Weather :

Time Required : 1-2 hours

Entry Fee : No entry fee,
Parking: INR 10

Timings : 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Tiger Caves, Mahabalipuram Overview

Situated by the shore of the Bay of Bengal, Tigers Caves has been a recreation spot since ages where locals relax after their five-kilometre trek from Mahabalipuram to this idyllic location out of the town. The name of the caves has nothing to do with the presence of any real tigers. The caves got this name from the crown of 11 tigeresque heads which were all carved around the entrance. It is believed that these images resemble an animal called 'yeli' which is a cross between a lion and a tiger. One of the most attractive features of the caves is a carving of Goddess Durga on top of these tigers.

There are numerous secrets associated with the Tiger Caves just like the one in 2005 when an inscription was found in the rocks which led to the discovery followed by the excavation of the Subramanya Temple nearby. The grounds of the park are well-maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India thereby making the Tiger Caves a public space. Amidst nature's greenery and fresh air, this architectural beauty is a perfect place to hang out at. There are vendors offering light refreshments along with tender coconut to the tired visitors as well. It is a wonderful place to visit if you love discovering new facts and figures about the history of various places in a scenic beauty away from the busy life of the city.

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History of Tiger Caves

The foundation of the Tiger Caves was laid down in 7th or 8th Century AD. The Pallava Dynasty is associated with the caves. As per the guidelines of the Golden Chariot, the Pallava Kings addressed their audience in these caves. The kings sat in the central chamber whereas the rest of the courtiers along with the audience surrounded the place. Numerous festivals were also celebrated in these caves where several artists performed for the king.

Subramanya Temple in Tiger Caves' Complex

Within the caves lie the ruins of a small temple which is dedicated to Lord Subramanya, the other name for Lord Shiva. The temple was a secret until 2005 when the inscriptions present on the caves led to it. In front of the temple lies a small Nandi and close to it is a carving of Goddess Durga attacking the demon Mahishasura. There is a black Shiva Linga in the main temple with guardians carved around the sanctum.

One is likely to find small sculptures of Lord Shiva when looked carefully at the walls just like the ones which could be found on the heads of the elephants of the main Tiger Caves. There is also a magnificent rock present between the caves and the Subramanya Temple.

Best Time To Visit Tiger Caves

The ideal time to visit the Tiger Caves is from November to February when the weather is pleasant and one can enjoy sightseeing as well as other adventure activities. Avoid going to the place from June to September since the weather is hot at that time and rainfalls make it difficult to travel and carry out other tourist activities as well.

Tips For Visiting Tiger Caves

1. The tourists must remove their shoes before entering the Subramanya temple.
2. Though there are no restrictions in the tiger caves, the tourists are requested not to damage any sculpture inside.
3. No restaurants or restrooms are present near the caves.
4. Carry drinking water so as to keep yourself hydrated.

How To Reach Tiger Caves

Tiger Caves are situated 5 km away from the city centre in Chennai. From the city centre, you can take an auto rickshaw to reach the caves. You will be charged a total of INR 200 to INR 300 for the to and fro journey which involves waiting at the caves while you go and visit.

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