Chennai is a city both traditional and cosmopolitan, sprinkled with Hindu temples, the colonial remnants of the British Raj, and modern high-rises. Overlying it all is the rich Tamil culture, with an emphasis on the celebration of beauty in its many forms, the pinnacle of which is no doubt Mahabalipuram. On this stunning site between beach and lagoon are rock-cut temples and monoliths adorned with exquisite and intricate carvings depicting mythological themes; and bas reliefs like Arjuna’s Penance, where sculpted into two enormous rocks are beautifully rendered figures of animals, humans, and gods observing the descent of the holy river Ganges from the Himalayas.
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