Mahabalipuram is a small seaside village that was once the main port of the Pallava dynasty from the fifth to ninth centuries. Its exquisite rock-cut temples, or rathas, are some of the finest in India and have been declared a world heritage site by Unesco. In the village centre is an immense frieze carved in the first century AD, which is 12 metres high and 28 metres long. It recounts the Mahabharata episode of Arjuna's penance. The hillside is scattered with eight temple porches with bold sculptures inside. There is also one surviving shore temple, built in the first century. A row of Nandi Bulls surround its walls. Mahabalipuram also has an excellent open-air museum where you can watch stonemasons at work.