Arjuna's Penance : The huge relief structure, Arjuna's penance is also called the Descent of the Ganga. Story from Mahabharata, where Arjuna performs tapasya(penance) to get Pashupatastra from Lord Shiva is depicted here. In addition, the story of Bhagiratha's efforts to bring divine river Ganga to earth finds place here.
Arjuna's penance, MahabalipuramArjuna's penance is a structure measuring 30m (100ft) long by 15m (45ft) high, quite huge compared to human figure. Near to the Arjuna's penance, you can find the Krishna Mandapa. Walls of the Mandapa tell the story - how Lord Krishna lifted Mount Govardhana to protect the villagers when the rain god Varuna vented his anger by bringing incessant rains.
Lord Ganesha Temple, MahabalipuramVaraha Cave Temple and Krishna's Butter Ball : Moving on we spotted Varaha cave temple next. On way to cave temple, one finds Lord Ganesha temple, where unlike many temples in historic places, poojas seem to be conducted. But surprisingly, there was no statue of the god in the Varaha cave shrine. But one could find carvings of Varaha on temple wall. On the rocky hill nearby, Krishna's butter ball is a huge mounted rock, with virtually no support. People posing for photos as if they are holding it from rolling down was a common sight. Well, we did take our turn in doing so too! Down the hill, we found one more cave temple but dedicated to Lord shiva.
Varaha Cave Temple, MahabalipuramTiger's cave : That brought an end to the visual treat we could have at Mahabalipuram town. But I had read in a travel guide about the Tiger's cave which is located 5 km before entering the Mahabalipuram town. So, I made sure to ask the driver to stop there. Apart from the cave, it is surrounded by trees, making it an ideal place for picnic.
Krishna's Butter Ball, Mahabalipuram
Chennai Bits : Don't know is it because of the part of Chennai we explored, I noticed only few big commercial complexes or modern glass buildings, a far cry from a city like Bangalore. Of the few, Hilton Chennai caught my attention for a while! Chennai traffic which greeted us on that day morning did say bye in the evening too, again in the same fashion - traffic jam. We had to get down from the Volvo bus we boarded to reach CMBT and walk to catch the KSRTC Corona to reach Bengaluru next day morning.
Hilton ChennaiAfterthoughts : After completing a series of posts on Mahabalipuram, I felt that any documentation on India's heritage site always leaves genuine readers wanting for more, purely because of the intricacies of architecture and not to forget the history and mythology associated with the place and the work of art. Here, I have tried to highlight only few aspects. If it arouses interest in the minds of readers about the rich heritage of India, I would consider my efforts fruitful. For more details on Mahabalipuram, click here. Also, another thought passes by - if Mahabalipuram trip travelogue has to be stretched into 3 parts and required as much effort, what it would take to document the vibrant Hampe(Hampi)? :)
Carvings on wall of Varaha Cave Temple, Mahabalipuram
Cave Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Mahabalipuram
Tiger's Cave, Mahabalipuram
Sunset at Chennai