Explore Mahabalipuram and its cluster of monuments
Touring this ancient town gives you an historic experience of the 3rd century Indian architecture.
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Named after the Pandavas of the mahabharata fame
Pancha Pandava Rathas, the standing landmark of monolithic rock-cut of the Indian architecture.
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A massive mysterious krishna’s butterball
It’s called as Krishna’s butterball because butter is his favourite food and it is a myth that it falls from heaven.
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Mamallapuram, or Mahabalipuram, is a town on a strip of land between the Bay of Bengal and the Great Salt Lake, in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It’s known for its temples and monuments built by the Pallava dynasty in the 7th and 8th centuries. The seafront Shore Temple comprises 3 ornate granite shrines. Krishna’s Butter Ball is a massive boulder balanced on a small hill near the Ganesh Ratha stone temple.

The city of Mahabalipuram was founded by the Pallava king Narasimha Varman I in the 7th century CE. The mandapa or pavilions and the rathas or shrines shaped as temple chariots are hewn from the granite rock face, while the famed Shore Temple, erected half a century later, is built from dressed stone.

The town derives its name from its 7th Century ruler Narasimha Varman I. Being one of the greatest wrestlers and fighters in his realm, the King was also called ‘Mamallan’ meaning Great Wrestler. Referring to his name ‘Mamallan’ the town was named as Mamallapuram.

Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a town in the Chengalpattu district in the south-eastern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, best known for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of 13,500 BCE monument. It is one of the famous tourist sites in India. Mahabalipuram was one of two major port cities by the 13th Century site.

The complex consists of three separate shrines: two dedicated to the god Shiva, and one to Vishnu. The Vishnu shrine is the oldest and smallest of the three shrines, The other elements of the temple, including the gateways, walls, and superstructures were constructed out of quarried stone and mortar.

The Pallavas in their Tamil country used Tamil and Sanskrit in their inscriptions. Tamil came to be the main language used by the Pallavas in their inscriptions, though a few records continued to be in Sanskrit.

The European travelers gave the name Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram to the site. They travelled to south India in ancient times and experienced the majesty of the architecture of all seven pagodas of the town. That is why the town of Mahabalipuram has been called the Seven Pagodas.

The Shore Temple is both a rock cut and a free-standing structural temple. The entire temple stands on a naturally occurring granite boulder. The complex consists of three separate shrines: two dedicated to the god Shiva, and one to Vishnu. This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries.

Its pyramidal structure is 60 feet (18 m) high and sits on a 50 feet (15 m) square platform. There is a small temple in front which was the original porch. It is made out of finely cut local granite. The shore temple is one of the most popular temples in Mahabalipuram.

Red and black, and white granites are available locally in Mahabalipuram. These stones are locally called as karuppu kal (black), and Vellali kal (white). Granite is first stencilled and chiselled according to the determined lines.

Badrinarayanan said in a BBC report that they dated to the 9th century and may have been destroyed by a 13th-century tsunami. The tsunami also revealed large structures on the seabed about a kilometer offshore, which archaeologists speculate may be the ancient Mahabalipuram.

When the shoreline receded during the 2004 tsunami, tourists in Mamallapuram swore they saw a long row of granite boulders emerge from the sea, before it was swallowed again as the water hurtled forward

Mahabalipuram, the port of the Pallavas, must have played a great part in the propagation of Pallava culture beyond India. This panel, from the north-eastern corner of the Dharmaraja Ratha, shows a statue of Narasimha Varman I.

King Rajasimha

Said to have been constructed by King Rajasimha, it is a good example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. This was a busy port during the reign of Narasimha Varman II. It has two shrines dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva, facing the east and the west.

Dress Code in Mahabalipuram Temple

Men are expected to wear a dhoti, a traditional long lower garment, or pajama (two-piece garment) with an upper cloth or formal shirts and trousers. Women are expected to wear sarees or half sarees with a blouse, churidars (light loose trousers) with upper cloth. 

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East Coast Road, combination of SH-49, NH-332A, NH-32 is a two-lane highway in Tamil Nadu, India, built along the coast of the Bay of Bengal connecting Tamil Nadu’s state capital city Chennai.

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There’s no way you’ve driven down ECR and vgp entrance because its not just bright its pretty large and inviting. vgp has become quiet a staple in the city of Chennai.


Another amusement park along the same stretch is dizzle world and like any good amusement park.


The lake is most famous for boating and the boat house setup along the lake allows you to rent a boat or hire a boat for half an hour.


If youve never held a baby crocodile in your life before,then this is definitely something that cannot be missed.


Surfing in chennai is catching on, and if youre looking to try it out but dont know how to,head to surf turf.this place will make you fall in love with the sea all over again


A straight drive down the road from ecr the location beach offer rides for the adventures us.eqipped with life jackets and all the precautionary measures, you dont have to be a swimmer to do this.


ECR is blessed with plenty of beach properties and if youre in the mood for a staycation,it cannot get better than this. there B’hive-kadal, a serene villa bang opposite to the beach on the east coast road.


If youre looking to move and take a morning walk or evening drive at an alternate breezy location, near ecr, then casuarina drive is the lane to visit


If youre feeling bougie, ECR offers some really fancy hotel properties with private beaches and amazing seafood. theres MGM beach resort, VGP golden resort, green coconut resort and fantasea more.


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Arjuna Penance

This huge piece of ancient architecture approx 100 ft long and 43 ft high is thought to represent a science from the epic mahabharata

Varaha Cave Temple

Varaha cave temple or Adivaraha temple serves as the testimony for the Pallava’s patronage towards architecture. Varaha temple is known for four extremely beautiful and delicate carvings of Lord Vishnu, Goddess Gajalakshmi, Lord Trivikama (the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu) and Goddess Durga.

Tiger Cave

Tiger cave the rock-cut temple was built by Narsimha Varman-I around 7th or 8th century. This shrine is dedicated to Lord Durga, who is seated on tiger. It was named so, as the crown of 11 tigeresque heads were carved around the entrance. One of the most attractive features of the caves is a carving of Goddess Durga on top of these tigers.

Tourist Reviews

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    Nina Rother
    Nina Rother

    German Tourist

    I visited Mahabalipuram in 2018. It was one of the best trips I had. The monuments looked stunning. Shore Temple was the show stopper! One more thing about South Indian food the masala dosa was delicious.

      Shenaz Treasury
      Shenaz Treasury

      Actor, Tourism

      I have visited more than 100 destinations but Mahabalipuram is close to my heart. This place is a classic! It is filled with a lot of monuments from ancient India.

      The Temple of Shiva and Vishnu

      A temple that carried high historic value.Because the Pallavas initially constructed it and they completed one part of the temple. In the later period, the Cholas conquered the Pallavas and they conquered the remaining part of it.

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