Mahabalipuram – the glorious mix of ancient temples, monuments and beach resorts

Posted on February 25, 2017 by

Situated right in the heart of Kancheepuram district around 60 kms away from the Chennai city is the blue gemstone of the Indian heritage called Mahabalipuram. Regarded as one of the oldest cities in India, Mahabalipuram is famous for a host of ancient temples, monuments, and friendly nature of its local people. Most of the monuments situated in the district were built by Pallava dynasty rulers.


We bring you a list of some of the most popular attractions of the town to explore.

Arjuna’s Penance Sculpture

One of the major attractions in Mahabalipuram, Arjuna’s Penance sculpture is visited by thousands of tourists from around the globe. As the name suggests, the monument depicts the series of events that took place in the life of Arjuna during his penance period. These events of his life have been carved on two huge rocks atop which lies a collecting pool. It is around 43 feet high.


The art of sculpture on the rocks is unmatched and detailed way beyond one can imagine in that time.

Thirukadalmallai Temple

Thirukadalmallai temple appears like a pearl in the heart of Mahabalipuram. It is known by several names in the country. Some of which are Sthalasayana Perumal Temple and Divya Desams. According to the Indian mythology, this temple has been dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. This is one of the 108th temples built to prove devotion towards the Lord Vishnu.

This temple was built by Pallava rulers and saints who were known as Tamil Azhvars. This temple is one of its type in the country. It stands out for its ancient Dravidian art.

Cave Temples

Adorned by some 8 cave temples, Mahabalipuram is recognized for its cave arts and temples commissioned by the Pallava rulers. Touted as one the finest masterpieces from the ancient India, most of the sculptures in the caves are dedicated to the deities in Indian Mythologies. The detailing of these sculptures is unmatched. Names of these temples are Varaha, Krishna, Tiger, Panchapandava, Mahishasuramardini, Trimurti, Atiranachanda, and Kotikal.


Shore Temple                                       

Major attraction breathing amid cultural amalgam of Mahabalipuram is the Shore Temple. Built by Pallava rulers, the temple has their indelible traces of style, art, and culture. Just like most places and other major attractions in Mahabalipuram and in other parts of South India, Shore Temple is also known by a different name—7 Pagodas.

mahabalipuram notice

According to local traditional beliefs, Shore temple had 7 Pagodas before a ravenous Tsunami struck down the temple in around 13th century AD. There are several sculptures and other art pieces on the temple.

Pancha Rathas

The exact English translation of Pancha Rathas is five chariots. These Pancha Rathas have been named after the five Pandavas of the Hindu epic Mahabharatha.

Pancha Rathas has been carved out on pink granite. One of the tallest monuments is around 40 feet high. Like other temples and monuments in Mahabalipuram, Dravidian style and art dominate Pancha Rathas.

The catastrophic Tsunami in 2004 has affected many monuments in the district. However, this monument stands tall without a single sign of damage.


Mahabalipuram is home to exquisite beach resorts that, one of the beach resorts is Sadras which has taken full advantage of the striking landscape. The beaches that surround Mahabalipuram are a glorious sight to watch as they are beset by beautiful, casuarinas groves.

mahab beach

The vibrant green beautifully contrasts with the sparkling white beaches is a sight that is a delight to everyone. This beach resort is located 13 kilometers outside of Mahabalipuram.

How to reach Mahabalipuram

Instead of Mahabalipuram, you can choose to take a flight to Chennai Airport on regular basis. The driving distance between Chennai and Mahabalipuram is 56 km, while the in-flight distance from Chennai to Mahabalipuram is 48 km.

There are no regular or proper train services from other major cities to Mahabalipuram. The nearest train station is Chengalpattu Junction.

Mahabalipuram is well connected to other major cities of the country via regular buses.


While you are at this destination, look out for dishes such as try Grilled Fish, Vegetarian thali, Prawns, Lobsters, Crabs and more. South Indian cuisine lovers can try a typical South Indian platter which consists of Idli, Dosa, Appam, Vada, Upma Sambhar, Sweet Pongal, Kesari, Payassam and much more 

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