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PLACES AROUND MAHABALIPURAM

There are many places around mahabalipuram to be visited. They are cholamandal artist’s village, Dakshina Chitra, Muthukadu, Crocodile and Snake Bark, Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram, Various Temples, Kovalam, Mudaliarkuppam, Thirukkalukundram, Tirupporur, Vandalur and Vedanthangal.

CHOLAMADAL ARTIST’S VILLAGE

This village is about 20 km away from chennai and one has to reach 38 km from this village to mahabalipuram. This village was established in 1965 to promote and develop the traditional art. Exhibitions are regularly put up to exhibit various paintings, Sculptures and crafty articles. The visitors can interact with the artists of the studies in this village.

DAKSHINA CHITRA

This place is 12 km south of the cholamandal village, established in 1984. Separate sectors of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka sculptures are found here. This is a ling museum. One can find traditional architecture, artistry workers, exhibitions, workshops, archival library and graft shops etc. The other major activities here are exhibition of crafts, designs, folk arts etc.

CHENGALPATTU

This city lies on the National Highway between Tiruchirappalli and Chennai. It is about 30kms away from mahabalipuram. The tourists can find remains and ruins of an ancient Vijayanagar fort. There is also a lake named Kolavai Lake. Boating facilities are found in the like by the tourism department.

KANCHIPURAM

This city is a major cultural centre and a major Hindu pilgrim of Tamilnadu. This is also the place which has the famous temples and known as Golden city of thousand temples. This is set on the western bank of the Palar River. This is one among the seven sacred cities in India. The city is known for the seat of bearing, culture and philosophy. This city is an important centre for commerce and a world renowned centre for silk goods. Kanchipuram is located on the chennai – Bangalore Highway. The chennai airport is 60 km away from Kanchipuram.

India as a whole is known for the tradition and the construction of unique style of temples. There are many famous temples all over India. There are also many great temples around Mamallpuram. They are Kailasanathar Temple, Ekambaranathar Temple, Varadarajaswami Temple, Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple and Jaina Kanchi or Tiruparuttikunram. Let us discuss their unique features.

The Kailasanathar Temple is one of the earliest and most extra ordinary temples of Kanchipuram. Rajasimha, the pallava king of the 7th century built it. It depicts the splendid early Dravidian architecture. The style and elegance of the temples are closer in comparison to those of the sculptures of mahabalipuram. The main shine has a 16 sided Shivalingam in black granite stone.

The Ekambaranathar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is the largest temple in the town which lovers 20 acres of land area. This temple was built and altered by the pallavas, the Cholas and the Rayas. In 1509, King Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar constructed a gopuram which is of 58.5 meters in height. The temple has fire corridors has a thousand pillared hall. The Prithvi Lingam inside the main sanctum is Lunge and is one among the fine lingams of south India. One unique feature is that the 1000 lingas were carved out of a single stone here. There is also a mango tree, aged more than 3,500 years. This tree bears four branches representing the Four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana) and the fruits from these branches have four differing tastes respectively.

The Varadarajaswami Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was built during the 10th century by the Vijayanagar kings. It has a big outer will and it has a thousand pillared halls called the Kalyanamandapam. The pillars have the descriptions of Lord Vishnu. A huge chain is carved of a single piece of granite stone.

The Vaikunta Perumal Temple, of the 7th century was built by the pallava king Nadivarman II. This is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the temple has towering vimanas, where Lord Vishnu’s image is posture in standing, sitting and reclining forms. These are beautiful lion pillared cloisters and bas – reliefs in the main shrine of the temple.

The Kamatchiamman Temple, dedicated to goddess Parvathi is said to be built before 7th century. Latter the Cholas reconstructed it during the 14th Century. This is located in the heart of the town and one of the three holy places of Sakthi worship. There is a Sankaracharya shrine who found the Kamakoti Monastery. He also built a golden tower. Adi Shankara had also installed the Sri Chakra before goddess Kamatchi. The annual car festival is held during February and March.

The Jaina Kanchi Shrine is also known as Tiruparuttikunram Temple. It is found on the outskirts of the town and its collaboration of several shrines. There are some noteworthy temples here namely, the beautifully painted Vardhaman Temple and Chandra Prabha Temple.


KOVALAM

Kovalam is known as Covelong in English, which is a beautiful spot lies 15Kms from mahabalipuram and 38 Kms from Chennai. This is a small fishing village but now a famous beach resort of the country. One can find remains of historic port and beautiful hotel resorts. The Olive Ridley Turtles visit the beach between November and March to hatch their eggs.

MUDALIARKUPPAM

It is about 36 Kms from mahabalipuram on the East Coast Road (ECR). There are facilities that are being developed for boating.

NITHYAKALYANAPERUMAL TEMPLE

This is a Hindu pilgrim which is 16 Kms away from mahabalipuram and is considered to be one of the 108 sacred shrines called as Tirupathi. The deity here is goddess Lakshmi. The events celebrated here are Garuda Sevai, on the Tamil Month Aani, Pooram in Aadi, and spring festival in Vaigasi.

SADRAS

This fine beach resort is 13 Kms away from mahabalipuram towards Kalpakkam. There is a ruined Dutch Fort. There is also a Dutch cemetery finely carved with headstones and inscriptions in the Dutch languages.

THIRUKKALUKUNDRAM

This Hindu pilgrim is also known as Pakshitheertham, which lies 16 km away from mahabalipuram. There is a 160 m hill where we can find the small Vedagirishvara Temple. This is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The priest in the temple feeds a pair of white eagles, which are said to be saints. The eagles travel from Varanasi and Rameswaram while traveling they nest in this hill temple during a particular time in the noon. No other eagles are birds attend this feast.

There is a larger shiva temple in the village located below the hill. One can take a view of the countryside from the hill tops which attract the devotees. There are snack stalls also in the hill top.

VANDALUR

The Anna Zoological Park Vandalur is 35 km from Chennai and 55 km from mahabalipuram. The area of the Zoo is 1,265 acres and is the largest Zoo in south Asia. The zoo has a natural habitat. There are various animals in this zoo. There are safari tours, Nocturnal Animal House, Natural Museum and Aquarium in this zoo.

VEDANTHANGAL

This water bird sanctuary is 53 km away from mahabalipuram, established in the year 1858 and the oldest of the country. The land area is about 30 hectares of marshy lard with a lake. 1,00,000 birds which hare migrated from other countries visit here. The birds that visit here are garganey teals, shovellers, pintails, stilts, sandpipers, coot, moorhens and terns. The best time to visit this bird sanctuary is between November and February.

The park has couple of watch tourists and a viewing platform. There are bus facilities from Chennai, Tambaram and Chengalpattu to Vedanthangal. There is a forest Rest House too.

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