Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a city in Tamil Nadu's Kancheepuram district. Located 60 km south of the city of Chennai, it has strong historical roots.
The ancient group of stone-carved monuments in the city is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making Mahabalipuram one of the main tourist spots around Chennai. The carved granite structures are believed to be the oldest of Dravidian (South Indian) architecture. Other than the beautiful architecture, the city also has picturesque sandy beaches.
The city is also famous as a weekend getaway for people living in nearby cities.
The city lies on the Coromandel Coast, facing the Bay of Bengal.
How to Reach?
Mahabalipuram is connected to the rest of the country via the nearest air and railway spots. It also boasts of a well-knit road system connecting the interiors of the city as well as nearby towns and cities.
The closest airport to the city is the Chennai International Airport, located 54 km away. The airport features a domestic terminal, connecting it to all major cities of India along with various countries including Gulf and Middle East countries. The airport can be reached by convenient taxi services.
Chengalpattu is the nearest rail head to the city, which is around 29 km away, connecting the city to the biggest railway station of the state at Chennai. Chengalpattu can be reached via regular trains from Chennai.
Mahabalipuram is connected to the nearby cities through an organised bus service, both government-run and private-run. The most frequent service is available to and from Chennai, Puducherry, Kanchipuram, and Chengalpattu. The city is at a mere one hour drive from Chennai.
Best Time to Visit
The city mostly has a moderate and breezy climate throughout the year, due to its location close to the sea. Though the summers may be hot and humid and the monsoons can make travelling a nuisance, November to March would be the best time to visit Mahabalipuram.
Places to Visit
A wide range of historical monuments, religious destinations and many more famous tourist spots can be found in the city. Some of the must-visit places can be listed as: The Shore Temple; Thirukadalmallai; Arjuna's Penance; Varaha Cave Temple; Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots); Mamallapuram Beach; Krishna Mandapam; Trimurthi cave; Adivaraha Temple; Krishna's Butter Ball and Koneri Cave.
- You must be careful while swimming at the beaches, as the ocean can have strong currents.
- Try not to be fooled by travel guides, and try to hire one with a government ID.
- Carry comfortable and light clothes, to help you beat the heat.
- The people of the city are very traditional; hence you must be careful and not hurt any religious sentiments of the locals.
The travelling cost in the city of Mahabalipuram may vary according to the number of days you plan to spend there. The costs may go up if you intend to extend your holiday and also visit some nearby tourist destinations such as Puducherry. You can check out tour packages that suit your pocket as well as your interest.
- Learn stone carving
- Mahabalipuram Dance Festival
- Bike rides around the countryside
- Boat rides
- Fishing trip
- Turtle walk at the sea shore
- Yoga camps
Hotels and Accommodation Options
Being a tourism-oriented city, Mahabalipuram boasts of a large variety of accommodation options for travellers. You might also find a nice resort with a beach view for a price of Rs 7,400 a night, or you can also find comfortable accommodation at one of the many hotel rooms at a mere Rs 1,700 a night. Though, it is advised to make pre-bookings to avoid any hassles at the time of arrival.
How many days are enough to Travel
Two to three days are enough to go around the city. While, outbound travellers can spend some more time and explore the beaches and the famous monuments in the city.
Tamil Nadu cuisine offers a wide variety of foods for both vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. Some of the must-try foods are:
Some of the well-known eateries of Mahabalipuram include:
The Golden Palate, Garden View Restaurant, Mamalla Bhavan, Sri Ananda Bhavan Restaurant, Moonrakers Restaurant, Surf, Gecko cafe and Othavadai Cross.
Mahabalipuram has some interesting art and craft products for travellers to buy from. Some of the famous things you can shop in the city are:
Stone sculptures, soapstone handicrafts, wood carvings and sea-shell articles and jewellery. The Mount Road is known as the main shipping area of the city, teeming with the city's best crafts. Preferably, you many buy handicrafts from the government-run emporiums.
Tourist Helpline Numbers
- Tamil Nadu Tourism Complex
Phone Number: 044-25368358
- Mamallapuram Tourist Helpline
Phone Number: 044-27442232
Places to Visit in Mahabalipuram
- Arjuna's Penance
- Varaha Cave
- The Krishna Temple
Last Updated on : August 7, 2014