Divine Temples in Mahabalipuram for a Religious Pilgrimage

Temples in Mahabalipuram

Famous for its intricately carved temples and rock-cut caves, Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram as it is famously known, is a historically important tourist location situated on the Coromandel Coast alon (Read More)g the Bay of Bengal, in the state of Tamil Nadu. Archaeologically, excavations of ancient ruins have led to its fame & rediscovery. Once the abode of the famous demon king Mahabali, Mahabalipuram is an important place for lovers of mythology and culture.

Here is the list of 10 Divine Temples in Mahabalipuram for a Religious Pilgrimage

1. Shore Temple

Shore Temple
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Built during the 7th century, Shore Temple is one of the oldest South Indian temples constructed in the Dravidian style and depicts the royal taste of the Pallava dynasty. The work of the temple has been listed amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. It is located in Mahabalipuram and is one of the most photographed monuments in India situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal.

Timings: 8 AM - 5 PM
Entry Fee: INR 10 (Indians), INR 250 (Foreign Nationals)
No 65, tkm road, Mahabalipuram

2. Ganesh Ratha Temple

Ganesh Ratha Temple

A fine example of the of monolith Indian rock-cut architecture dating back to the late seventh century, the Ganesh Rath was built during the reign of Mahendravarman I. Initially, it was dedicated to Lord Shiva and housed a Shivalinga in the complex, but later on, the Linga was removed, and now, Lord Ganesh is worshipped here.

Timings: 6 AM-12 PM, 3 PM - 8 PM
Location: Mada Koil St, Mahabalipuram

3. Varaha Cave Temple

Varaha Cave Temple

Varaha Cave Temple is an exquisite rock-cut Hindu temple located in Mahabalipuram. Created during the reign of Narasimhavarman I Mahamalla, it is one of greatest examples of Pallava art. The temple dates back to the 7th century and bears testimony to the ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis. It houses an idol of Lord Vishnu in his Varaha form, a boar lifting Mother Earth.

Timings: 6 AM - 6 PM
Location: Mada Koil St, Mahabalipuram

4. Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple

Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple

Constructed in a Dravidian style, Sthalasayana Perumal Temple also called Thirukadalmallai, is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Lord Vishnu. He is worshipped here as Sthalasayana Perumal with his consort Lakshmi as Nilamangai Thayar. The annual festival of Bhoothatazhwar Avata festival is also celebrated here during the Tamil month of Aipasi (October-November).

Timings: 6 AM - 12 PM, 3 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: S Mada St, Mahabalipuram

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5. Olakkannesvara Temple

Olakkannesvara Temple

Olakkannesvara Temple, also known as the Old Lighthouse, is a structural temple built in the 8th century. The structure is made out of grey-white granite and has a shikar on the top. Owing to its location on a hillock, it provides a pleasing view of the town. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, but the worship has been ceased after the 19th century.

Timings: 6 AM - 6 PM
Entry Fee: No entry fee
Location: Mada Koil St, Mahabalipuram

6. Sri Karukathamman Temple

Sri Karukathamman Temple

At the outskirts of Mahabalipuram, by the East Coast Road connecting Chennai to Pondicherry, the Sri Karukathamman Temple is dedicated to Mother Amman. She is seated in a Sukhasana position and the interiors are colourful, with exquisite sculptures. It is believed that there was once a woman who was cursed by his ancestors, disallowing her to have a child. With Amman’s blessings, she gave birth to a beautiful child. As a temple of child boons and family prosperity, Mother Amman’s blessings are sought by many.

Location: 176, Tirukkalukkundram Rd, Mahabalipuram

7. Mukunda Nayanar Temple

Mukunda Nayanar Temple

The Mukunda Nayanar Temple, located near Mahabalipuram town, is a temple that was discovered during the neighbouring Saluvankuppam excavations. Found buried under 12 feet of sand, this small temple is architecturally similar to the Dharmaraja Ratha. It is thus believed that this temple was built under the kingship of Rajasimha Pallava. It is an east facing double-storey temple and has an ardha-mantapa which stands on two circular pillars. Above the pillars, a cluster of small shrines has been placed. 

Location: E Raja St, Mahabalipuram

8. Five Rathas

Five Rathas
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The Five Rathas, also known as Panch Rathas, is an exemplary set of rock temples. They are excellent examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. These temples are built in the same shape as pagodas and greatly resemble Buddhist shrines and monasteries. The rathas are associated with the great epic Mahabharata.

Timings: 6 AM - 6 PM
Location: 58, W Raja St, Mahabalipuram

9. Atiranachanda Cave Temple

Atiranachanda Cave Temple

Situated in a hamlet close to Mahabalipuram, Atiranachanda Cave Temple is a fine example of rock temple excavations among the temples in Mahabalipuram. Idols of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and Parvati Devi are placed inside. It is believed this temple dates back to the time of Pallava king Mahendravarman I.

Location: Krishanankaranai. 11 Km from the city centre

10. Krishna Temple

Krishna Temple

The Krishna Temple in Mahabalipuram is a famous site near the beach, initially an open-air temple until the 16th century when it was enclosed within a mandap during the Vijayanagar Empire. The temple's walls narrate the story of Krishna lifting the Govardhan Mountain to protect his people and depict him enjoying playful moments with the milkmaids. This cave temple, now enclosed, attracts numerous visitors daily and holds the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Location: Krishna cave, Mahabalipuram.
Timings: The temple is open from 6 AM to 6 PM.

Do share your experience or views on these ancient temples in the comment section below.

This post was published by Harshitha

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