Mahabalipuram also known as Mammalapuram means the “Land of Tremendous or Great Power” (Maha – Great, Bali – strength/power, Puram – City).
An ancient port city of South India on the shore of Bay of Bengal, the area was ruled by the Pallavas from their capital in nearby Kanchipuram. Evidences of trade with China, South East Asia and Europe have been found in the form of coins in excavations. The place finds mention in the accounts of Ptolemy (2nd Century CE) and Hiuen Sang (7th Century CE).
European mariners since Marco Polo’s time have given the city another name, “City of Seven Pagodas”, referring to the myth that there once stood 07 such temple structures, which over a period of time have submerged in the waters.
Home to several rock cut edicts and monuments, Mahabalipuram’s most intriguing structures are the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shore Temple, the Five Rathas Complex and the Arjuna’s Penance. The rock structures depict stories from the Hindu epic, Mahabharata.