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Mahabalipuram (or Mamallapuram) is a very popular sightseer destination in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It is located around 40 KM from Chennai, on the East Coast Road (ECR). You can also reach it via OMR (Old Mahabalipuram Road) as well, but the ECR is favorite as it is the entertainment highway of Chennai and the road runs parallel/close to the sea. If you leave your windows open, you might even get some sea draught, as you travel!

Mahabalipuram Beach

Since the Mahabalipuram bus-stand (which should come on your right-side as you enter from ECR), if you take the immediate left (just after crossing the bus-stand), you can park your vehicle and go traditional to the beach. This is a family beach and will be quite crowded whenever you visit. Some water sports actions are available, I will update this space when I get more details.

Shore Temple

Although coming back from the Mahabalipuram beach, you can find some exciting shops and after you finish shopping there, you can enter into the shore temple complex. It’s the only one (of seven other temples) that survived various Tsunamis and is still vertical tall after all these years. You’ll have to visit it to esteem its beauty.

Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots)

Following, I propose you to visit Five Chariots (Pancha Rathas) as the architecture of these rock statues will blow your mind away. This is a very significant/popular site in Mahabs. When you come out of the shore temple and go straight, you get a connection where you need to turn left. From there, you need to take a left in the next junction and go further up (0.5 KM) to reach this site.

Light house / Surrounding Monuments

When you come back from the Pancha Rathas, on your left you’ll find the light house/some monuments nearby it. You can really climb this light house!! Otherwise, you can climb a small rock that is situated right next to this light house. Either way, the view from the top to be quite unsettled.

Arjuna’s Penance/Descent of the Ganges

Subsequently visiting the light house, if you come further down, you get the site of the open air bas-relief with beautiful carvings, called Arjuna’s penance / Descent of the Ganges. This is on the main road, and you should walk into the rock-cut caves nearby, to find more stone carvings. An interesting site.

Krishna’s butter ball & Thirumurthi cave

The Krishna’s butter ball is the large rock-ball that you see in the overhead photo. It has somehow been standup there without rolling down! If you are a brave heart, you can sit down underneath it and hope that it won’t roll on you ?? The Thirumurthi cave is nearby.

Varaha Cave, Rayar Gopuram & Ramanuja Mandapam

These memorials can be found in the same campus that houses the Krishna’s butter ball. There are a lot of rocks and you need to climb a few rocks to reach these sites (they are flat, not steep). Kids will enjoy singing around the rocks.

Tiger Caves (5 KM before Mahabalipuram)

The Tiger Caves are situated 5 KM before Mahabalipuram (when you go from Chennai). You can visit it while going or while impending back from Mahabs. It’s a well continued lush green surroundings with rocks and rock-cut sculptures. The monuments here are similar to Mahabalipuram but this place is quieter and less crowded.

How to Reach

   By Plane

Chennai Airport serves as the closest airport to Mamallapuram. The airport is located around 58 km away from the temple town. Chennai is well connected with rest of India by all major domestic airlines.

   By Train

Nearest train station to Mamallapuram is Chengalpattu Junction. It connects Chennai and various parts of Tamil Nadu by express and mail trains. On arrival at the station, one can hire a cab to travel a distance of around 29 km to reach Mamallapuram.

   By bus

Mahabalipuram is well connected to other major cities of the country via regular buses.

   By Luxury car

Mamallapuram is well connected by road with rest of Tamil Nadu. you can hire luxary car hire.

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