The ancient city of Mamallapuram is well known for its temples. Since it is only 58 kilometers away from Chennai, it can be accessed conveniently. There are a number of monolithic sculptures and rock carvings.
The Varaha Caves are mandapams or halls that are small in size and have been carved out of rock. In this structure there are carvings of a couple of incarnations of Lord Vishnu, protector of the universe - Vamana and Vishnu-Varaha. There are other important attractions like four panels of Pallava doorkeepers, Mahisasurmardini Cave and Dharmraja Cave.
Rathas could be found at the southernmost tip of Mamallapuram. They are elegant and large structures and are situated among casuarina trees. There are five rathas that are devoted to Pandava brothers. There are different types of rathas pertaining to individual brothers.
The Krishna Mandapam or temple has been sculpted out of rock. It is among the first of its kind in Mamallapuram. The paintings on the walls of this temple depict various events from the life of Shri Krishna. The most famous painting is that of Shri Krishna picking up the Govardhan Hill for protecting his folks from the wrath of Indra, king of gods.
The shore temple is a unique one as it has three temples devoted to two gods - Vishnu and Shiva. It is regarded as one of the archaeological masters of India. A major attraction of the Shore Temple is the sculpture of Nandi, which is a bull and loyal companion of Shiva.