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Mahabalipuram Tourism | How to Plan a Trip to Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is a magnificent living example of the Pallava art which has extraordinary historical monuments that have preserved the artwork of that era. Famous for its historical monuments, the tourist attractions in Mahabalipuram belong to the Pallava dynasty.


  • Draupadi Ratha Historical place in Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram At a Glance
  • Average Climate:17ºC - 33ºC
  • Best Time to Visit:October - March
  • STD Code:04114

Mahabalipuram Travel Guide

Located 58 km southwards of Chennai, Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is one of the most popular destinations of Tamil Nadu. There are 2 legends behind the names of this place. The place is named Mahabalipuram after its ancient ruler King Mahabali who was killed by Lord Vishnu.

The name Mamallapuram comes from Pallava ruler Narsimha Varman I. He was a great wrestler who was given the title of Mamallan. With an exotic sea line of 20 km, it attracts national as well as foreign tourists alike in huge numbers. Mahabalipuram was developed as a thriving seaport by the rulers of Pallava Dynasty, between 7th and 10 century. 650 - 750 AD was measured as the ‘Golden Age of Pallavas’.

Mahabalipuram is also known for being home to Group of Monuments that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The place is celebrated for its temples in the form of Rathas (chariots), Mandapams (cave sanctuaries), massive open-air remnants like the famed 100 ft long Arjuna Penance/ Descent of the Ganges, as well as the Rivage temple that comprises of several splendid sculptures of Lord Shiva. Handicrafts, Sculpture Workshops, Sculpture and Art college, and exotic sea shore of Mahabalipuram are prime charmers for the tourists visiting the place all year round.

These architectural gems were added by UNESCO in its world heritage list in the year 1984. Organized between the months of December and January, Mamallapuram Dance Festival draws champions of various classical dance forms such as Mohini Attam, Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali and Kuchipudi. This event is attended by tourists from all around the country and the globe.

Places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Temples and heritage monuments are the best places to visit in Mahabalipuram. Being the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city boasts a lot of these in number and each one of them being a gem in its own ways. If you are traveling to this wonderful city of Tamil Nadu, you need to make a list of places that you will have to cover.

Temples in Mahabalipuram

Although Mahabalipuram is an ideal escapade for all kinds of travelers but the temples still remain the prime attractions of this place. Built between 700 and 728 AD, Shore Temple is one of the best attractions of this place, the city offers much more for the devotees. While there are certainly a lot of temples that can be visited on your trip to Mahabalipuram; here is the list of temples in Mahabalipuram that can’t be missed.

  • The Shore Temple
  • Varaha Cave Temple
  • Krishna Mandpam
  • Mahishasuramardini Cave Temple
  • Ganesh Ratha Temple
  • Tiger Cave Temple
  • Sri Sthala Sayanaperumal Temple

Monuments in Mahabalipuram

Embossed like a tag on the face of Tamil Nadu; innumerable boastful, ancient, and charismatic monuments are the top-notch attractions of the city. Heritage monuments and Mahabalipuram go hand in hand. These monuments are centuries old and display remarkable craftsmanship and architectural magnificence. People from across the globe come here to visit these monuments due to their inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Sights.

If you are planning on taking a trip to Mahabalipuram then missing out on the ancient monuments will leave your trip incomplete. Some of the finest monuments of the city include:

  • Descent of the Ganges
  • Monuments at Mahabalipuram
  • Arjuna's Penance
  • Pancha Rathas
  • Krishna's Butter Ball
  • Raya Gopuram

Museums in Mahabalipuram

Apart from beautiful sculptures on the temple walls and monuments; Mahabalipuram boasts a list of museums housing some interesting artifacts of the past.

Not just artifacts but paintings, coins and much more are places at these museums. Exploring the is one of the to-do things in Mahabalipuram.. Listed below are a few museums that you can visit on your trip.

  • India Seashell Museum
  • Sculpture Museum
  • Maritime Heritage Museum
  • Lighthouse Heritage Museum

Beaches in Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is located along the coast which is why it offers some of the finest beaches of India. Golden sand, beautiful sunset, and mouthwatering cuisines; all of these things make the beaches of this city a wonderful place to visit. If you love beach hopping or wish to spend some time with your travel partner at the beach, listed below are some places you can head to. Moreover, they offer a few water sports as well.

  • Wide Beach
  • Mahabalipuram Beach

Ancient Caves in Mahabalipuram

Interestingly, Mahabalipuram is dotted with a few ancient caves some of which are now turned into ancient cave temples, and some are converted into cave tourist destinations. More or less, these ancient caves are alluring and engaging to visit. Do not miss out on the above-mentioned cave temples and below-listed caves during your Mahabalipuram tour.

Best time to visit Mahabalipuram

Being located along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, the city experiences high temperatures in summers and a high level of humidity in monsoons. Therefore the best time to visit Mahabalipuram is from October to February when the place experiences winters.

The temperature takes a dip between these months and the moisture level also reduces considerably. You get a comfortable climate to explore the city of Mahabalipuram during winter.

Best months to visit Mahabalipuram:

From October to February

How to reach Mahabalipuram: By Air, Rail & Road

By Air By Rail By Road
The nearest airport to Mahabalipuram is Chennai International Airport.

The nearest railways station to Mahabalipuram is Chennai Junction. But it is well connected with Coimbatore, Madurai, Kochi, and Thiruvananthapuram. You can get down at any of these railway stations and find a cab or taxi to your destination.

Multiple buses ply from different cities of India to Mahabalipuram. Therefore if you prefer taking a bus you can visit here by one. You can take a road trip to the city as well.

Distance from Mahabalipuram: 55 km Distance from Mahabalipuram: 57 km -
Time: 1:30 hours (approximately Time: 1:30 hours (approximately -


Best Hotels in Mahabalipuram

Being such an active tourist destination in Tamil Nadu, Mahabalipuram boasts a wide range of accommodation options. Right from hostels to luxury resorts; there is everything you want. So depending upon your budget, you can choose a package and pick up the hotel you wish to stay in.

Here are some of the best hotels in Mahabalipuram:

  • Taj Fisherman’s Cove Resort & Spa
  • Alice Paradise by Moon Rankers
  • Hotel Mamalla Heritage
  • Meya Beach Walk Hotel
  • Oceanside Mahabalipuram