Home to UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples, dreamy sunsets and spiritually-uplifting energy, Mahabalipuram is perhaps one of the most visited places in Tamil Nadu. Locally known as Mamallapuram, this was once the capital of the Pallava Empire. From exciting water sports to classic statuettes, the place is a delight for voyagers. Feel the shore underneath your feet at the Mahabalipuram beach and indulge in some super fun beach activities such as wind surfing and sea diving. The temples here have a special feature in common, they are built in the form of chariots with open air sanctoriums. The Shore Temple, standing strong like a marvellous rock-cut stone and overlooking the sea is known as the last creation of the Pallava kings. Another wonder in Mahabalipuram is the Panch Rathas, the five monuments that were etched out of a single rock in the 7th century. Pack your travel bags to explore the incredible Indian history by discovering the ageless stories of temples and their incredible architecture. You can get a bus from Koyembedu in Chennai or Pondicherry.
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit Mahabalipuram is from November to February
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this complex is made up of one large and two small temples. These were built during the the 8th Century AD during the time of King Narasimhavarmana II. This place during that time was an important port and a center for trade and business activities. This is known as the Shore Temple Complex as this is very close to the sea and a part of the coastal area on the banks of the Bay of Bengal. People who visit this place make sure to take a dip in the sea before worshipping here.
Mahabalipuram light house
Lighthouse: This lighthouse is over a century old and still stands strong. Next to this is India's OLDEST lighthouse which is nearly 1400 years old! The lighthouse is open to tourists and one can get panoramic views of the entire town and the sea coast from here. Beware, there are a lot of monkeys roaming in this area who may snatch your belongings away like it took our water bottle! There is an entry fee for the Lighthouse.
Krishna's Butter Ball
Mahabalipuram is a place known for its natural rock formations and this is also one of those. This is a very interesting formation and is a huge balancing rock. The name is such because it seems like a dollop of butter. According to legends and tales, the baby Lord Krishna had an ever lasting quench for butter. For this he would often steal from his mother's kitchen and this rock also seems to be one of those dollops which he would have stolen during his childhood. This place is never very crowded and the shady rock is ideal for an afternoon nap or as a background for some interesting clicks.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and under the supervision of the Archeological Survey of India, this is a monument complex in the city of Mahabalipuram in the Kanchipuram District. This is a part of the Coromandel Coast on the Bay of Bengal. These are known as Pancha Rathas because each of the monuments are built in the shape of chariots or rathas. Each of these are monolitihic structures and are built of one granite block each. From beginning to end, these are the Dharmaraja ratha, Bhima Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Nakula Sahadeva Ratha and Draupadi Ratha. These were built during the time of the Pallava Dynasty rulers Mahendravarman and his son Narasimhavarman I. These are often mistaken as temples but were never used for the purpose since these were never completed at all after the death of Narasimhavarman I. Also, this place has simply no relation with the Pandavas from Mahabharata. The names were given just to make the rathas prominent and sitinguishable.
This is the World's largest bas- relief and is a stone carved group opf monuments with more than 100 types of sculptures of gods, goddesses, birds, animals and other such figures. It is said that this is the place in which Arjuna from mahabharata practiced very hard penance in the prayer of Lord Shiva. This was to please the lord who could bless him with the divine bow with which he would later kill the kauravas. This is the reason this place is called as Arjuna's Penance. Also, once Bhagiratha Sage stood on one leg and prayed to the lord continuously so that he could change the course of the River Ganga and send it here. he was later blessed and he River Ganga started flowing here. This is why this place is also caled as the 'Descent of the Ganges'.
Krishnas Butter Ball
As we have heard a lot of stories about gods and goddesses, the tales about Lord Krishna are the most popular. We have been hearing the stories of the sweet baby Krishna who was very naughty and loved butter. He would always steal from his mother's kitchen and share it with his friends too. This balancing rock in Mahabaleshwar is also refrerred to as a dollop of butter Lord Krishna would have stolen during his childhood. Not a very croewded place you can come here for picnics or just to spend time on a lazy afternoon.
Five Rathas Cross
The Five Rathas: There are five "Rathas" or chariots here which are monolithic rock structures. Each rath is differently carved and they are named after the five Pandavas and Draupadi. There is an almost life size monolithic statue of an elephant here. There is a nominal entry fee here.
The cave temples of Mahabalipuram are a prime attraction here and is also a UNESCO Heritage Site. This is a group of cave temples which were built many years ago and now fall under the category of historic monuments. The Krishna Mandapam is one among these and also the largest of all. This is dedicated to Lord Krishna who is extremely revered by the local people and also is the hero of the most of the legends popular here. As you enter the temple you wilk still find it beautifully decorated with the carvings of the various incidents of Krishna's life. The strong adulthood of Lord Krishna is what is focussed on more. The most attractive incident carved is when the Lord lifted the whole Govardhana Mountain to save the people from heavy rains.
Caves and Mandapams: there are various mandapams or halls all through the monument complex. Some of them are Krishna mandapam (the largest cave), Varaha mandapam, Ramanuja mandapam. And several caves like Mahishasura Mardini cave temple and the tiger cave( this is situated several KMs outside the Mahabalipuram monument complex).