in Mahabalipuram under following categories:
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