17 Things To Do In Mahabalipuram

Things To Do In Mahabalipuram

Nestled on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Mahabalipuram is a charming coastal town in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. Steeped in history, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its ancient rock-cut temples, intricate carvings, and a serene beach setting. If you’re planning a visit to this cultural gem, here’s a curated list of things to do in Mahabalipuram that will ensure you make the most of your time in this historic town.

Things To Do In Mahabalipuram

  1. Marvel at the Shore Temple:

Start your journey by visiting the iconic Shore Temple, a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture. Built in the 8th century, this temple stands on the edge of the Bay of Bengal and offers a breathtaking view, especially during sunrise and sunset.

  1. Explore the Pancha Rathas:

Mahabalipuram is home to the Pancha Rathas, a group of five monolithic rock-cut temples representing various styles of South Indian architecture. Each ratha (chariot) is dedicated to a different deity, showcasing the exquisite craftsmanship of the Pallava dynasty.

  1. Visit the Descent of the Ganges:

The Arjuna’s Penance, also known as the Descent of the Ganges, is an enormous bas-relief carved on two massive rocks. Depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, this masterpiece is a testament to the artistic prowess of the ancient sculptors.

  1. Discover the Mahabalipuram Cave Temples:

Take a stroll through the Mahabalipuram Cave Temples, a series of sanctuaries carved out of rock. Admire the intricate carvings depicting scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and don’t miss the famous Varaha Cave Temple.

  1. Relax at Mahabalipuram Beach:

Unwind and soak in the tranquil vibes at Mahabalipuram Beach. Whether you’re a fan of serene sunrises, relaxing sunsets, or just want to enjoy the sound of the waves, this beach provides a perfect setting for leisure.

  1. Try Local Delicacies:

Indulge your taste buds in the local cuisine of Mahabalipuram. Fresh seafood, especially the famous Fish Curry, and traditional Tamil dishes are a must-try. Explore the local eateries for an authentic culinary experience.

  1. Witness the Five Rathas Dance Festival:

If you’re fortunate enough to visit during the annual Mamallapuram Dance Festival (December to January), witness classical dance performances against the backdrop of the stunning monuments, adding a cultural dimension to your visit.

  1. Shop for Stone Sculptures:

Mahabalipuram is renowned for its exquisite stone sculptures. Visit the local markets to buy intricate carvings and sculptures crafted by skilled artisans. It’s a perfect way to take a piece of Mahabalipuram’s heritage home with you.

  1. Visit the Light House:

Climb to the top of the Mahabalipuram Lighthouse for a panoramic view of the town and its surroundings. The climb is worth the effort, offering breathtaking views of the historic monuments, the coastline, and the Bay of Bengal.

  1. Explore the Crocodile Bank:

For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to the Crocodile Bank is a must. Located a short distance from Mahabalipuram, this conservation center is home to various species of crocodiles and alligators. Educational and engaging, it’s an excellent outing for families.

  1. Attend a Workshop at the Sculpture Museum:

Mahabalipuram is famous for its stone carvings, and the Sculpture Museum provides an opportunity to witness the evolution of this art form. Attend a workshop to try your hand at carving under the guidance of skilled artisans and take home your own creation as a unique souvenir.

  1. Relish Water Sports:

Mahabalipuram’s coastal location makes it an ideal spot for water sports. Try your hand at windsurfing, catamaran rides, or simply enjoy a banana boat ride. The local beaches offer a range of water activities for adventure seekers.

  1. Visit the Tiger Cave:

Explore the Tiger Cave, an archaeological site surrounded by lush greenery. Though it is not directly related to tigers, the cave is adorned with carvings and is a serene place for a quiet retreat away from the bustling tourist spots.

  1. Attend a Cultural Performance:

Check the local schedule for cultural performances such as traditional dance or music shows. Many venues in Mahabalipuram host performances that provide insights into the rich cultural heritage of the region.

  1. Take a Cycling Tour:

Rent a bicycle and explore the town at your own pace. Cycling allows you to meander through the narrow lanes, discover hidden gems, and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of Mahabalipuram.

  1. Day Trip to Kanchipuram:

Extend your exploration to the nearby city of Kanchipuram, known for its ancient temples and silk weaving industry. Spend a day marveling at the architectural wonders and indulging in some silk shopping.

  1. Experience Silence at Othavadai Street:

Othavadai Street is a peaceful, narrow lane lined with cafes and art shops. It offers a serene environment to take a leisurely stroll, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy some quiet time away from the bustling tourist spots.


Mahabalipuram is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, history buff, or someone seeking a peaceful coastal retreat, Mahabalipuram has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage, explore the architectural marvels, and create lasting memories in this enchanting town on the southeastern coast of India.

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