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Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Mahabalipuram

Located in the state of Tamil Nadu, Mahabalipuram is a beautiful town which is also known as Mamallapuram. This beautiful place is popular for its cultural diversity and heritage. This town is referred to as the “Temple town by the Sea.” Apart from temples, Mahabalipuram has many tourist attractions which you must explore once in a lifetime. For a splendid view of this town, explore its beaches and admire nature. This place is the perfect destination for a family vacation, solo trip or fun loving tourist, if you are one of them let’s book your ticket, pack your bag and get ready to explore this amazing tourist destination.

Tourist Attraction to Visit in Mahabalipuram

Here we are going to share the best places to visit in Mahabalipuram.

India Seashell Museum

The India Seashell Museum is a museum which is one of a kind in the type of Museums in India as it is based on Sealife only.  Spanning over 1 acre of land, this museum houses around 40,000 species of shells and also conch and different types of minerals extracted from sea. There is also an aquarium where you can see different varieties of fishes like star fish, sharks etc. The India Seashell Museum houses the ‘Breath Maria’ which is one of the only four in the whole world. The latest additions to the museum are dinosaurs, yes you heard it right dinosaurs are the latest addition to the Indian Seashell Museum. Many mechanical models of T-Rex, Velociraptors and other dinosaurs can be seen in the Dinosaur museum of the India Seashell museum. 

Panch Ratha

The Panch Rathas also known as the Five Rathas of the Pandavas from Mahabharat is a place of historical relevance in Mahabalipuram. Each Rathas are carved from a single rock and is an exquisite example of Dravidian Architecture. The rathas or chariots are situated in an order of size with the highest ratha of Dharamraj being the first followed by Bhima, Arjuna, Nakul Sahdev and Draupadi ratha. Huge Elephant structures can also be seen beside the Rathas. If you are an architecture lover then the Panch Rathas must be in your bucket list to see on your visit to Mahabalipuram.     

Shore Temples

The Shore temple is one of the oldest temples in South India which was built during the reign of the Pallava Kings Rajasimha and Narasimhavarman II. Since the temples are situated at the coast of Bay of Bengal thus they are referred as the Shore temples. There are three sanctums in the two temples of which two belong to Lord Shiva and one belongs to Lord Vishnu. The shore temple holds a very significant religious importance to the locals. Some of the temples are submerged deep into the ocean and one can cruise into the ocean to see those temples. Sometimes when the water level is low some of the shoe temples can be visible as well. Shore Temple is one of the best places to visit in Mahabalipuram.

Tiger Caves

Situated 5 Km away from Mahabalipuram at the shores of Bay of Bengal, the Tiger Cave is a place loved by people due to its architectural structure. You may not find any real tigers near the caves as the name may suggest. The caves get its name because of the 11 tiger heads which are curved on the entrance walls of the caves. It is believed that this tiger carving resembles a mythological animal called Yali which is believed to be a cross between a lion and tiger thus this place is also known as Yali Mandapam. You can also see the carving of Goddess Durga on top of the tiger. This place makes a good spot of picnics and since it looks like an open theatre it is also used for some cultural activity as well. It is believed that the Pallava king used to address their people from this place. 

Arjuna’s Penance

Also referred to as the ‘Descent of the Ganges’, Arjuna's Penance is one of the largest rock cut relief in the world. It is one of the most popular places which you can visit on your trip to Mahabalipuram. There are two stories related to the structure one which takes back to the Mahabharata times when Arjuna performed several austerities for getting Lord Shiva's weapon and the other story being the story of Bhagirath ho also performed severe austerities for bringing Goddess Ganga down to earth to free his childs from curse. The symbolism of the relief is in support of both the stories which makes it an attractive spot for historians, tourists, scholars and academic students who are interested in knowing the cultural and mythological past of India.  

Covelong Beach

Situated a few miles from Mahabalipuram, the Covelong Beach in Covelong Village is one of the best beaches in Chennai. It is one of the few beaches on the East Coast where surfing takes place. The view of Silver sand with palm trees and waves crashing on the shores feels exotic. You can do various activities on Covelong Beach like Surfing, Parasailing, Boating and Fishing. You can also rent a motorbike for roaming around on the beach. It is interesting to note that the first surfing school in India was opened here. The waves of Covelong beach are calm and gentle which makes it ideal for surfing.

Mahishasur Mardini Caves

An epitome of 7th century architecture the Mahishasur Mardini Caves is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Mahabalipuram. The Mahishasur Mardini caves consist of a long columned verandah and three sanctums. The caves gets its name from the carving on the caves walls here you can see a scene where Goddess Durga is slaving the Buffalo headed demon Mahishasur thus getting her name Mahishusur Mardini. You can also see the carving of Lord Vishnu on the seven headed snake the Sheshnag. You can also see some of the scenes from the Puranas also which are carved on the walls. Since the caves are situated at the top of a hill thus you can get a good view of the surroundings as well. 

Mahabalipuram Beach

Located at the shores of Bay of Bengal, the Mahabalipuram Beaches is one of the best tourist places in Mahabalipuram. Being located at the seashore the beach comprises some rock cut sculptures which are treat to the eyes. The beach is also famous for the massive Rathas, stunning caves, chariots and temples which makes it a perfect spot for spending holiday. If you are a windsurfer lover or a swimming lover then you will be having an amazing experience on these beaches. This beach is a great spot for spending some family and quality time with your loved ones. If you want a break from your daily hustle bustle and office deadlines then this bech is your stop to relax in Mahabalipuram.

Krishna’s Butterball

Krishna’s butterball is also known as the “Stone of sky God.” It is a strange 250 ton rock boulder which is standing on the slope. Due to its mysterious senses, this is among top tourist destinations because it refuses to give in to gravity and its reason is unknown. 

To spend quality time with family or children this is the perfect place where you can sit and chit chat peacefully. Photographers also love this place because they click pictures from different angles. The perfect month to spend time at Krishna’s butterball is from November to February.  The opening timing of this place is from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM everyday and the entry charges are 40 INR for Indians and 600 for Foreigners.

Mahabalipuram LightHouse

Built by Pallava King Mahendra Pallava, Mahabalipuram lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses of India. In 1887 the first light was commissioned in this lighthouse. In 2011 this lighthouse was opened for tourists to enjoy the view of Mahabalipuram from here. If you have a plan to explore this place then you must visit between 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. The entry charges for Indians are 10 INR and 25 INR for foreigners. For children, it is only 5 INR. 

How to Reach Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram has various attractions where you can visit for a memorable trip. So, just have a look at how you can reach Mahabalipuram. 

The transportation mode may depend on the budget of travelers. Mahabalipuram is a well-connected town by road, so you can take an AC or Non-AC bus from Chennai, Pondicheri, Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram to this town. 

The nearest railway station of Mahabalipuram is Chengalpattu Junction which connects Chennai and various parts of Tamil Nadu via express and local trains.

For air travel, travelers need to reach Chennai airport which is the nearest airport from Mahabalipuram which is almost 55 KM far from this town. Travelers can take flights from Delhi to Chennai and then from the airport travelers can hire a cab or taxi to reach Mahabalipuram.

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