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Arjuna's Penance, Mahabalipuram

(4.6/5 based on 440+ reviews on the web)
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. For Arjuna's Penance and beyond, use our Mahabalipuram trip itinerary maker to get the most from your Mahabalipuram vacation.
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30 days in India BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM March, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 4 days in Tamil Nadu BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in South India BY A USER FROM INDIA March, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 30 days in India BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM June, culture, outdoors, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Chennai (Madras), Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram BY A USER FROM INDIA May, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 60 days in India BY A USER FROM ISRAEL March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 8 days in Tamil Nadu BY A USER FROM INDIA February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Tamil Nadu BY A USER FROM INDIA February, outdoors, popular PREFERENCES: February, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 30 days in India BY A USER FROM INDIA February, kids, relaxing, historic sites, fast-paced, hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, kids, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 5 days in Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry & Chennai (Madras) BY A USER FROM INDIA March, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: March, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Tamil Nadu BY A USER FROM INDIA February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Mahabalipuram BY A USER FROM INDIA April, kids, popular PREFERENCES: April, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • very impressive representations of Hindu myths. Also beautiful, sublime animal representations.
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  • One has to be pretty clear about few things in Mahabalipuram. First of all, go only if you have a genuine interest in ancient ruins. Do NOT expect lush meadows with wide roads and natural beauty. Seco...  more »
  • Arjuna's Penance is a massive open-air bas-relief monolith , carved on the face of two huge adjoining boulders with a narrow fissure in between , which dates back to the 7th century. This magnificent ...  more »
Google
  • You cannot afford to miss this place. A sheer sculptural treat is awaiting you there. Also, don't miss the wonder "Krishna's Butter Ball" a rock which doesn't roll down, defying the gravitational theories.
  • Masterpiece. The details are unreal. As a kid I read about Bakeetathan Thavam in my books, to see it in real was amazing. There is this two moneys sculpture next to it. Its really funny.
  • Great sculptures finest curvings on rock but not maintained properly left open to weather which is causing wear and tear...
  • Simply comparable to Ajanta & Ellore. A must visit place who throw a visit to Mahabalipuram
  • Another great piece of architecture. If you are in the vicinity take five mins out and visit it as these places are located next to each other and offers a great insight into India's earlier architectural marvel era.