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Introducing Mahabalipuram

Best time to visit : November to February
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Mahabalipuram, also called Mamallapuram, takes further the glory of South Indian architecture and heritage that regularly feature on the world map of tourism. Well-known for its 7th to 9th century historic monuments (consisting of carved temples, open-air relief and monolithic structures), the seaside city is located on the Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal in the Kanchipuram District of Tamil Nadu. Tourist places of Mahabalipuram are of great interest among the admirers of rich Indian history, architecture and culture. In addition, pilgrims and religious travellers too visit the place in huge flocks. What makes the city truly alluring is the fact that its outstanding architecture is complemented by alluring beaches and roaring sea waves.


Mahabalipuram served not only as the capital of the powerful Pallava rulers, but also as their ground for experimenting art and architecture. Today, the historic monuments are listed among UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are designated as an open-air museum. Home to some of the world’s best monolithic structure, rock-cut temples and open-air bas reliefs (showcasing Dravidian and Buddhist architectural styles), the city was once a popular port that entertained trade with many international locations. Beach tourism is catching up with the visitors to Mahabalipuram which boasts of serene white sand beaches dotted with casuarinas trees. Along with Chennai and Kanchipuram, the city forms the popular Golden Triangle circuit of the region. Summers here are hot and monsoon months are extremely humid, while winters offer pleasant weather.

Mahabalipuram is regarded by many as a holy town and they prefer to eat vegetarian cuisines on their visit. South Indian cuisines (consisting of rice preparations and curries) can be enjoyed at Sri Ananda Bhavan Restaurant and Sarus Restaurant. However, the best delicacies in the city include grilled fish, fresh seafood (especially lobsters and prawns) and chicken. Luna Magica, Sea Shore Restaurant and Moonrakers Restaurant are the top venues for these preparations. Don’t miss the refreshing coconut water while sightseeing in Mahabalipuram.

It is simply irresistible to buy enchanting handicrafts available at small bazaars all over the city. Take back home the sculptures, God idols and animal figurines made of granite and soapstone. Wood carvings with intricate details are also the worthwhile items. Jewellery items and seashells showpieces can also attract your attention. Obtain tourist information from a travel guide to pay the right price.

Nearby Places:
  • Crocodile Bank (about 14 km.): One of the best crocodile breeding centres in the world; it houses numerous species of crocodiles, turtles, snakes and lizards. 
  • Thirukazhukundram (about 17 km.): Well-known for its Eagle Temple where the sacred eagles have been visiting since centuries. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and exhibits fabulous architecture. 
  • Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary (about 50 km.): The bird sanctuary, along with the nearby Karikili Bird Sanctuary, is a paradise of bird-watchers who can spot species like egrets, darters, painted storks, pintails, herons, sandpipers, terns and many more.  
  • Chennai (about 53 km.): Tamil Nadu’s capital city and the Cultural Capital of South India, Chennai is well known for its temples, churches, architectural wonders, beaches, museums, parks, zoos and memorable shopping experiences.
  • Kanchipuram (about 70 km.): Famous for authentic handmade silk sarees, the city is also a popular pilgrimage centre for housing some great Hindu Temples like Kanchi Kamakashi and Ekambeshwarar.
  • Pondicherry (about 100 km.): The city offers amazing blend of colonial heritage and South Indian culture and is popular for its churches, temples, memorials, museums and beaches.  

Tourists can also visit Covelong (a beautiful fishing village known for its colonial fort remains, beach and wild surfing), Chengalpattu and Kolavai Lake.

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