Here are the top 23 tourist attractions to see in Mahabalipuram:

1. Shore Temple

4.3 /5 View 18+ photos

1 km
from city center
1 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

The Shore Temple lies in front of the Bay of Bengal, hence it is known by the name mentioned. Dating back to the 8th century AD, the structured temple is made out of granite chunks. The temple was constructed in such a way that it would overlook the Bay of Bengal at a Southern Chennai village called Mahabalipuram. The village was a busy port during the reign of Narasimhavarman II of the Pallava dynasty.

2. Mahabalipuram Beach

Must visit 3.7 /5

2 km
from city center
2 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Sunny days, sandy beaches and a rich history almost sum up Mahabalipuram in its entirety. The beach is beautiful, white and clean, and can be enjoyed abundantly by tourists.

3. Five Rathas

Must visit 3.5 /5

2 km
from city center
3 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

The Five Rathas, also known as Panch Rathas, is a exemplary set of rock temples. They are excellent examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture.

4. Arjuna's Penance

Must visit 4.2 /5 View 12+ photos

1 km
from city center
4 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

The Arjuna's Penance is an enormous rock-cut relief, one of the largest in the whole world, situated in Mahabalipuram of Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu. It is also known by the name 'Descent of the Ganges' because the structure depicts either or both of these two significant and symbolic events of Hindu mythology; thus making this attraction spot a favourite among historians, scholars, academics as well as tourists who are enthusiastic about the cultural past of India.

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5. Alamparai Fort

4.2 /5

45 km
from city center
5 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Situated about 50 km from Mahabalipuram near a village called Kadappakkam, Alamparai Fort is now mostly in ruins, however it is still a great place to visit. This fort, overlooking the sea is one of the most unknown historic places in Tamil Nadu.

6. Sadras

Must visit 3.5 /5

49 km
from city center
6 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Sadras is an exquisite beach resort that has taken full advantage of the beautiful landscape. The beaches that surround Mahabalipuram are beset by beautiful, green casuarinas groves.

7. Tiger Caves

Must visit 3.5 /5

4 km
from city center
7 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Tiger's Caves is near the coastal village of Salurankuppam that is only 5 kilometers to the north of Mahabalipuram. This spectacular mandap contains a shrine that is solely dedicated to the wondrous goddess Durga.

8. Crocodile Bank

Must visit 3.5 /5

14 km
from city center
8 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

The Crocodile Bank is located 14 kilometers from Mahabalipuram. It was established by herpetologist Romulus Whitaker in 1976. It holds a varied species of Indian and African alligators and crocodiles.

9. Covelong Beach

Must visit 3.5 /5

17 km
from city center
9 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

The village of Kovalam was once upon a time a small fishing village that was located 15 kilometers from Mahabalipuram. Today, that fishing village is still there, but has also expanded to become one of the most exotic and spectacular beach resorts in all of India.

10. India Seashell Museum

2 km
from city center
10 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

The newly built sea shell museum of Mahabalipuram is one of its kind in the country and the largest one in Asia. It is basically a repository of various kinds of sea shell kept with an aim to educate its visitors. There over over 40,000 different specimens of rare and unique shell in the place.

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11. Descent Of The Ganges

1 km
from city center
11 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Descent of the Ganges is a monument in Mahabalipuram dedicated to the legend of Goddess Ganga? descent to Earth. There is a giant open-air rock relief carved on two monolithic rock boulders that relates the famous legend of Bhagirath doing a penance and leading the Goddess onto earth. Some historians also believe that the carving are of Arjuna's penance instead to receive Pasupatha Astra to defeat the Kauravas.

12. Krishna's Butter Ball

1 km
from city center
12 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Krishna? butterball is a gigantic granite Boulder measuring 6 meters high and 5 meters wide and weighs over 250 tons. This strange object in the town of Mahabalipuram is said to be in the same position since over 1200 years. At one point in its history, seven elephants were employed to move it, but to no avail. It is believed that the rock is a piece of stolen butter dropped by the God.

13. Krishna Cave Temple

1 km
from city center
13 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Krishna Cave Temple is an open-air relief dedicated to the might of Lord Krishna. It was later enclosed within a mandap during Vijyanagar empire in 16th century. Various carvings in the monument depict the story of the Lord lifting mount Govardhan and of his frolicking with the milk maids. It is said to be the most poetic depiction of the famous legend.

14. Varaha Cave Temple

1 km
from city center
14 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

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 a testimony to the ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis. It houses an idol of Lord Vishnu in his Varaha form, a boar lifting Mother Earth.

15. Mahishasuramardini Cave

1 km
from city center
15 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Mahishasura Mardini Cave temple, also known as Yampuri, is a rock-cut monument of Indian architecture, dating back to 7th century. There are two prominent carving featured in the temple? sanctum. A carving of Vishnu on the seven hooded serpent and another of Lord Durga on her lion while slaying demon Mahishasura. The cave also depict scenes of Puranas.

16. Ganesh Ratha Temple

1 km
from city center
16 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

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 worshiped here.

17. Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple

1 km
from city center
17 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

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

18. Trimurti Cave

1 km
from city center
18 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Located near the northern hills of Mahabalipuram, Trimurti Cave is famous for its depiction of the Hindu Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Unlike the other cave temple built by Pallavas, this one does not have a pillared mandap but opens directly to the three shrines. Apart from that, a small shrine dedicated to Durga is also present, depicting the legend of her slaying demon Mahishasur.

19. Sculpture Museum

1 km
from city center
19 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Sculpture Museum at Mahabalipuram, as the name suggests, houses sculptures depicting several Hindu mythological characters, gods and goddesses. An elaborate collection of over 3000 sculptures can be found here. The stone, wooden, brass and cement sculptures are intricately carved and bears the historic significance and legends. Various monolithic statues, Rathas, sculptured reliefs and miniatures can also be found.

20. Olakkannesvara Temple

1 km
from city center
20 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Olakkannesvara Temple, also known as the Old Lighthouse, is a structural temple built in 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.

21. Mamallapuram Lighthouse

1 km
from city center
21 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Mamallapuram Lighthouse in Mahabalipuram has been open for public view since 2011. The circular masonry tower of the Lighthouse is made of natural stones and is fully functional since 1904. Climbing on the stones and atop the Lighthouse (yes, you are allowed to climb) can be a real treat. From the top, the view is capable of captivating its audience.

22. Wide Beach

0 km
from city center
22 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Located en route Mahabalipuram from Chennai, Wide Beach is a beautiful stretch of beach predominated by the fisher folks. The beach also has beautiful caves and rock sculptures on the shore. You can visit the beach to spend a day away from the pell mell of the city and watch the beautiful sunrise and sunset scenes.

23. Mamallapuram Dance Festival

23 out of 23
places to visit in Mahabalipuram

Mamallapuram Dance Festival is organised for around twenty days, in the town of Mahabalipuram, to celebrate the diverse forms of folk dance popular in different regions and cultures of India. A captivating stage is set before a stone sculpture range known as the ‘Arjuna’s Penance rock sculpture’ for the festival.

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