Mamallapuram, is a town on the east coastline and around 58 kilometres (36 mi) south of the city of Chennai. An ancient historic town and a bustling seaport in the 1st millennium CE, now a beachside tourism center with a group of Hindu monuments declared as UNESCO world heritage site, it is one of the most visited towns in South India. Mamallapuram was one of two major port cities by the 7th century within the Pallava kingdom. Along with economic prosperity, it became a center of a group of religious monuments carved out of rock.
These are dated to the 7th and 8th centuries: rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air rock reliefs such as the famous Descent of the Ganges, and the Shore Temple, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Lord Shiva. The town also has shrines dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna. Megalithic burial urn, cairn circles and jars with +burials dating to the very dawn of the Christian era have been discovered near Mahabalipuram.