Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
UNESCO Heritage & Serene Beaches
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Overview

Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a historically significant town located on the Coromandel Coast along the Bay of Bengal in Tamil Nadu. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its 7th and 8th century monuments, intricately carved temples, and rock-cut caves. Visitors are drawn to the town's serene atmosphere, beautiful white sandy beaches, and scenic shorelines dotted with casuarina trees. Notable attractions include the Shore Temple, the Five Rathas, the Crocodile Bank, and the beach resorts in Kovalam and Sadras.
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How to Reach Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is easily accessible from Chennai. Travelers can reach Mahabalipuram by road from Chennai, with buses available from Koyembedu (CMBT) or Tiruvanmiyur. There are no direct flight services to Mahabalipuram, so the nearest airport is Chennai Airport, approximately 40 km away. For those traveling by train, the nearest railway station is Egmore station in Chennai. Local transport within Mahabalipuram includes buses, rented motorcycles, and the option to explore major attractions on foot. Additionally, travelers can consider hiring a taxi or driving to Mahabalipuram from nearby cities like Bangalore and Coimbatore.
  • By Air : Mahabalipuram is easily accessible by air, with the nearest airport being Chennai Airport, located around 40 km away. From the airport, travelers can hire a taxi to reach Mahabalipuram. While there are no direct flight services to Mahabalipuram, the proximity to Chennai Airport makes it a convenient option for those traveling by air.
  • By Train : To reach Mahabalipuram by train, you can take a train to the nearest railway station, Egmore station, located in Chennai. Once you arrive in Chennai, you can hire a taxi from outside the railway station or hop on the buses that run regularly from Chennai to Mahabalipuram. Please note that there are no direct train services to Mahabalipuram, so the nearest railway station in Chennai is the most convenient option for train travel.
  • By Road : Mahabalipuram is conveniently located close to Chennai, making road travel the best option for reaching the city. Buses are available from Koyembedu (CMBT) or Tiruvanmiyur in Chennai, as well as from Kanchipuram. The drive from Chennai on the East Coast Road offers a wonderful experience by Indian standards. Additionally, travelers have the option to drive straight to Mahabalipuram by car, with bus services also available from other cities like Bangalore and Coimbatore.
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Places to Visit in Mahabalipuram

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Krishna's Butterballstar-img4.5 (23,489)
Located in the town of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, Krishna's Butterball is a remarkable sight to behold. This gigantic granite boulder measures 6 meters high, 5 meters wide, and weighs over 250 tons. It is said to have remained in the same position for over 1200 years, despite several attempts to m...
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Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetologystar-img4.3 (18,761)
Located near Mahabalipuram, the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology, also known as Crocodile Bank, is a renowned reptile conservation center. Established in 1976 by herpetologist Romulus Whitaker, it houses nearly 2,500 crocodiles, alligators, and other reptiles, making it one of ...
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Five Rathas, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadustar-img4.6 (11,329)
The Five Rathas in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, are a remarkable set of rock temples that showcase the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. Carved from single large rocks, these 7th-century temples are dedicated to Hindu gods and are named after the five hero-brothers of the epic Mahabharata, or...
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India Seashell Museum, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadustar-img4.3 (9,442)
Discover the awe-inspiring India Seashell Museum, the largest of its kind in the country and the largest in Asia. With over 40,000 rare and unique specimens of seashells, fossils, shark teeth, and whale fins, this newly built museum is a captivating repository aimed at educating and fascinating its ...
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Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadustar-img4.6 (7,857)
Perched above the Bay of Bengal, the Shore Temple is a magnificent testament to the Pallava dynasty's royal taste and maritime aspirations. Constructed in the 8th century, this Dravidian-style temple complex, carved out of granite, is one of the oldest South Indian temples. Recognized as a UNESCO Wo...
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Things to do in Mahabalipuram

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Explore Sadras Beach and Dutch Fort
Discover the serene beaches and historical significance of Sadras, a fishing village located 20 kilometers from Mahabalipuram. Once a Dutch settlement, Sadras is home to remnants of a 17th-century Dutch fort and a Dutch cemetery with finely embossed headstones. This unique experience offers a peacef...
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Explore the Descent of the Ganges
Marvel at the awe-inspiring Descent of the Ganges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. This magnificent monolithic rock-cut bas-relief vividly portrays the celestial event of River Ganges descending to Earth, as recounted in ancient Indian mythology. The intricate carvings on ...
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Climb the Mamallapuram Lighthouse
Head to the historic Mamallapuram Lighthouse in Mahabalipuram for breathtaking panoramic views of the town and its coastline. This architectural landmark, built in 1900, welcomes visitors to enjoy a bird's-eye perspective of Mahabalipuram and its ancient monuments. The lighthouse, constructed of nat...
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Explore the Sculpture Museum
Discover the rich artistic heritage of ancient India at the Sculpture Museum in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. Featuring a vast collection of over 3000 sculptures and artifacts dating back to the Pallava and Chola dynasties, this museum showcases intricately carved stone, wooden, brass, and cement sculp...
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Explore Trimurti Cave in Mahabalipuram
Discover the mesmerizing Trimurti Cave in Mahabalipuram, showcasing the exquisite craftsmanship of the Pallava dynasty. This rock-cut shrine features three stunning shrines dedicated to the Hindu trinity - Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva. Adorned with intricate carvings, the cave is a must-...
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Best Time to Visit Mahabalipuram

The best time to plan a trip to Mahabalipuram is during the winter season, which spans from October to March. This period offers pleasant days and cold nights, creating an ideal climate for outdoor activities and town exploration. November to February is the peak tourism season, characterized by salubrious weather. Traveling during the summer months is generally avoided due to high temperatures and exhausting heat, which can hinder sightseeing and outdoor excursions. Read Less

FAQs on Mahabalipuram

For which type of travelling is Mahabalipuram a perfect destination?
Mahabalipuram is a perfect destination for heritage themed holidays.
What is the best time to visit Mahabalipuram?
The best time to visit Mahabalipuram is between October and March when the climate is pleasant with warm days and cold nights, ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the town.
How is the weather of Mahabalipuram in peak season?
The weather in peak season is characterized by pleasant days and cold nights, making it an ideal time to plan a trip for maximum enjoyment.
What is not so good about Mahabalipuram?
Mahabalipuram has limited eating options and experiences extremely high temperatures for the greater part of the year.
What is famous about Mahabalipuram?
Mahabalipuram is known for its extremely well-maintained tourist spots and the availability of knowledgeable tour guides.
What is the best way to reach Mahabalipuram?
The best way to reach Mahabalipuram is from Chennai via road. Buses arrive in the center of the town from Chennai, and the drive from Chennai on the East Coast Road offers a wonderful experience.
What are the places near Mahabalipuram?
The top places near Mahabalipuram include Pondicherry, Chennai, Vedanthangal, Kanchipuram, and Thiruthani.
What are the things to do in Mahabalipuram?
The top things to do in Mahabalipuram include visiting the Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram Beach, Five Rathas, Arjuna's Penance, Alamparai Fort, and Sadras.
What is the local food in Mahabalipuram?
Mahabalipuram offers a variety of cuisines including street food, traditional thali, and a range of western delicacies. Local specialties include grilled fish, vegetarian thali, prawns, lobsters, crabs, and a typical South Indian platter.
Who should visit Mahabalipuram?
Mahabalipuram is ideal for school or college excursions from nearby cities, as well as for people interested in regional history and architecture.
What are the popular tourist spots in Mahabalipuram?
Mahabalipuram is home to popular tourist spots such as the Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram Beach, Five Rathas, and Arjuna's Penance.
What is the recommended duration for a visit to Mahabalipuram?
A recommended duration for a visit to Mahabalipuram is 2-3 days to explore the town and its attractions at a leisurely pace.

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