Modi-Xi visit at Mamallapuram: All about the coastal temple town

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Published: October 11, 2019 10:57 AM

Mahabalipuram located near the capital city of Tamil Nadu is about to witness a meet of two global leaders and is undergoing a complete makeover.

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All eyes on Mahabalipuram! For travellers who want to experience the best of temples, beaches, cultural history and sculptural marvels, this is the place to visit! Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be attending a 2-day informal summit for the second time. And, the meeting scheduled for Friday and Saturday will be held at Mahabalipuram – one of the historically significant and culturally prominent coastal city of Tamil Nadu. Known as a temple town, the city is home to various stone sculptures and temples made during the Pallava Era. Since old time Mahabalipuram has been an important trade centre due to the presence of seaport. The temple town located near the capital city of the state is about to witness a meet of two global leaders and is undergoing a complete makeover.

Here is all that you need to know about this historic town, which is popular among tourists from all around the globe and has a UNESCO World Heritage site:

Mahabalipuram- What and where:

It is a coastal town which lies along the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal and is located at a distance of about 60 kilometres south of the capital city Chennai (earlier known as Madras).

Is Mamallapuram and Mahabalipuram same?

Mahabalipuram is also known as ‘Mamallapuram’ or ‘Seven Pagodas’ locally, the temple town is considered to be a religious centre founded by Narasimhavarman- a Hindu Pallava king of 7th century. Narasimhavarman was also known as Mamalla and hence the town is also known as Mamallapuram.

Way and modes to reach Mahabalipuram:

Since the city is among one of the historically prominent ones, its connectivity to other parts of the state is quite better. One can take the scenic East Coast Road (ECR) to reach Mahabalipuram from Chennai through private vehicles or hired taxis. The options to travel to the temple town from Chennai via government or private buses are also available. As many as 50 buses(both government and private) run daily between Chennai and Mahabalipuram.

Tourism at Mahabalipuram:

If someone is visiting Tamil Nadu it is considered that they will visit Mahabalipuram. Now, you must be thinking, why is Mamallapuram famous? The temple town is considered to be a tourism hotspot throughout the year. It is home to stone temples, impeccable sculptures and beautiful stone carvings and beaches. The beauty of the stone carving on monolithic rocks can be witnessed in Mahabalipuram. Most of the temples and sculptures were declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984. The maintenance of the historical and archaeological tourist sites is looked after by the Archaeological Society of India (ASI).

READ | Mahabalipuram’s Shore temple: History carved in stones

What is the importance of Mahabalipuram?

As most of the historical and archaeological structures and temples were built during the reign of the Pallava king Narasimhavarman and his successor Rajasimhavarman during the 7th and 8th century, the town has great cultural and historical significance.

Is Mahabalipuram worth a visit?

Tourists can visit the temple town and explore it within a day. If someone is keen interest in history and wants to explore the place they can plan for a longer stay as the accommodation facilities are also good and the town is quite close to the capital city itself.

Some of the prominent tourist sites in Mahabalipuram are Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas (named after the Pandavas), Mahabalipuram Beach, Arjuna’s Penance, Krishna’s Butter Ball, Krishna Mandapam, Varaha Cave Temple, Mahishasuramardini Mandapam, Ganesha Ratha, Mahabalipuram Lighthouse.

While talking about the food, the city offers almost every type of dish, including North Indian cuisine, fast food and delectable seafood. But, if someone wants to enjoy a completely local experience, then the South Indian Cuisine and Seafood (only if you are not allergic to it) is the best option.

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