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15 Famous Places To Visit In Mahabalipuram

15 Famous Places To Visit In Mahabalipuram 2024

Situated along the picturesque Coromandel Coast of southern India, Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a captivating destination that seamlessly blends history, culture, and natural beauty. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has long been revered as a hub of ancient architectural wonders and seaside serenity, making it one of India's best places to visit. With its rich history dating back to the Pallava dynasty, Mahabalipuram is a treasure trove of stunning temples, intricate rock-cut monuments, and idyllic beachfront landscapes. Mahabalipuram tourist attractions attract many tourists owing to their historical, cultural and spiritual significance. Whether you're an avid history buff, a beach enthusiast, or a traveller seeking a tranquil escape, Mahabalipuram promises an enriching and rejuvenating experience.

In this guide, we will take you on a virtual tour of the best places in Mahabalipuram, inviting you to explore its marvels and uncover the secrets of this mesmerising coastal town. If you are wondering the best time to visit Mahabalipuram, October to February is considered best due to the delightful weather conditions.

List Of 15 Best Places To Visit In Mahabalipuram

  • Shore Temple | Unparalleled Architecture
  • Pancha Rathas | The Five Rathas
  • Arjuna's Penance | Descent of the Ganges
  • Mahabalipuram Beach | Scintillating Beach
  • Krishna's Butter Ball | Beyond Science
  • Tiger Cave | A Hidden Gem
  • Crocodile Bank | Appreciate Conservation Efforts
  • Covelong Beach | Happening Picnic Spot
  • Alamparai Fort | Beautiful Surroundings
  • India Seashell Museum | Amazing Sea Elements
  • Mahishasura Mardini Cave Temple | Divine Bliss
  • Krishna Cave Temple | Carvings Narrating Divine Tales
  • Ganesh Ratha Temple | A good example of the of Indian rock-cut architecture
  • Trimurti Cave | Portrayal of the Hindu Trinity
  • Mamallapuram Lighthouse | Captivating Views

1. Shore Temple | Unparalleled Architecture

The Shore Temple, one of the Mahabalipuram UNESCO heritage sites, is one of the oldest temples in South India, dating back to the 8th century. The temple's location by the sea offers breathtaking sunrise and sunset views. The intricate sculptures and rock-cut architecture make it a visual masterpiece. It's a place of worship and a testament to ancient craftsmanship. The Mahabalipuram temple timings are between 6 AM to 6 PM.

  • Major Attractions: The temple complex has three shrines and a serene beach nearby.
  • Best Things to Do: Witness the sunrise or sunset, explore the temple complex, and take in the historical significance.
  • Distance from Mahabalipuram: Located in Mahabalipuram itself.

2. Pancha Rathas | The Five Rathas

Pancha Rathas is a monolithic rock-cut temple complex that resembles chariots. Each ratha is dedicated to different deities and showcases a distinct architectural style. The precision of carving these structures from a single piece of granite is astonishing. The rathas represent a unique experiment in rock-cut architecture.

  • Major Attractions: The five rathas are named after the Pandava brothers, each with intricate carvings.
  • Best Things to Do: Explore the rathas, admire the intricate detailing, and learn about the symbolism.
  • Distance from Mahabalipuram: Located within Mahabalipuram.

3. Arjuna's Penance | Descent of the Ganges

Arjuna's Penance is a massive rock relief that narrates episodes from the Mahabharata. It is considered one of the largest open-air rock sculptures in the world. The scale and storytelling through stone carvings are awe-inspiring. The natural setting adds to its charm.

  • Major Attractions: The enormous bas-relief panel showcases various figures, animals, and deities.
  • Best Things to Do: Marvel at the detailed carvings, try to interpret the stories, and appreciate the artistic skills of the ancient craftsmen.
  • Distance from Mahabalipuram: Within Mahabalipuram, a short walk from the main sites.

4. Mahabalipuram Beach | Scintillating Beach

Mahabalipuram Beach is a picturesque sandy beach known for its rock-cut sculptures and a beautiful backdrop of temples. The tranquil ambience, clean shores, and the juxtaposition of ancient art with natural beauty make it an unforgettable spot.

  • Major Attractions: The shoreline with various sculptures, including the famous "Descent of the Ganges."
  • Best Things to Do: Relax on the beach, explore the sculptures, and enjoy water sports.
  • Distance from Mahabalipuram: Located in the heart of Mahabalipuram.

5. Krishna's Butter Ball | Beyond Science

Krishna's Butter Ball is a massive, precariously balanced boulder that seems to defy the laws of physics. The boulder's improbable balance is a sight to behold, and the surrounding greenery adds to its appeal.

  • Major Attractions: The gigantic granite boulder and the surrounding park.
  • Best Things to Do: Marvel at the boulder, take pictures, and enjoy the lush surroundings.
  • Distance from Mahabalipuram: Located within Mahabalipuram.

6. Tiger Cave | A Hidden Gem

The Tiger Cave is a rock-cut temple likely used as a mandapa for various events. It is named after the tiger-head carvings on its facade. The simplistic yet elegant carvings and the serene ambience make it a peaceful and lesser-visited spot.

  • Major Attractions: The rock-cut architecture and the surrounding garden.
  • Best Things to Do: Explore the cave, appreciate the carvings and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
  • Distance from Mahabalipuram: About 5 km from the town centre.

7. Crocodile Bank | Appreciate Conservation Efforts

The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a conservation centre for crocodiles, alligators, and various reptiles. It offers a unique opportunity to observe and learn about these ancient reptiles up close. The park also promotes conservation efforts.

  • Major Attractions: Various species of crocodiles and alligators in enclosures.
  • Best Things to Do: Take a guided tour, learn about the reptiles, and support their conservation efforts.
  • Distance from Mahabalipuram: Approximately 14 km away.

8. Covelong Beach | Happening Picnic Spot