Cholan Tours-Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram destination information

Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram destination information

  • April 04, 2024

Tourist destinations have completely transformed, and each destination undergoes a significant transition. For example, in Mahabalipuram, there is a new normal. Until a few years ago, this location served as a tourist hotspot. However, it has now emerged as a serious wedding destination following the pandemic, like Udaipur in Rajasthan. Most of the hotels in Mahabalipuram are now venues for weddings that last for two full days, which the hotels refer to as a 'buyout' period. Hotels favour wedding groups over tour operator bookings for a variety of reasons. They are charging ridiculous prices post-pandemic, yet hotel quality has not improved in any way. Service standards are also not up to the mark these days.

Despite us holding a written confirmation, if there is a buy-out issue, hotels expect us to either amend the dates or look for a different hotel. So, as tour operators, we have to be extra cautious in future, about any hotels we choose in Mahabalipuram. It is always better to be prepared with alternative hotel options in Mahabalipuram throughout the wedding season (October to February) to avoid last-minute problems.

Please see the destination information – Kanchipuram, followed by Mahabalipuram.

Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram, popularly known as Kanchi, is an ancient city in Tamil Nadu. It is a lovely and historic city that showcases Tamil Nadu's rich culture and tradition. It is also known as the "City of Thousand Temples" due to its large number of temples. The city thrived as the Pallava dynasty's capital from the sixth to the eighth centuries. Pallavas were tremendous patrons of art and architecture, and their reign is reflected in the magnificent temples that still exist in Kanchipuram today. The city is still an important pilgrimage place for Hindus, a hub for Tamil culture & some of the temples were built during the period of the Pallava and Tuluva Dynasty. Kanchipuram is not only famous for its temples but renowned worldwide for its exquisite Kanchipuram silk saris.  Thousands of families are engaged in the silk-weaving business. The best time to visit Kanchipuram is in the winter (November to February) when the weather is lovely.

Getting to Kanchipuram: 

By Air: The nearest airport is Chennai International Airport which is 75 km away & 02 hours drive to reach Kanchipuram. 

By Train: Chennai Central Railway Station and Arakkonam Railway Station are nearby stations to Kanchipuram and well connected to other parts of Tamil Nadu & other states. Kanchipuram has its Railway station too & the station code is CJ. 

By Road: The city is located on the Chennai-Bangalore highway and is easily connected by a good network of roads. 

A tour of Kanchipuram is incomplete without visiting the following places. Here's a handpicked list that includes must-see temples, cultural experiences, and historical sites.

Kailasanathar temple: The Kailasanathar temple is a captivating demonstration of the artistic brilliance of the Pallava Dynasty. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva with its intricate carvings, historical significance, and architectural beauty will leave you awestruck. The temple was built around the 08th century by King Narasimha Varman II (or Raja Simha) with later additions by Mahendravarman III, during the Pallava dynasty showcasing the Dravidian architectural style. The Architectural beauty of the temple is built out of sandstone & The temple complex consists of a pyramidal Tower and pillared halls. The structure of the temple contains 58 Small shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to local belief, the temple was a safe sanctuary for the rulers of the kingdom during wars. A secret tunnel, built by the kings, was used as an escape route and is still visible. The Temple features intricate sandstone carvings throughout the complex, depicting various Hindu deities, mythological scenes, and floral patterns. These carvings are a treasure trove of information about the art and culture of the period. 

Time to Visit: 09.00 AM to 12.00 PM & from 04.00 PM to 07.00 PM. 

Entrance Fee: No. 

Holidays: No 

Please note, that non-Hindus will not be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple.

Ekambareshwarar temple: The Ekambareswarar temple in Kanchipuram is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is one of the prominent Pancha Bhoota Shtalams representing “Earth” – Prithvi. The temple is 6000 years old with the origin and the current temple structure dates to the Pallava era during the 6th to 09th Century. Later the Cholas also contributed to the temple. Here Lord Shiva is worshipped as Ekambareswarar / Ekambaranathar or Rajlingeswaram and is represented by the lingam, with his idol referred to as Prithvi lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Elavarkuzhali. The temple is renowned for its massive, ancient mango tree in the courtyard, estimated to be over 3,500 years old. It's whispered to bear four different varieties of mangoes, symbolizing the four Vedas, the sacred Hindu scriptures. The inner walls of the temple are adorned with 1008 Shiva Lingas, representing various aspects of the deity. The Thousand Pillar Hall features intricately carved pillars, each unique in design. The speciality of this temple is that every year, on the 19th, 20th, and 21st of the Panguni month (March-April) of the Tamil calendar, the sun's rays fall directly on the main Shiva Linga, marking a significant festival occasion. Panguni Utsavam is celebrated during the month of March-April based on the lunar calendar and it lasts for 13 days especially on the 12th star (Utthiram star is also known as Uttara Phalguni Nakshatra) out of a total of 27 stars. 

Time to Visit: 06.00 AM to 12.30 PM & from 04.00 PM to 08.30 PM. 

Entrance Fee: No. 

Mobile Camera fee: Rs.10

Video Camera fee: Rs.100

Holidays: No 

Please note, that non-Hindus will not be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple.

Kamakshi Amman temple: The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi, an incarnation of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Kamakshi is believed to be one of the most powerful aspects of the Divine Mother. Her name itself is said to have three divine aspects representing the three goddesses Saraswati (knowledge), Lakshmi (prosperity), and Parvati (power). It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, sacred sites in Hinduism where body parts of the goddess Sakthi fell after her self-immolation. The belief is that the naval region of Sakti's body fell here. The temple showcases Dravidian architecture with four gopurams (gateway towers) facing each direction. The temple complex has several other shrines dedicated to various Hindu deities including Adi Shankara (a revered Hindu Philosopher & saint), Arumugam (Lord Muruga), Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Ganesha. The daily rituals at the temple begin with poojas offered to the sacred cow and the temple elephants. A sacred tank named theppakulam is in the centre of the temple complex, adding to the beauty of the temple.

Time to Visit: 05.00 AM to 12.30 PM & from 04.00 PM to 08.00 PM. 

Entrance Fee: No. 

Holidays: No 

Please note, that non-Hindus will not be allowed inside the temple.

Varadharaja Perumal Temple: The temple is also called Vishnu Kanchi which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The presiding deity is in standing posture facing east. The temple showcases the architectural skills of ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis in temple architecture having three outer precincts (prakarams), 32 shrines, 19 vimanams (towers), 389 pillared halls (most having the lion type yali sculptures) and sacred tanks some of which are located outside the complex. The temple was constructed by various kings. The main temple tower was built by the dynasty of Vijayanagar kingdom during the 14th – 16th century. It is considered one of the most important Vishnu temples in South India & one of 108 Divya Desams believed to have been visited by the 12 poet saints, or the Alvars. Brahmotsavam celebration at the temple will be during May / June based on the Lunar Calendar for 10 days. The highlight of the festival is celebrated on the 3rd day – Garudotsavam, the 7th day – Thiru Ther Utsavam (Chariot) and the 9th day – Theerthavari. 

The speciality of this temple is the Athivaradhar festival– This deity Athivaradhar is carved from wood and resides submerged in the temple pond. This idol is only brought out for public viewing once every 40 years. The last time the Athivaradhar festival was held was in 2019 & the next opportunity to witness this special event will be in the year 2059.

Time to Visit: 07.30 AM to 12.30 PM & from 03.30 PM to 08.00 PM. 

Entrance Fee: No. 

Mobile camera fee: Rs.5 

Video camera fee: Rs.100

Holidays: No 

Please note, non-Hindus will not be allowed inside the temple and they are allowed only for 100 pillar marriage hall. 

Vaikunta Perumal Temple: The Vaikunta Perumal Temple, also known as Thiru Parameswara Vinnagaram, is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Kanchipuram. The temple dates back to the Pallava era (during the period 6th-9th Century) and was built by the Pallava king Nandivarman II. The architecture reflects the Dravidian style, with later additions by the Cholas and the Vijayanagar Empire. The temple complex is relatively small but it is known for its exquisite sculptures and historical inscriptions. The inscriptions depict various events from the reigns of the Pallava monarchs. The Vaikunta Perumal temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, worshipped here as Vaikuntanatha (the 'Lord of Vaikunta') along with his consort, Lakshmi, as Sri Vaikundavalli.  The unique feature of the temple is the sanctum sanctorum with three tiers, showcasing Vishnu in three postures - standing, sitting, and reclining. It is one of the 108 holy shrines of Vishnu and is also considered archaeologically important because of its historical inscriptions that provide valuable information about the Pallava dynasty. The Vaikasi Brahmotsavam, celebrated during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May-June), and Vaikunta Ekadashi celebrated during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December-January) are the two major festivals celebrated in the temple. 

Time to Visit: 07.30 AM to 12.00 PM & from 04.00 PM to 07.30 PM. 

Entrance Fee: No. 

Holidays: No 

Please note, that non-Hindus will not be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple. 

NOTE: Coaches are not permitted to operate inside Kanchipuram town during peak season (October to March) and festival months. Since it is an ancient and small town, when it gets overcrowded, large vehicles such as coaches are prohibited from entering the town. Groups travelling by coach must take a Tuk-Tuk to visit the temple.

Kanchi Kudhil: Kanchi Kudil is a heritage museum housed in a century-old traditional residence in Kanchipuram. It offers a glimpse into the bygone era, showcasing the lifestyle and cultural heritage of the region through its well-preserved interiors and artefacts. The house itself is a beautiful example of South Indian architecture with features including open courtyards, a verandah, a backyard, and a pooja room showcasing how people performed their rituals. The museum displays a collection of antiques, old photographs depicting the lives of locals and their traditional attire, traditional wooden furniture, paintings adorning the walls, and utensils made of brass & bronze used in everyday life by the people of Kanchipuram. Kanchi Kudil provides a unique opportunity to experience the cultural heritage of Kanchipuram and step back in time to understand how people lived in the region a century ago.

Time to Visit: 09.00 AM to 05.00 PM  

Entrance Fee: Rs.20 

Video Camera Fee: No 

Still Camera fee: No 

Holidays: Sunday 

Local Festivals Celebrated in Kanchipuram:

Each festival offers a unique glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and vibrant religious traditions of this ancient city. Famous Festivals are Masi Mahotsavam, Mahashivratri Festival (Feb / March), Brahmotsavam, Garuda Sevai, Chariot Festival ( Varadha raja Perumal ) / Temple Car Festival & Float festival in Varadharaja Temple on Thai poosam – (Jan / Feb) on full moon day. Please find the details below 

  • In the month of February-March, the annual 21-day festival of Masi Mahotsavam is held at the Kamakshi Amman temple and is celebrated in two parts. The First part of the festival is celebrated for 12 days when the deity is taken on different vehicles and the second part of the festival is celebrated for 9 days. 
  • The Mahashivratri Festival is celebrated in February-March at all the Siva Temples, and it is more popular in Kailasanathar Temple 

 

  • Another prominent festival in Kanchipuram is Brahmotsavam, which is a ten-day-long festival celebrated in May. The festival is held at the Varadaraja Temple of Kanchipuram to honour Lord Varadaraja. Garudotsavam is part of the Brahmotsavam Festival when deities from the neighbouring temples are welcomed at the Varadaraja Temple. Interestingly on the ninth day of this festival, Temple Car Festival. This year Car festival will be celebrated on 27th May 2024

These are just a few of the many festivals that make Kanchipuram a vibrant and exciting place to visit throughout the year.

Activity:-

Silk Weaving Center:  Kanchipuram itself is the biggest hub for silk saree production in India. The art of Kanchipuram silk weaving has been passed down through generations for centuries. Weavers use traditional techniques and handlooms to create these exquisite sarees. These displays are passed down through families and operated by skilled artisans. Kanchipuram sarees are known for their intricate designs, often featuring geometric patterns, floral motifs, and temple borders. The zari work, which involves using high-quality threads made of gold or silver, adds to the beauty and grandeur of these sarees. The process of weaving a Kanchipuram includes dying the threads, preparing the warp and weft, and weaving the saree on the loom. It can take weeks or even months to complete a single saree, depending on the complexity of the design. There are many weaving establishments spread throughout Kanchipuram. Many weavers in Kanchipuram allow visitors to observe the weaving process firsthand. This is a great way to learn about the skill and dedication that goes into creating these sarees.

Excursions from Kanchipuram:

Vendanthangal Bird Sanctuary - The Vedanthangal bird sanctuary is the smallest in India situated in the Padalam in the Kanchipuram. It is 60 km away from the town. The sanctuary has been well-maintained by the local people for over 250 years. This place was approved for legal protection in 1798 and in 1936 it was declared as a bird sanctuary. Later in 1972, declared a wildlife sanctuary. Every year during the season around 30000 birds visit this area and around 115 species of birds are recorded at the Vedanthagal Bird Sanctuary. The birds visit this place from their original habitat & it travel more than a thousand miles to reach Vendanthangal Bird Sanctuary. The best month to visit the sanctuary is from October to March to witness the nesting birds.

Time to Visit: 06.00 AM to 06.00 PM  

Entrance Fee: For Foreigners – Adult Rs.100 & Child Rs.50 and For Indians – Adult Rs.10 & Child Rs.5 

Video Camera Fee: Rs.3000

Still Camera fee: Rs.500

Hotel details in Kanchipuram: 

Hotel Names

Category

Website Link

Distance from Ekambareshwarar Temple

GRT Regency (Best Available Hotel )

Deluxe (4*)

https://grthotels.com/kanchipuram

4 Kms

MM legacy

Standard (3*)

https://www.mmlegacy.in/

8 Kms

Pine Tree

Budget

https://www.google.com/search?q=pine+tree+kanchipuram

4 Kms

Tm INN

Budget

https://tminn.in/

4 Kms

SBK Park Inn

Budget

https://www.sbkparkinn.com/

3 Kms

Restaurant Details in Kanchipuram: 

Vegetarian Restaurants: 

  • A2B & Hotel Saravana Bhavan (Pure Veg) near Kanchipuram bus stand 
  • Upashana Restaurant (Pure Veg), Ulagandar Mada Street, Nellukara, Kanchipuram. Contact: 044 27230611
  • Dakshin Restaurant (Buffet Restaurant), GRT Regency, 487, Gandhi Rd, Ennaikaran, Kanchipuram. Contact: 044 67277778
  • Nithya Amirdham restaurant – Veg, SSK Grand Pl, 70, Annai Indira Gandhi Salai, Big, Kanchipuram, 631502. Contact number - 073585 21113
  • Sai Sangeeth - GRT Opposite ( Veg), A.K.S RANI MAHAL, 111, Gandhi Rd, next to PRAKASH SILK, Ennaikaran, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu 631501. Contact number - 044 4504 2167

Non -Veg Restaurants: 

  • Kudil Restaurant – Veg and Non-Veg, 53 A, SVN Pillai St, Pillaiyarpalayam, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu 631502. Contact number: 044 2722 7680
  • Eat me Restaurant (Multi Cuisine Restaurant). 33b, Vallal Pachaiyappan St, Ennaikaran, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu 631501. Contact Number : 044 2723 3533

Excursion options from Kanchipuram to nearby destinations 

Kanchipuram- Chennai - 75 Kms & 2 hrs Drive

Kanchipuram- Mahabalipuram - 75 Kms & 2 hrs Drive

Kanchipuram- Tiruvannamalai - 140 Kms & 3 hrs Drive

Kanchipuram- Vellore - 70 Kms & 2 hrs Drive

Kanchipuram- Tirupathi - 120 Kms & 3 hrs Drive

Kanchipuram- Pondicherry - 150 Kms & 3 hrs Drive

Mahabalipuram 

Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a town on the Coromandel Coast & a strip of land between the Bay of Bengal and the Great Salt Lake in the southeastern part of Tamil Nadu. It's a treasure trove of history and art, famous for its group of monuments from the 7th and 8th centuries, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also referred to as the “Open Air Museum” and was developed by the Pallava king Narasimha Varman I (“the great wrestler”) who ruled in the 07th Century. The town derives its name from its 7th-century ruler Narasimha Varman. 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. The Pallavas were patrons of art and architecture, and their reign saw the creation of the magnificent monuments that Mahabalipuram is famous for today. The town offers a unique blend of historical sites, beautiful beaches, and traditional crafts. The weather is pleasant, with comfortable temperatures ranging between 20-28 degrees Celsius during Winter (October – February) considered the peak season in Mahabalipuram. 

How to Reach Mahabalipuram: 

By Air - The nearest airport from Mahabalipuram is Chennai airport, which offers flights to practically all significant locations in India and overseas – 70 Km. 

By Rail – Chengalpattu – the closest train station, is located about 30 kilometres from Mahabalipuram. From here, you may get trains to Chennai and several other important South Indian destinations. 

By Road - Mamallapuram has excellent road connections to Chennai (70 km), Kanchipuram (70 km), and Pondicherry (100 km).

List of Attractions in Mahabalipuram: 

Shore temple: The shore temple is one of the oldest structural temples in South India built around the 08th Century AD during the Pallava Dynasty. It represents a significant shift from the earlier Pallava tradition of carving monuments out of rock faces. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its exquisite architecture and historical significance. The temple complex consists of three shrines, with the central shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva and the smaller shrines flanking it possibly dedicated to Vishnu. It showcases the Dravidian style of architecture, characterized by its pyramidal towers (vimanas). The exterior walls are adorned with elaborate sculptures depicting various Hindu deities and scenes from mythology. The temple’s location on the shore facing the Bay of Bengal sets it apart. Also, the rhythmic sound of waves crashing against the rocks creates a serene and mesmerizing atmosphere. Especially during sunrise and sunset, the temple is immersed in a warm golden light, making for a truly spectacular sight. 

Five Rathas: The Five Rathas also called Pancha Rathas are a group of monolithic monuments & are a captivating sight in Mahabalipuram located a short distance from the Shore Temple. These incredible structures are a major attraction for tourists which carved from a single massive granite rock outcrop around the 7th century. The five Rathas are named after the five Pandava brothers (Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva) and their wife Draupadi from the epic Mahabharata. Each Ratha depicts a Dravidian-style chariot inspiration and has unique designs & carvings. Draupadi Ratha: The smallest and simplest, resembling a hut with a thatched roof dedicated to Goddess Durga. Arjuna Ratha: dedicated to Lord Shiva - Square-shaped with a pillared porch and a small octagonal dome, reminiscent of later South Indian temple designs. Bhima Ratha: The largest and most imposing Ratha featuring a barrel-vaulted roof & lion figure flanking the entrance. Dharmaraja (Yudhishthira) Ratha: The tallest, with a pyramidal roof with lion figures and intricate carvings on the exterior walls. Nakula-Sahadeva Ratha: Rectangular with a shallow porch and decorative carvings. These carvings offer valuable insights into the religious beliefs and artistic styles of the Pallava era. The ASI confirmed the unfinished nature of the structures and suggested that they instead be referred to as Vimanas. However, the Pandava names have become permanent.

The shore Temple & Five Rathas excluding Tiger Caves

Time to Visit: 06.00 AM to 06.00 PM

Entrance fee: Foreigners – Rs.600 & For Indians – Rs.40 

Holidays: No 

Arjuna’s penance (Descent of the Ganges): Arjuna's Penance, also known as the Descent of the Ganges, is a monumental open-air rock relief in Mahabalipuram & carved by the Pallava Dynasty during the 7th- 8th centuries. The massive rock relief, measuring about 27 meters high and 90 meters wide, is a complex tableau depicting various figures and scenes from Hindu mythology. The central figure is believed to be Arjuna, the Pandava prince from the epic Mahabharata, performing a penance (tapas) to appease Lord Shiva and seek his divine weapon. The scene is intricately carved with numerous other elements including Ganges River Descent: The top portion depicts the descent of the holy Ganges River from heaven to Earth. Deities like Lord Shiva and Brahma are shown welcoming the river, while mythical creatures like lions and elephants flank the scene, Ascetics and Musicians: below, a group of ascetics performing austerities and musicians playing various instruments are depicted Animals and Nature: The carving also showcases a diverse range of animals like elephants, monkeys, and deer, along with trees and plants, creating a bustling and vibrant scene. It can symbolize the importance of perseverance and devotion in attaining one's goals. The inclusion of animals and nature represents the interconnectedness of all beings and the presence of the divine in the natural world.

Krishna’s butterball - A Balancing Rock at MahabalipuramThe Krishna Butterball's combination of natural wonder, folklore, and historical significance makes it a captivating landmark in Mahabalipuram. It is a massive granite boulder, approximately six meters high and five meters wide, weighing around 250 tonnes, rests precariously balanced on a much smaller base. Geologists believe it's a massive glacial erratic, a rock deposited by glaciers in a faraway location and transported here during ancient times. Local folklore offers a more whimsical explanation that the name "Krishna Butterball" comes from a Hindu legend. Lord Krishna, known for his love for butter as a child, is said to have dropped a ball of butter here. Its combination of natural wonder, folklore, and historical significance makes it a captivating landmark & visitors can marvel at its size and seemingly impossible balance. Interesting fact is that several Pallava Kings attempted to move it, but all the Kings and their elephants could not shift the boulder even by an inch.

Varaha Cave Temple: Varaha Mandapa or Adivaraha Cave is a unique rock-cut cave temple located in Mahabalipuram. Unlike the Shore Temple or the Five Rathas carved from large rock outcrops, the Varaha Cave Temple is a cave temple. This means it was carved directly into the side of a natural hill. The cave temple is located on the hills behind the Arjuna's Penance monument, around 4 kilometres north of the main Mahabalipuram sites. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one of the principal deities in Hinduism, specifically in his Varaha avatar (boar incarnation).The most prominent sculpture inside the cave depicts Lord Vishnu as Varaha emerging from the cosmic ocean, rescuing Bhudevi (goddess Earth) from the clutches of a demon Hiranyaksha. This story symbolizes the restoration of order and the triumph of good over evil. Apart from the central Varaha panel, the cave walls have other carvings depicting various Hindu deities, including Shiva, Durga, and Ganesha. The entrance to the cave is flanked by two squat pillars with lion sculptures, adding to the temple's grandeur.

Tiger Caves: Tiger Caves or Mandagapattu Caves are rock-cut monument complex offers unique historical and scenic experience but not as famous as shore temple or Five Rathas. The architectural style of the Tiger Caves belongs to the Pallava dynasty, likely built between the 7th and 8th centuries CE. The main cave features a flight of steps leading to a small portico with pillars flanked by sculptures of rampant tigers. Inside the cave, there are shrines dedicated to Hindu deities, though the carvings are not as elaborate as those in other monuments around Mahabalipuram. Two other caves with elephant head carvings are also part of the complex. The name "Tiger Caves" comes from the prominent carvings of tiger heads found around the entrance of the main cave. There’s some debate whether these carvings depict tigers, or a mythical creature called "yali," a lion-tiger hybrid.

Time to Visit: 06.00 AM to 06.00 PM

Entrance fee: Foreigners – Rs.300 & for Indians – Rs.20 

Holidays: No 

India Seashell Museum: India Seashell Museum, located in Mahabalipuram fascinates the visitors by its beauty and diversity of seashells. It is one of the largest seashell museums in Asia which boasts a collection of over 40,000 seashells from all over the world. The museum's collection is truly awe-inspiring, showcasing a vast array of seashells in all shapes, sizes, colours, and textures. Seashells play a vital role in the marine ecosystem, providing shelter for a variety of creatures. Seashells have been used for centuries in jewellery, decoration, and religious rituals. The museum showcases some of these fascinating cultural applications. The museum also houses exhibits on Marine Fossils - visitors can explore a collection of marine fossils, offering a glimpse into the prehistoric marine life that once existed, Pearl Museum - a dedicated section showcases the formation of pearls, different types of pearls, and their cultural significance and Mineral Museum- one can explore the collection of minerals and gemstones from around the world. Museum has different galleries & each gallery has a unique theme, showcasing a specific type of seashell or aspect of marine life.

Time to Visit: 09.00 AM to 06.00 PM

Entrance fee: For both Foreigner & Indian – Rs.300 

Video Camera Fee: Rs.250 

Still Camera Fee: Rs.100 

Holidays: No 

Crocodile Farm: The Crocodile Bank is located 40 kilometres south of Chennai towards Mahabalipuram. It was established in 1976 by herpetologist Romulus Whitaker and his wife Zai Whitaker with the objective of protecting India's diminishing crocodile population. The Crocodile Bank houses over 2,400 animals including 14 species of crocodiles, 10 species of turtles, 3 species of snakes, and 1 species of lizard. They are known for their successful breeding programs for endangered crocodiles including the three native Indian species: the mugger crocodile, the gharial, and the saltwater crocodile. Today it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions near Chennai while driving to Mahabalipuram. It is a great place to learn about reptiles and their conservation. The park offers a variety of educational programs, including guided tours, shows, and workshops.

Time to Visit: 09.00 AM to 05.30 PM – Ticket 

Entrance fee: For Foreigners & Indians Adult – Rs.100, Child below 10 years – Rs.50 

Night Safari except Monday – Timing is from 07.00 PM to 08.30 PM – Ticket Charge: Rs.300 

Video Camera Fee: 

Still Camera fee: Rs.25 

Holidays: Monday 

Dakshinachitra: Dakshinachitra, which translates to "a picture of the south", is a living-history museum located on the outskirts of Chennai on the East Coast Road. It was established in 1996 and showcases the art, architecture, lifestyles, crafts and performing arts of South India in a truly unique way. The museum resembles a heritage village, with relocated original dwellings depicting the life patterns of people in the states of Southern India and here, we can explore various house styles from different regions, including Nalukettu (Kerala),  Chettinadu houses (Tamil Nadu), Irukkadu Mane (Karnataka) and Ithaku (Andhra Pradesh). Dakshinachitra regularly features folk performances like dance, music, and puppetry. The museum demonstrates traditional crafts like bronze casting,  loom weaving,  teak toy making and lampshade decoration by skilled artisans. It's a perfect destination for families, history buffs, and anyone interested in experiencing the vibrant traditions of South India.

Time to Visit: 10.00 AM to 06.00 PM during Weekdays & 10.00 AM to 07.00 PM during Weekends 

Entrance fee: Foreigner – Rs.350 for both Weekends & Weekdays & Indian – Rs.150 on Weekdays & Rs.175 on Weekends. 

Video Camera fee: 

Still Camera Fee: 

Holidays: Tuesday and Diwali. 

En-route Attractions when driving to Mahabalipuram through ECR from Chennai 

Mamallapuram connects with Chennai by East Coast Road, which is a well-planned, laid scenic view road along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. To Mamallapuram, there are plenty of entertainment spots.

ISKCON Temple Chennai: ISKCON Temple is a Vaishnava temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is located on the East Coast Road. 

Time to Visit: 07.30 AM to 01.00 PM & 04.00 PM to 07.30 PM  

Nithya Kalyana Perumal Temple - 40 Km away from Chennai airport: The temple is more than 1000 years old. Based on the inscriptions found in the temple, it is said to have been built around the 8th Century A.D. This temple is located around 16 Km North of Mahabalipuram on the East Coast Road (ECR). One of the 108 “‘Divya Desams”.

Time to Visit: 06.00 AM to 12.00 PM & from 03.00 PM to 08.00 PM  

Muttukadu Boating: Muttukadu Boat House is a perfect place for the residents of the nearby metropolitan (Chennai) to relax. It's a popular spot for boating and other water activities, offering a serene escape from the bustling city life. The boathouse is situated in a beautiful backwater area of the Bay of Bengal. Enjoy a scenic ride amidst lush greenery and tranquil waters. It offers activities for people of all ages and interests with a wide combo of water sports such as motorboats, rowboats, and water scooters, along with the restaurant facility, it makes for a splendid spot to spend the day. Muttukadu can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. 

Sightseeing places 

Opening Time 

Closing Time 

Lunch Break  

Entrances Foreigners 

Entrances Indians

Camera Charges  

Video Camera Charges  

Holidays 

Address    

Muttukadu Boating

9.00 AM  

6.00 PM  

_

Starting price for boat ride per person – Rs. 350 
 Cost varies based on the boat’s seating capacity  

Starting price for boat ride per person – Rs. 350

Cost varies based on the boat’s seating capacity  

No 

No 

No 

09176995826 / East Coast Road, Muthukadu, Kovalam Post Tamil Nadu 603103

Amusement Park: 

S.No

Sightseeing places 

Opening Time 

Closing Time 

Lunch Break  

Entrances Foreigners – approximate cost 

Entrances Indians - approximate cost

Camera Charges  

Video Camera Charges  

Holidays 

Contact Number – Temple office or Monument office   

Address 

1

MGM Dizzee World - 25 Kms from Mahabalipuram

10.30 AM 

 6.30 PM/ 4:00 – counter closed 

_

Rs. 1180 for adults and Rs. 825 for Children / 4.4 height 

Rs. 1180 for adults and Rs. 825 for Children / 4.4 height for children’s 

No 

No 

No Holidays 

9840019376

Muthukadu, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600112

2

VGP Golden Beach / Marine kingdom - 35 Kms from Mahabalipuram

10.30 AM 

5.30 PM 

_

Rs. 750 for adults and Rs. 550 For Children 

Rs. 750 for adults and Rs. 550 For Children

RS. 50 

Rs. 150 

No holidays 

89397 00588

Injambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600115

Hotel details in Mahabalipuram: 

Hotel Names

Category

Website Link

Taj Fisherman’s Cove

Luxury (5*)

https://www.tajhotels.com/

Kaldan Samudhra

Luxury (5*)

https://www.kaldanhotels.com/

Intercontinental

Luxury (5*)

https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/

Sheraton Grand Resort & spa

Luxury (5*)

https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/

WH kences Palm, welcome hotel by ITC

Luxury (5*)

https://www.itchotels.com

Grande Bay Resort & Spa

Deluxe (4*)

https://www.grandebayresort.in/

Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay

Deluxe (4*)

https://www.radissonhotels.com/

Four Points by Sheraton

Deluxe (4*)

https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/

Pallava Dynasty

Budget

http://pallava-dynasty.hotelsintamilnadu.com/en/

Sea Breeze

Budget

https://www.seabreezeresort.in/

Ideal Beach Resort

Standard (3*)

www.idealresort.com 

MGM Beach Resort

Standard (3*)

https://www.mgm-hotels.com/

Marudham Village Resort (it is located 15 Kms away from Mahabalipuram and it’s not located at Beach)

 

Standard (2*)

 

https://maruthamresort.com/

Chariot Beach Resort

Standard (3*)

https://www.chariotbeachresorts.com/

Coral Beach Resort

Standard (3*)

https://www.coralbeachresort.in/

Mamalla Heritage

Budget

www.hotelmamallaheritage.com 

Mamalla Beach Resort

Budget

www.mamallaresort.com 

Mahabs Inn

Budget

www.hotelmahabs.com

Bodhi wood Resort

Budget

https://bodhiwoods.in/

Restaurant Details in Kanchipuram: 

Vegetarian Restaurants: 

  • A2B -Pure Veg, Shop No-78, Nehru Illam, E.C.R, Mada Koil St, Mahabalipuram, Salavankuppam
  • Restaurant in Hotel Mamalla Heritage (Golden Palate Pure Veg) & Mamalla Heritage (Wok to Dhaba restaurant)

 

Non -Veg Local Restaurants: (Sea Food) 

  • Bambino, 156, Othavadai Street Fisherman Colony, Mamallapuram Fishermen Beach, Mahabalipuram. 
  • Moon Rackers, No 34, Othavadai Street, Fisherman Colony, Mahabalipuram 603104 (Near Indian Overseas Bank). 
  • Taacos sea food restaurant, 144, Othavadai St, Fisherman Colony, Mahabalipuram. 
  • Santhana beach Restaurant, 178, Othavadai St, Fisherman Colony, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu 603104. 
  • Sea Rock Restaurant, No.123, GKM Street Beach side, Fisherman Colony, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu 603104. 
  • Harul Guest house restaurant, 182, Othavadai St, Fisherman Colony, Mahabalipuram – 603104. 

Activities to be enjoyed in Mahabalipuram:

Cycle Ride: (Normal bicycle)

Escape the tourist track—and wake up those calf muscles—on this relaxing bicycle tour through rural Tamil villages. Learn about centuries-old traditions and lifestyles, temples, and farms, covering more sights in less time on two wheels. Tours include a tender coconut as a refreshing local snack. A scenic guided bicycle tour of Tamil villages near Mahabalipuram.
 Surfing:

Mahabalipuram is also famous for the dreamy surfing adventure sports. This little place blessed with a stunning beach called “madhabs beach”, is a wonderland for surfing. A huge flock of surfers visits Mahabalipuram exclusively to enjoy surfing in the clean and divine waters of this amazing place. Mahabalipuram also provides various lessons and surfing board rental services for the tourists. Also, the great Mahabalipuram surf competition takes place for the surfers to show their talent and surfing skills. Keep aside Goa, Pondicherry, and other surfing spots and visit Mahabalipuram for a refreshing and memorable surfing experience.

Fishermen village visit: 

This is a fishing village which is remarkable for its Shore Temple. Entry was almost free but after it became a World heritage site it became expensive for non-Indian visitors. The 7th - 8th Century temples were carved out of solid rock and carving of granite is still important. Immerse yourself in the traditional way of life of the local fishing community. Here we can observe their daily routines, see the colorful fishing boats, and witness the process of drying fish on the shores & daily lives of fishermen as they mend their nets, prepare their boats, and return from their catches etc. The village is located along the scenic Mahabalipuram beach, offering beautiful views of the Bay of Bengal.

Some of the prominent festivals observed in Mahabalipuram:

Mahabalipuram Dance Festival (December – January):  

Mamallapuram Dance Festival is organized every year during December & January in Mahabalipuram by the Department of Tourism, Govt. of Tamilnadu. This 30-day extravaganza is a visual treat for art lovers. The breathtaking backdrop of the Shore Temple and the vibrant performances create a magical experience. Indian Classical dances including Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Mohini Attam, Odissi, Kathak etc., are performed by well-known exponents of the art & performance will be on open-air stage against the magnificent backdrop of the Pallava rock sculptures by Professional classical dance artists from all over India. Folk dancers add local touch to the festival. The Dance festival has evolved as one of the major cultural attractions of the southern state of India. 

Time: Between December & January

Duration: 30 Days  

Masi Magam (February – March):

Masi Magam is a Tamil Hindu festival celebrated particularly by the Tamil people. The festival is solemnized in the Tamil month - Masi which falls during February/March. On the day of Masi Magam the temple idols will be taken to the nearby local water bodies like seashore, lake or pond for ceremonial bath. The devotees also have a dip into the water to remove all their sins and achieve Moksha. Therefore, Masi Magam has special significance in the life of not only Mamallapuram people but considered sacred by all the Tamilians. A spectacular float festival and a dazzling display of lamps (Deepotsavam) are the highlights of this vibrant celebration.

SHARE_THIS_NEWS