Mahabalipuram, also known, as "Mamallapuram" is 58-km, south of Chennai, nestling on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, was once a port of the Pallavas. The Pallavas have created many
marvellous monuments with Sculptural Panels, Caves, Monolithic Rathas (chariots) and Temples.
Once a thriving port
trading with many distant nations, Pallava chisels have breathed life into stone. The Pallavas art at this place emphasises
robust earthly beauty, imbibed with life. These monumental splendours and the sunny beach resorts attract tourists from all
over the world.
A crocodile farm, snake venom extracting centre, schools of art and sculpture and a wide choice of
resorts along the beach draw holiday-seekers all round the year.
: While travelling from Chennai to Mahabalipuram visit Dakshinachitra - a heritage centre. Here traditional crafts persons and folk artists work and perform
in the reconstructed period settings of 19th century homes, streets and workspaces of the Southern States of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Shore Temple: This is one of the oldest temples in south India. It belongs to the early 8th century AD and is
a good example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in Dravidian style. The monuments are floodlit at night
and so it is possible to enjoy their beauty after sunset.
: The world's largest bas-relief measuring 27m x 9m is the pride of Mahabalipuram. This huge whaleback shaped rock contains figures of Gods, Demigods, men, beasts, birds and infact represents
the entire creation.
Five Rathas : These are five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They
are also known as the "Pancha Pandava Rathas", and the four of the Rathas are supposed to have scooped out of a single rock
Tiger's Cave : It is 4-km north of the main monument complex. It was an open-air theatre, where
cultural programmes are held. Though it is very near the sea, the place is serene and calm.
The memorial to the poet-saint Tiruvalluvar is shaped like a temple chariot and
is, in fact, the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. A life-size statue of the saint has been installed in the chariot
which is 33m. tall. The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall
corridors of the chariot. The auditorium at Valluvar Kottam is said to be the largest in Asia and can accommodate about 4000
people. It stands as a modern memorial to the great poet who represents the glorious culture of the Tamils.
The mortal remains of Dr. C.N. Annadurai, former Chief Minister
of Tamil Nadu was buried at the Anna Square, which is at the northern end of the Marina Beach. It is located in the centre
of a beautiful park, the entrance to which is a spectacular contemporary-style arch in the shape of twin converging elephant
tusks. Dr. C.N. Annadurai former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, was affectionately called by the masses as Anna meaning the
elder brother. Anna Square today is a hallowed place for the people of Tamil Nadu and the tomb is flanked by an imposing memorial
pillar and eternal flame.
Elliot's Beach (Besant Nagar Beach)
Located in Besant Nagar, Chennai, Elliot's beach is the preferred destination for those with a clean atmosphere in mind. Following the road along
the coast down south from Marina one will come to Elliot's beach where one can spend a few hours relaxing.
This beach is lined with fast food joints, small stores, and a few shrines. It is a popular hangout for the
younger generation these days. Four decades ago, Elliot's beach was the favourite haunt of foreigners seeking a secluded beach
to sun bathe at.
At the end of this beach are situated the Velanganni Church and the Ashtalakshmi temple.
Though the church is much smaller than the original one at Velanganni it attracts its own share of pilgrims.
Temple: The Ashtalakshmi temple dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi (also spelt as Laxmi) looks quite different from the usual
South Indian temples as it is a modern tier construction, not even 20 years old
"Childrens Museum" is a place of wonder for children, which takes them from the land of books to the land
of objects. It encourages a child to probe new horizons. It directs children into constructive and worthwhile pastimes. It
moulds them into sound citizens of the future.
The Childrens Museum of the Government Museum, Chennai consists of Basement, Ground floor and First floor,
each having 5000 sq.ft. area. The architecture of the Childrens Museum conforms to that of a model museum building, with all
the facilities contemplated in a modern museum. The display arrangements in the Childrens Museum reveals to the children the
world in which they live, arouses intellectual curiosity and opens the door to the world of wonder.
Besides the galleries a fountain operated by solar power and water pumping unit operated by windmill, the life size Tyrannosaurus
and Stegosaurus fibre glass models are the added attractions of the Children's Museum. Visitor facilities such as see through
lift and a ramp way for physically handicapped visitors are available. It is a place where education is recreation and recreation
Marina Beach,the pride of Chennai, is the second largest beach in the world and has a wide sandy foreshore.Situated
on the beach ,the Anna and MGR samadhis which are the memorials of the most popular former Chief Ministers of the State attract
good crowd everyday. An aquarium is also located on the Marina Beach. Some of the most beautiful buildings in Chennai such
as the University of Madras,Senate-House,Chepauk Palace, Presidency College, P.W.D office and Ice House are located on the
Not far from Triplicane, in Mylapore, there is yet another 8th century Pallava temple. The temple
'Gopuram'(tower) is characteristic of Dravidian style architecture .Dedicated to Lord Shiva,this temple has some beautiful
sculptures,among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivite Saints(Nayanmars) which adorn the outer coutyard are rare specimens.Also
in the courtyard under the old Punnai tree is a small shrine depicting Goddess Parvathi in the form of a Peacock Worshipping
Lord Shiva.It is from this legend that Mylapore derived it's name -'myil' meaning peacock and 'oor' meaning town.Mylapore
swarms with life during the Arupathu Moovar festival that is held in March-April every year.