The small beachside town of Mahabalipuram makes a perfect start (or end) point for a tour of Tamil Nadu and further into South India as it is just 90 minutes drive from Chennai airport. The town has a fascinating history befitting a place which was once a major dynastic capital and elements of this past can be seen in such places as the 7th century Shore Temple and Arjuna's Penance which is the largest bas-relief carving in the world. These and other ancient structures around Mahabalipuram have been recognized as significant by UNESCO which has listed them as World Heritage sites. Mahabalipuram today is a quiet place with a laidback atmosphere- ideal for relaxation, acclimatization and a gentle introduction to the serene pace of life in the south of India.
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