Relax and enjoyed the town.
One can keep 4 hours to visit all the places here if having own vehicle. Visited Shore temple which will need an hour max. Parking nearby. They charged Rs 30. On the same stretch is other places to visit like Krishna butterball, Arjuna's penance, Varaha temple, Maisasura's cave. Lighthouse. All of them are on the same road, a few meters apart. Except for Maisasura cave and Lighthouse, rest can be covered in 15 min each. Maisasura cave and Lighthouse need an hour as there is lot of climbing but the view from top is spectacular. Five rathas is a few distance away and would need 45 min to 1 hour to explore. Parking fees charged was Rs 30. Tiger cave is around 4 km from Hotel tamil nadu (towards Chennai). Nothing spectacular as it can covered in 10 min as there is only a cave. Can be avoided.
Note that entry into town is toll of Rs 40. So if you stay outside town like we did, every time you enter you need to pay Rs 40. So plan out where you want to stay. Hot and humid weather so lot of drinks and ice cream shops around. Shore temple and Five rathas do not look like Hindu temples as their structures are very different and there is a belief that there could some alien hand in building them. Check a few youtube videos on Mahabalipuram to get some information before going there, so you can compare and be more knowledgeable of the place.
Prefer to cover all the above between 11 am and 5 pm with a break for lunch. All the temples and caves close by 6 pm so plan your visit. One day visit is enough to visit all the above mentioned. If you want to take a day off to relax then keep 2 day visit.
We had lunch at Delhi Dhaba (open Hotel Tamil nadu). Food was very good but very expensive. Overall a good pleasure trip to relax and wonder why, who and how were these structures built 1200 years back during the Pallava dynasty.
Hope the review helps.
I am heading to Mahabalipuram
Chennai (2N), Kanchipuram (1N), Mahabalipuram (1N), Pondicherry (2N), Thanjavur (1N), Trichy (1N), Chettinad (1N), Madurai (3N), Munnar (2N), Kochi (Cochin) (2N), Alappuzha (Alleppey) (1N), Kovalam (320 Nights / 21 Days
₹ 63,000 Onwards
Mahabalipuram (1N), Pondicherry (2N), Chennai (1N)4 Nights / 5 Days
₹ 27,500 Onwards
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.