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Mamallapuram is known as Mahabalipuram and one of the tourist town of Chennai City which is Situated at a distance of about 60 kms from south of chennai and famous for its awesome stone carvings. On the shore of the Bay of Bengal, it was an ancient port of the Pallavas, who have created many marvelous monuments with sculptural panels, caves, monolithic rathas and temples. The port was constructed by Emperor Mahendra Varman in the 7th century. Its present name is derived from the title given to Narasimha Varman as Mahamalla meaning a great warrior. The place is among the most outstanding examples of Dravidian art and architecture.

Once a thriving port trading with many distant nations, the sculptors have breathed life into stone at this place. The Pallava art here emphasizes robust earthly beauty, united with life. These monumental splendour and many beaches attract tourists from all over the world.

Places to Visit Around Mamallapuram

Tirukkalikundram : 14 kms. There is an ancient Shiva Temple with a lofty towerat this place. Nearby is a hill called Vedagiri 160 metres high, on the top of which also there is a small Shiva temple. It is said that two kites arrive regularly at noon to the summit of this hill to receive food from the hands of the temple priest. At the south-east of the town is a spacious tank whose waters are said to have curative properties, Once in 12 years, a Shankha (conch) comes out of the tank according to the local tradition. A number of such conches obtained in the past are displayed at the temple.

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary : Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary 60 kms from Mammllapuram. This is one of the major water bird sanctuaries in India. It is the home of thousands of such birds which migrate to the vast tank for breeding. Situated amidst pleasant surrounding and nurturing a mass of sturdy mangrove trees with large spreading crowns in the centre, this lake attracts from the temperate zone every year between September and March, such birds. The birds include cormorants, darters, egrets, stocks, herons, spoon bills, ibises, pelicans and many other water birds. Many of them arrive punctually even from far off places like Siberia. This is a very popular place for the Bird Watchers and photographers. A path shaded by trees atop a raised bund allowed the visitor to observe nestling colony of birds. A small rest house is built at the village for overnight stay.

Thiruporur : 16 kms. An ancient temple dedicated to Lord Muruga is located here. There are some historical inscription on the walls of the temples as well as some interesting sculptures.

Sadras : 16 kms. An old fishing village on the sea-shore which was once a Dutch settlement. A massive fort with 14 well cut tomb stones attract the attention of the visitors to this place.

Mammllapuram is now a flourishing tourist centre and has a number of moder lodgings and rest houses to cater to the needs o the visitors. State and Private buses operate in this route at frequent intervals. However, hired taxi would be ideal to visit most of the interior places.

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