Mahabalipuram the ancient capital and sea
port of Pallava Kings is famous for its south Indian Temple architecture.But
today it is a sleepy village living on its past glory and the tourist
traffic. The sculptures and carvings are fascinating. Mahabalipuram is also
known as the "city of seven pagodas" for out of solid stone were
carved exquisite rock Temples. Five of the Temples are known as "Rathas"
and on their walls the story of Hindu mythology has been lovingly carved
out. The most famous of them is group of five Rathas. This ratha is
dedicated to the five Pandava Princes and their consort-wife Draupadi. A
group of Elephants one of them 5 meters long known as "Arjuna Penance"
is the most prominent feature of this sculpture.
Thanjavur or Tanjore is the city of Chola rulers and bears their stamp in
an array of Temples finely sculpted and carved. The Brihadesvara Temple
built by Raja Chola is said to have been the tallest monument in ancient
India, rising height of 92 meters in pyramidal form. Near the inner shrine
of Brihadesvara is a gigantic, five meters long black granite sculpture of
Nandi, the bull of Lord Shiva. At Thanjavur one can also visit the