Mahabalipuram City Guide
Home    City Guide      Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram City Guide

It is located in the Kanchipuram district and is considered among the most visited places of Tamil Nadu. It stretches on the Coromandel Coast, facing the Bay of Bengal. Mahabalipuram is situated at a distance of about 70 km from Chennai. The place was a flourishing point during Pallavas dynasty. The monuments presented over here are the best specimen of Pallava art and Dravidian temple architecture. The rock cut temples as well as caves are the specialty of Mahabalipuram. These are made from a single rock and feature a number of structures. Its temples, architectures and bas-reliefs are so artistic and feature sheer creativity that it is called as an ‘Open Air-Museum’.

Center of Attractions:

The Shore Temples: It is listed among the UNESCO’s world heritage sites. All around these temples several carvings can be observed easily. The Vishnu temple is slotted among two Shiva Temples.

Entrance Fee Time to Visit Holidays Video Camera
Rs 250 (foreigners) & Rs 10 (for Indians) 07.00 AM to 05.00 PM - -

The Caves : In Mahabalipuram there are nine cave temples known as rock-cut temples. These caves have occupied a significant place among the most preferred tourist destinations in Mahabalipuram. There is a famous Varaha cave, which is a rock-cut Mandapam that features two incarnations of Lord Vishnu including Vamana (dwarf) and Varaha (boar).

Five Rathas : These are also referred as Pancha Pandava Rathas. These rathas are excellent specimen of Dravidian architecture and are related with great Epic Mahabharata.

Krishna's Butterball : It is an enormous natural rock stabilized on a hillside and appears as it will roll down at any point of time.

Arjuna’s Penance : It’s a huge bas-relief adorned with comprehensive carvings as well as a family of monkeys and elephants. This figurine carved on the rock wall is considered the largest bas-relief throughout the world. The rock is twisted in the shape of a whale facing the sea.

Krishna Mandapam : It is the largest among the Mandapams. This mandapam is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The sculptures and statues carved inside the Mandapam depict the legend of Lord Krishna.

Tiger Cave : It lies 4 Km north of the major shrine complex. It was constructed as an open-air theatre, by Pallava period to organize cultural programmes. The name of the Tiger Cave is given due to the carving of the tigers at the entrance hall.

Crocodile Farm :

It stretches over an area of 3.2 hectares and is the shelter of various species of reptiles. There are over 24,000 reptiles. The place also features a tribal society that operates a snake-venom extraction center.

Entrance Fee Time to Visit Holidays Video Camera Camera
Rs 30/- (for Indians & Foreigners) 08:30hrs to 17:30hrs Monday Rs-100/- Rs-30/-

Dakshina Chitra : It was founded for the preservation and promotion of the culture of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. It is also called the ‘picture of south’. The place is a worth visiting to know well about the south Indian culture and lifestyle. It is 21 km south of Chennai and is situated on the East Coast Road at Muttukadu.

Entrance Fee Time to Visit Holidays Video Camera Camera
Rs 200/- (for foreigners) and Rs 75/- for Indians 10:00hrs to 18:00hrs Tuesday (open on all national holidays except Diwali day) Rs-50/- Rs-10/-

Muttu Kadu : It is a perfect picnic spot and is 25 km from Mahabalipuram. There is a boathouse positioned by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation for boat ride.

Excursion from Mahabalipuram:

Thirukkalukundram : This holy place is situated 17 km from Mahabalipuram, en-route Kanchipuram. This tourist destination features a small Shiva shrine positioned on the top of the Vedagiri hill that is elevated at 160m height. Just before midday daily, it is supposed that two White kites appear at the temple and temple priests feed them. Myth has it that these two white kites are in fact saints who every day make a halt to relax at the temple during their trip between Varanasi & Rameswaram.

Tourists can also spot a bigger Shiva Temple, which is below the town. There is a spacious tank at the Southeast end of the town. The waters of the tank are said to contain curative powers. A conch is revealed once every 12 years in this tank. During this auspicious time thousands of devotees gather to bathe in the tank. In the large Siva Temple, a group of the conches is displayed.

Entrance Fee Time to Visit Holidays Video Camera
- 0600 hrs to 1230 hrs and 1630 hrs to 2000hrs - -

Vedanthangal : Located 60 Kms from Kanchipuram and 65 Kms away from Mahabalipuram, it is among main water bird sanctuaries found in India. From morning 0500 hrs to 0800 hrs & evening 0330 hrs to 0700 hrs during October to March is the best time to visit this place.

Lord Murugan Temple : It is to be found in Thiruporur, 16 Kms away. It’s an earliest temple dedicated to Lord Murugan. The place of worship features numerous inscriptions.

Fairs & Festivals

Dance Festival : Mahabalipuram Dance Festival takes place from early January and is held by the Tamilnadu Tourism. The festival is organized for four weeks. One can take pleasure in marvelous classical dance performances such as Kuchipudi, Bharathanattiyam, odyssey, Kathakali and folk dances. Entry is Chargeable.

Pongal Festival : It is a harvest celebration and is celebrated by nearby rural community with cultural numerous programmes

Masi Magam : It gets organized in the month of February and March as well as on the full moon day called Tamil Month Masi. Myth is associated as well as people consider that after taking bath in the sea, and offering prayer to god in the Perumal shrine will bring good fortunes in life. On a full moon date, the Floating festival is also held.

Getting there:

Chennai (70 Km – 2 hours drive) is the nearest airport.

  • Mahabalipuram is well linked to other cities of Tamilnadu through highway.
  • The remoteness from Chennai is 70 Km and takes 2 hours drive
  • The remoteness from Pondicherry is 90 Km and takes 2 hours drive
  • The distance from Kanchipuram is 70 Km and takes 2 hours drive


Chennai (70 Km – 2 hours drive) is the nearest railway station.