Arjuna's Penance, Mahabalipuram

Named after one of the Pandava brothers, Arjuna's Penance is an enormous ancient relief carving etched on two huge boulders that dates back to the 7th century. The inscription describes scenes from Hindu mythology and daily happenings from South Indian life at the time, with an artificial waterfall pouring from the carved hands of male and female "nagas." In addition to numerous other carved animals, you can't miss the life-sized carvings of elephants, shown protecting their young. The longer you look at this impressive sight, the more new details you will notice, right down to the small mice around the elephants' feet. Add Arjuna's Penance to your Mahabalipuram travel itinerary, and discover new vacation ideas by using our Mahabalipuram online trip builder .
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Arjuna's Penance Reviews
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  • On the side of the road, is honestly no big deal. Recommend and reinvesting in the afternoon to go to take some pictures, so go in the morning.
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  • Mahabalipuram is rife with lithic relief work. Arjuna's Penance - alternatively, Gangavataranam or Descent of Ganges - is the largest and elaborate one. The two stories mentioned before are different ...  more »
  • For me this was the place to the most impressive Mahabalipuram, because of the quality of work on the low relief and temples cut directly into the rock. take the time to follow the multiple small trails that you will browse the site and prepare (and it is really not unpleasant) to be in great demand by the local population who want to do a selfie in your company or just be picture taken with you.
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  • All the old monuments in Mahabalipuram are pretty much unmissable. They are spread out a little but all of them are not hard to reach in foot - though it can get very hot here and an early morning visit is recommended. This absolutely beautiful bas relief is stunning and reminds me of Angkor Wat. The relief shows Arjuna meditating (amongst other scenes from the Mahabharata) at the bottom is a fat cat copying his meditation pose in an attempt to look like a holy cat and tempt mice into approaching him.
  • One of the greatest places to visit in India - the Arjuna's penance is a marvel of ancient sculpt. The images carved on the rock at the entrance itself are mind-blowing. And inside, there are several temples and structured sculpted entirely out of rock. It's an amazing and a must-visit place. Inside, there is Krishna's butter ball - a wonder rock
  • Very nice sculpting. Very popular among foreigners. Don't miss the carvings on the top of the monolith..very nice area. A must visit for the art & history lovers.
  • Located in small town of Mahabalipuram. This marvellous piece of stone work will mesmerize you. The intricacies of the carving makes you think how in that time they could have achieved it. It depicts many tales of Mahabharata. It is one of biggest one piece stone carving in India. The Govt should have allocated more space around it for tourist to view it.
  • Its a very good place to spend a day with friends and family.. good atmosphere. Lots of shaded areas to rest if your coming at day time. You don't have to worry about the heat. The wind from the sea shore will balance it all. The place is well maintained and clean. Usually busy on weekends and holidays. Local guides can give a lot of information about the place.. its got rich history to it.
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11 days in Chennai (Madras) BY A USER FROM MALAYSIA July, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 5 days in Tamil Nadu BY A USER FROM INDIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in South India BY A USER FROM INDIA June, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in Tamil Nadu BY A USER FROM INDIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Chennai (Madras) BY A USER FROM MALAYSIA February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Chennai (Madras) BY A USER FROM MALAYSIA February, beaches, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: February, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa, Mexico & United States BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS August, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in Chennai (Madras) & Coimbatore BY A USER FROM INDIA June, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in Mahabalipuram BY A USER FROM INDIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in India BY A USER FROM INDIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Chennai (Madras) BY A USER FROM INDIA May, kids, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, kids, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 16 days in Tamil Nadu BY A USER FROM INDIA June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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