Around Chennai

South of the capital, easily reached in a day but worthy of at least a weekend, lies Mahabalipuram, an intriguing little beachside town given over entirely to sculpture, both ancient and modern. Part open-air museum and part contemporary workshop, its seventh-century bas-reliefs are some of the world's largest and most intricate, telling the Indian flood myth, the Descent of the Ganga. Within earshot of the old shore temples you can find modern-day masons industriously piling their shacks and yards high with freshly and beautifully chiselled deities. Inland from Chennai, the former Pallava capital of Kanchipuram is one of India's seven sacred cities, chock-full of temples and overflowing with silks spun straight from the loom.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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