24 Best Tourist Places in Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram, sometimes called Mamallapuram, is a small yet charming town in India's Tamil Nadu province. The area is known as the "temple town by the sea" since it is blessed with some of Mahabalipuram's top tourist attractions, including some magnificent temples. Mahabalipuram is famous for its legacy and wealth of cultural traditions.
In addition, the location of ancient rock engravings dates to the 7th century. Most temples and caverns display Pallava art and Dravidian architectural design. You can enjoy a beautiful view at Mahabalipuram Beach or explore the Sculpture Museum in this town. Shore Temple, which is close to the water, is one of the top tourist attractions in Mahabalipuram.
The Shore Temple, Krishna's Butterball, Pancha Rathas, Varaha Cave Temple, Descent of the Ganges, Group of Monuments, Mahabalipuram Beach, Thirukadalmallai, Krishna Mandapam, India Seashell Museum, and Mahishasuramardini Mandapa are some of the main attractionsin Mahabalipuram.
1. Shore Temple:
The Shore Temple, which dates to the 8th century AD, is one of the earliest temples with historic structures, sculptures, and architectural features. It is one of Mahabalipuram's most popular tourist attractions and is referred to in mythology as one of the Seven Pagodas.
The temple's magnificent top, decorated in carvings and sculptures, is another feature that adds to its somewhat natural beauty. The supporting stone that prevents erosion has helped the temple maintain its stability. The Bay of Bengal shoreline, where Shore Temple is situated, provides a stunning view of the endless ocean. This structure has three temples, two of which are devoted to Lord Shiva and one to Lord Vishnu. The area is highly tidy, and its position has made it a popular tourist destination.
2. Pancha Rathas:
The name Pancha means five; hence the location features five rock-built Rathas. It represents the growth or progress of Dravidian architects. In comparison, there is a connection between the Rathas and the Mahabharat, the temple also represents early Buddhist kings and shrines. The first rath to be mentioned is Drupati's, which is located beside the entrance on the right side. Nakula, Sahadev Rath and Bhima are in the front, while Arjuna's rath is next to Draupadi's. The biggest is Dharamraj Yudhistar's Rath. This destination appears to be among Mahabalipuram's top tourist attractions.
3. Descent of the Ganges:
The massive Descent of the Ganges open-air artwork, which was carved onto two rugged sandstone outcrops, is one of Mahabalipuram's main attractions. Given that it has some beautiful carvings and sculptures, this is an excellent location to spend time understanding history with your family.
This fascinating rock relief offers delicate and lifelike carvings that you should examine and always remember. This memorial was erected by Pallava dynasty King Narsimhavarman, whose unique creativity was utilized by the carvers to fashion a distinctive and attractive rock-cut sculpture.
4. Group Of Monuments at Mahabalipuram:
The monument structure was constructed between the 7th and 8th centuries, during the era of the Pandavas. The monuments include one of the world's most extensive open-air rock reliefs. There are too many old temples present at this destination. And it appears that this destination is ideal for history lovers.
It is good to hire a guide who can help you learn the history of each temple because it is spread out over a vast area.
If one wants to visit every temple attentively, it will take them a whole day to complete the trip. All of the structures are kept up nicely, and neat, and the carvings and sculptures are distinctive from one another.
5. Krishna's Butterball:
The mysterious 250-ton rock stone known as The Krishna's Butterball is poised or resting at an angle on a slope, and the Stone of Sky God is the name given to it. Due to the mysterious scenery it presents, this is one of Mahabalipuram's most exciting visitor destinations. Nobody is entirely clear why this enormous stone, known as Krishna's butterball, seems to defy gravity.
This location is ideal for having fun times with family and children. Tourists enjoy standing around the rock and taking photos of themselves. Older people should go to Krishna's Butterball to relax and converse. Children can also play to their hearts' content in a sizable open space.
6. Varaha Cave Temple:
A Hindu temple carved out of rock called Varaha Cave Temple is a stunning example of ancient South Indian architecture. In Mahabalipuram, it is one of the must-see attractions and is located behind Arjuna's Penance. It has some of the most extraordinary sculptures and is erected on a large stone block.
A simple veranda with two independent pillars and two pillars connected to the side walls may be observed at the temple's entrance. The four pillars are made to look like horned lions and welcome signs. This destination is still so gorgeous and underestimated simultaneously, and the carvings are still very noticeable now. The Varaha Cave Temple appears to be one of Mahabalipuram's undiscovered beauties.
7. Mahabalipuram Beach:
One of the main places to visit Mahabalipuram to satisfy visitors' eyes is Mahabalipuram Beach. Most visitors like to unwind while taking in the beautifully carved rock sculptures and listening to the sounds of the waves, and it exhibits the best combination of the arts and natural surroundings.
It also provides caverns, rathas, temples, and chariots, giving locals and foreign guests a whole vacation package. A school of art and culture, a facility for extracting snake venom, and a crocodile bank hosting over 5000 crocodiles of six distinct kinds are among the attractions that can be found near the shore.
The Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple, one of the 108 Divyadesam, is devoted to Lord Sthalasayana Perumal (Vishnu) and Goddess Nilamangai Thayar. It is also known as Thirukadalmallai (Lakshmi). Because of its superb carving, it is recognized as one of Mahabalipuram's tourist attractions. Thirukadalmallai is among the outstanding examples of Dravidian architecture.
The fact that this destination is so beautiful and tranquil stands this temple apart from all the others. The priests make sure to preserve the tranquillity of this location even when people from all over the world come here, which gives the temple a unique feel. One may immediately feel an increase in spiritual energy when entering this temple, which is among the oldestin Mahabalipuram.
9. Krishna Mandapam:
Krishna Mandapam is well-known among tourists for its caves and magnificent rock sculptures that depict some of the region's historical past. It is also the biggest of the caves etched into the stone at Mahabalipuram. The temple honoured Lord Krishna and was erected in the middle of the 7th century.
One of Mahabalipuram's ten such cave temples, it is also one of the oldest. With nine reliefs cut into the surface of the cave, each representing a separate Indian mythological event, the architecture of this cave is basic yet spectacular. The most beautiful scene sculpted here depicts Lord Krishna raising the entire Govardhana mountain to protect the villagers from rainstorms.
10. India Seashell Museum:
Do you want to go somewhere unique and different? Well, this destination will be ideal in every way. One of the distinctive destinations to see in Mahabalipuram is the India Seashell Museum, the largest museum of its kind. Regardless of age, most visitors love this destination more than anywhere else.
The museum has around 40,000 different kinds of exhibits. The museum's design creates the impression of the water and its inhabitants. Additionally, it has a storefront called Maya Bazaar, where you may buy various items relating to marine life. Additionally, inside its grounds are a Seafood Restaurant and a beautiful aquarium.
11. Mahishasuramardini Mandapa:
The temple known as Mahishasuramardini Mandapa was created in the 7th century, a very long time ago. Undoubtedly, it will be exciting to see this stunning antique architecture. In the year 1984, UNESCO designated it as a world-historic site. This temple, which is still unfinished, is situated at the foot of a diorite hillock.
One of Mahabalipuram's fourteen cave temples, it contains many exquisite reliefs that exhibit the artistic brilliance of Pallava sculptures. Four columns and two pilasters decorate the entrance of the cave temple; the floor and roof are still unfinished. The columns have a variety of designs, and each column features a different story or incident involving a God or Goddess.
12. Mahabalipuram Light House:
This is a recent addition to Tamil Nadu's list of tourist attractions. Before 2010, people couldn't enter the lighthouse and enjoy the view. However, it was finally made accessible to tourists in 2011, so they could enjoy the stunning view of the surroundings from here.
In this lighthouse, the first light was installed in 1887. The Pallava King Mahendra Pallava constructed India's first lighthouse, which dates back to 640 AD, near this modern one.
13. Ganesha Ratha:
Mahabalipuram also has a temple dedicated to Ganesha Ratha, and it was one of the ten rathas constructed from pink stone as part of the Pallava period monuments in Mahabalipuram. This scenery is somewhat different compared to the other locations on your tour.
This ratha, created during the periods of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I in the late 7th century, is a famous example of monolithic Indian stone design.
14. Sculpture Museum:
One of the top attractions in Mahabalipuram is the Sculpture Museum, which is close to the bus station. It contains more than 3,000 sculptures depicting figures from Hindu mythology, many of whom are significant both historically and in terms of old tales.
Experience the importance and magnificence of the sculptures and paintings created by historical artists as you go around this museum. They used various materials, including brass, cement, wood, and metal. This lovely sanctuary shows the Buddhist and Hindu faiths' history, artwork, and culture. Spend a day here if you enjoy art and history, and you will never forget the unforgettable experience.
15. Arjuna's Penance:
The Descent of the Ganges is another name for this beautiful edifice at Mahabalipuram. On two nearby stones, the megalith was engraved. Its stunning beauty cannot be fully appreciated without seeing it with your own eyes because the spectacular tower is 96 feet wide and 43 feet tall.
"Arjuna's Penance" is a crucial portion of the Mahabharata, while "Bhagirathi's Penance" is described in "The Descent of the Ganges." Every part of this megalith tells a unique tale. The ideal location for history lovers and photographers is this penance. The artworks are stunning and important historically.
16. Tiger Cave:
After a 5-kilometre hike from Mahabalipuram, people can relax in the Tiger Cave, which is located distant from the city's restrictions. On the top of these heads is a carving of the Goddess Durga. The Pallavas erected this monument in the 8th century on the Bay of Bengal coast, like most other Mahabalipuram structures. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is responsible for maintaining the site, which is now a well-liked picnic area.
17. Dharmaraja Ratha:
The Dharmaraja Ratha is one of the five "Ratha" temples, also referred to as the Pancha Rathas, located in Mahabalipuram. The pink granite stone was moulded into the monolithic Indian rock-cut style of architecture.
The end of the 7th century saw the erection of this cave temple, which had some of the most remarkable stone sculptures. This is one of the most incredible places to spend time with your family. Spend a fantastic time in this serene historical location while taking stunning pictures of the temple.
18. Shore Beach Temple:
On the beach at Mahabalipuram, close to the Bay of Bengal, lies the Mahabalipuram Shore Beach Temple, a place of cultural significance recognized by UNESCO. It was also the first stone building created by the Pallavas, who ruled when the temple was completed.
It's a monolithic edifice mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. At the time of the Indian Dance Festival, the temple is currently a hub of activity, and the lighthouse, sculpture galleries, and underwater temples are other attractions.
19. Olakkannesvara Temple:
The Olakkannesvara Temple, built entirely of greyish-white granite, is located on the Coromandel Coast, overlooking the Bay of Bengal. In the Dravidian architectural style of the 8th century, the Pallavas succeeded. Several statues of Lord Shiva meditating on the crest of Kailash Mountain may be seen on the temple's walls.
In "Olakkannesvara," God Shiva is shown as having a crescent moon on his head and a third eye (flame eye). Initially, the temple was known as Ulaikkannisvaram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Snapping photos in this region is prohibited since a nuclear power plant surrounds it. Using the nearby bus and taxi services, it is simple to get to the location via a well-connected network of roads.
20. Draupadi Ratha:
In Mahabalipuram's Pancha, the Ratha structure is where you'll find the Draupadi Ratha. This is a superb example of monolithic Indian rock-cut construction, which may excite you if you enjoy history. The Draupadi Ratha is designed to seem like a typical South Indian home.
Goddess Durga is shown in the carvings of this chariot seated on a lotus as a lion keeps guard all around it. Since 1984, the primary structure has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A long granite stone was used to cut out the entire chariot. Despite being named after Draupadi of the Mahabharata, the Pancha Pandavas' common spouse, this incomplete structure is dedicatedto Goddess Durga.
21. The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology:
Under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology, or MCBT, was recognized as a reptile zoo, a research institution for herpetology (the study of wildlife), and a registered trust.
It works to protect three vulnerable species of Indian crocodiles: the saltwater crocodile, the marsh or mugger crocodile, and the gharial. The facility periodically holds activities like a night safari, an underwater gharial exhibit, and Jaws 3 (feeding the crocodile, Jaw).
22. Raya Gopuram:
Raya Gopuram was erected by the Raya clan and is situated on the premises of Meenakshi Temple. Raya Gopuram is the most magnificent of all the Gopurams, despite only having one partially completed pillar. It is the Meenakshi Temple's most unique design feature.
The Meenakshi Temple's West direction is where this particular gopuram is situated, and from an away, the temple's appearance is appealing because of its unique carvings and incomplete structure. This is a significant and magnificent attraction for visitors to the Meenakshi temple.
23. Shri Dharmaraja Cave Temple:
The Shri Dharmaraja Cave Temple, situated next to the Mahishamardini cave on the south of Mamallapuram hill, has a fašade, Ardha-mandapa, and mukh-mandapa identical to those found in the Kotikal cave. Four-faced thin pillars were used to create a gap between the two mandapas.
Three inches above the mukha-mandapa, the Ardha-mandapa was erected. Three temple chambers for Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, and Lord Vishnu are accessible from the inner hall. It is a fantastic spot to come with your family and children and has some of the best sculptures on the stone. Although it is just close to the lighthouse, this placement on top of the hill makes it more appealing to tourists since it offers beautiful views from the temple.
24. Mahishasura Rock:
The best attraction in Mahabalipuram is the Mahishasura rock. This carved rock, seen in the corner of the Sea Shore Temple premises, is the most significant proportion of Mahabalipuram's old sculptures that have been destroyed over time.
The carvings of a lion face were made on this rock to attract tourists from all over the world and transmit knowledge of the Pallava dynasty all through the world. This location is quite tempting for tourists because it offers a beautiful sea view. When viewed from a distance, Mahishasura Rock appears to be a lone rock; yet, its presence is difficult to comprehend, and as a result, many people end up missing this sight.