Located in the state of Tamil Nadu, Mahabalipuram is located right on the Coromandel Coast next to the Bay of Bengal. It was a well established sea port during the 7th and 10th centuries of the Pallava dynasty, and has flourished accordingly.
This city was actually the 2nd capital of the Pallavas. It was originally named after the rude, cruel, and arrogant King Mahabali who was killed during a fierce battle by Lord Vishnu at that location. It was named by the people more out of gratitude that the heartless king was killed there than out of respect upon his death for his leadership.
During the rule of the Pallavas, new styles of art and architecture were pioneered. Mahabalipuram is where they tried and then exhibited their new artistic and architectural creations. As a result, the area is brimming with rock-cut caves and numerous temples. In fact, this region is often referred to as an open museum. Some of the temples were even carved out of one enormous rock rather than simply constructed out of rock. Not much pillaging has occurred here over the centuries, since the wealth of the Pallavas was never flaunted, so the temples are well preserved.