Mahabalipuram Tourism

Mahabalipuram Tourism

Rank 11
Ranked 11 of 76
Tamil Nadu Tourism Destinations
Destination Rating
5.6 / 7
3354 Ratings & 3116 Reviews

Mahabalipuram Info

  • State: Tamil Nadu
  • Famous for/as: Beach
  • Altitude: 12 m
  • Pincode: 603104
  • District: Kanchipuram
  • Language: Tamil
  • STD code: 044
  • Weather: Summer 21 to 41°C, Winter 17 to 33°C

History of Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is a historic coastal town located 56 kilometres from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The town was said to have been named after the king Mahabali who was defeated by Lord Vishnu. It was a seaport, which was used for flourishing trade with the South-east Asian Countries. It was a part of the Pallava dynasty from the 3rd century to 9th century CE. Some of India’s oldest stone temples were built during this time and they depict the legend of Mahabharatha. Some of the archaeological findings in this town were uncovered after the destructive Tsunami hit India. The monolithic rathas are some of the famous places in Mahabalipuram.

People and Culture of Mahabalipuram

Tourism is the mainstay of the residents of Mahabalipuram. Aside from this, the town is a major exporter of stone carvings. The handicrafts made from stone, wood and wicker are unique to this area. Tamil is the major language spoken here. The cultural dances include Bharatanatyam. The Indian Dance Festival-Mamallapuram is held every year where many dance forms including Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi are performed. The major festivals celebrated are Dassara, Diwali and Navratri. The stone carvings depict the descent of the Ganges and are of major historic significance.

Things to Do in Mahabalipuram

There are a host of Mahabalipuram attractions. The town sees a wide array of tourists from around the globe. One of the major things to do in Mahabalipuram is a visit to the Shore temple. The carvings depict the legends of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. More places to visit in Mahabalipuram are the Tiger’s cave and Mahishamardini Cave. The lighthouse is also among the major Mahabalipuram tourist places.

The list of Mahabalipuram places to visit is long. Pancha Rathas are one of the top places to see in Mahabalipuram. Arjuna’s Penance is 30 metre long stone carvings depicting the story of Arjuna penance to get a weapon from Lord Shiva. It is one of the best places to visit in Mahabalipuram and (along with the other stone temples) is a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

Food and Shopping in Mahabalipuram

While on a trip to Mahabalipuram, one must try the delicious Tamil cuisine. Being a coastal town, Mahabalipuram is famous for its seafood. Masala curries made from Red Snapper, prawns and crab are a must try. The fried calamari and fish fry are also highly recommended.

After a day of sightseeing in Mahabalipuram, shopping is a great option. Items carved from stone are a speciality of the town. Monolithic statues or replicas of the ancient carvings are a delight to buy. For those looking for something smaller, showpieces and pendants carved from granite are also available.

Accommodation in Mahabalipuram

For travellers wanting to know how to reach Mahabalipuram, the town is well connected by road through National and State Highways. The nearest airport and train station are in Chennai where one may hire a taxi or travel by buses to Mahabalipuram. End the Mahabalipuram tour at one of the town’s many great hotels and resorts. Some of the top resorts in Mahabalipuram include Ideal Beach Resort, Confluence Banquets and Resorts and Chariot Beach Resort. Unwind after you are done with Mahabalipuram sightseeing at a great hotel.

Best time to visit Mahabalipuram in the next six months

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Mahabalipuram Traveller Reviews

Read 95 destination reviews
with average rating of 5.6/7, 1
out of 3116 Mahabalipuram reviews 95
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Millo Ankha

  • Tourist
  • Millo Ankha
  • 9 Reviews
  •  2 helpful votes
  •  1874 readers

"Wandering through the rocks" new review

  • 6.5/7
  • Posted 3 weeks ago
If you are a lover of architecture, art and love time travelling Mahabalipuram is a place to be. Its also a great place for learners and young minds, hence you will find a lot of college students on their educational tour.
Almost all the main parts to see in Mahabalipuram are placed really close to each other. Its easy to say you can literally walk through the town and see it in a day.
Shore temple, arjunas penance, the 5 rathas and the light house are really close to each other.
There are two light houses which is a must do things to get a great view of the town. Interesting space for photographers of all sort.
Local place Moon rakers is quite an interesting place to wind up your day with a cold beer and huge crabs. In and around the main bus stop of mahabs, you will find little shops of tea and south indian snacks, also many shops selling you the famous sculptures of mahabalipuram's famous skilled art.
Heritage walks, long beach walks, Photowalks and interacting with the sculptors for good long hours kept us pretty much engaged in our time and mind.
We traveled by road and ECR is quite a visual to drive and see. Drop all your excess baggage of clothes and enjoy this town of sun, sand, sea and stone.
Millo Ankha
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Vijay Potluri

  • Connoisseur
  • Vijay Potluri
  • Lives in Vijayawada
  • 219 photos
  • 91 Reviews
  •  37 helpful votes
  •  22005 readers

"Heritage town"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Jul 10, 2016
Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is one hour drive from Chennai through East Coast Road. It's a nice very economical place to stay and enjoy heritage place. It's tourism based small town, moderate clean beaches, nice food, garments, shopping museum rock chariot and many more. Nice place to stay heritage, holiday or romantic holidays.
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Rishi Narayanan

  • Tourist
  • Rishi Narayanan
  • Lives in Perinthalmanna
  • 101 photos
  • 24 Reviews
  •  8 helpful votes
  •  51800 readers

"A pride of Tamil Nadu"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Jun 30, 2016
Mahabalipuram monuments are a pride and trade mark of Tamil Nadu. The complex consists of lots of temples carved on rocks. The works on these temples will make our jaw drop. The place also has got a lot to tell about the history of Pallava kingdom too. The main attractions there are the Shore temple, Arjuna's penance, Panch Rathas and the light house. It's a marvellous sight to enjoy the sunrise from Mahabalipuram for which one should reach there at around 5:15am
It is situated at about 50km from Chennai town through the ECR road and is well connected from different parts of town like Thiruvanmiyur, Adyar etc. There are many good hotels there. One can bring their own food and have it on the rocks.
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Mansi Patil

  • Scout
  • Mansi Patil
  • Lives in Pune
  • 2 Reviews
  •  1 helpful vote
  •  457 readers

"Heritage town - Mahabalipuram"

  • 6.0/7
  • Posted Jun 14, 2016
A wonderful place to visit. We had pre booked a resort. Jade resort- 10 km short of Mahabalipuram town. Great place to stay in. Nice food.

We went to Mahabalipuram from the resort by taking a sharing rickshaw which charges only Rs. 10-20 per trip.

The town itself is very quaint, peaceful.

At the bus stop, you have rickshaws who will take you sightseeing - 8 places in all. At a cost of 350/-. You can take as much time as you want at each site. It's worth a visit, especially the 5 rathas, lighthouse, butter rock and the shore temple.

Next day, we hired a bike for a day and drove down to Pondicherry, 100 km from Mahabalipuram. Awesome drive, everyone should try going.

If not a bike, you can go to Pondicherry by buses as well - state transport and luxury both.

Mahabalipuram is 60 km from airport, we took a taxi in 1500/-.
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  • Tourist
  • Divakar
  • 4 Reviews
  •  2 helpful votes
  •  1903 readers

"Ancient monuments and sculptures"

  • 5.0/7
  • Posted May 30, 2016
In Mahabalipuram we rushed in to seashore, played well with my friends, near sea shore temple is there. We need to take ticket of Rs 30 to see the temple that had built before 2000 years but still there will be no collapse this shows how pioneers of tamilians are well in their construction they play a vital role in designing sculptures which is cool to see and lighthouse is there but little bored, not that much to fulfill our expectation. There will be 1000's of designs on single wall, it will be the most fantastic one to see.
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Gaurav Gupta

  • Tourist
  • Gaurav Gupta
  • Lives in Rohtak
  • 2 Reviews
  •  2755 readers

"Most picturesque place in India"

  • 5.0/7
  • Posted Mar 28, 2016
Coast Road in Chennai first stops at the historic town of Mahabalipuram. The 7th century erstwhile port city is famous for its rock-cut shore temples. A lone lighthouse on a hill watches over a group of temples below. Mahabalipuram also has some great cafes that serve good sea food. A backpacker's delight, one can find cheap accommodations and plenty of activities.
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Arun Rajan

  • Explorer
  • Arun Rajan
  • Lives in Chennai
  • 118 photos
  • 98 Reviews
  •  35 helpful votes
  •  25006 readers

"Awesome place to learn history and enjoy the day"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Mar 23, 2016
I and my friends went on a weekend and we enjoyed the whole day. You will be amazed to see the beauty of sea and greatest statues carved and you will also love the art of rock architecture and stone works. Anyone who visits Tamil Nadu must stop at Mahabalipuram and stay for a day or two and enjoy the time spent here.
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Kopite Kk

  • Explorer
  • Kopite Kk
  • Lives in Kolkata
  • 34 Reviews
  •  2 helpful votes
  •  15885 readers

"Beautiful and scenic place"

  • 4.0/7
  • Posted Feb 23, 2016
Visited Mahabalipuram with friends on 26th January. It is a 1.5-2 Hours drive from Chennai and the road is very beautiful (East Coast Road). The place was very crowded (Being a public holiday) and parking was extremely difficult to find. There are lots of things that one can do in Mahabalipuram. There is the shore temple, the beach, the lighthouse, etc. Lots of restaurants and street shops too. Its definitely worth visiting for a 1 day trip from Chennai. But the weather is extremely hot, so do carry a lot of water.
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Sibasish Pattnaik

  • Tourist
  • Sibasish Pattnaik
  • Lives in Berhampur
  • 10 photos
  • 1 Review
  •  863 readers

"Amazing place"

  • 5.0/7
  • Posted Feb 21, 2016
I went to this place with my friends, this is both adventure and beach place. Light house is also there, we visited this place on 1st January. This place is really awesome, that day was little rush because of New Year, but normal day not so much rush.
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  • Tourist
  • Akshat
  • Lives in Jaipur
  • 2 Reviews
  •  1135 readers

"Great place for relaxation!"

  • 6.0/7
  • Posted Feb 7, 2016
Although, there isn't much to see here in Mahabalipuram but it is indeed a great place to relax for a weekend. It is easily approachable from Chennai and even a short drive from Pondicherry. The beaches here are clean and good for a quick swim or even a surf. The temples are not at all that interesting but if you hire a guide and get to know the story, it might just fascinate you how they are the remains after a tsunami.
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Anoj Prateek Leelavathi l s Ram Anoj, Prateek, Leelavathi l s and 3295 other people have been to Mahabalipuram.
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