It is 59km south of Madras. It was an old port city and capital of the
Pallava kings. It consists of 4 kinds of rock structures, cut-out monolithic
rock temples (rathas), cut-in cave temples (mandapams), temples constructed
from multiple pieces and materials, and bas-relief sculptures carved on
The combination of old 7th and 8th century Pallava
carvings, temples and wonderful beaches make the place a
beautiful tourist destination.
The Shore Temple is situated near the Ocean.
This was built by the Pallava King Rajasimha in the early 8th century. The
courtyard is surrounded by a massive wall. The entrances are guarded
by sculptures of mythical deities. Inside one of the shrines, there is
an image of Vishnu lying with a snake at his side in cosmic sleep on the
The Krishna Mandapam This is a 12 column cave
temple. It has a natural figure of a cow being milked. There is
a sculpture of Krishana holding up the Govardhan mountain to protect
his people from Indra's flood, on the black wall, in side the Mandapam.
The Adivaraha cave is famous
for its two portraits of royal Pallava kings with two goddesses.
The light house built
by the British gives a good view and serves as a landmark in navigation.
The Mahishamardini Cave is
near to the light house, on top of the hill. It is the most outstanding
mandapam. The wall on the right side, is carved with the Durga,
riding on the lion and defeating the Mahisha, the buffalo demon. In the
opposite side there was a carving of Vishnu reclining on the great serpent
Sesha. At the back of the Mahishamardini Cave there are three cells
containing Shiva, Uma (Consort of Shiva) and their son Skanda.
The Tiger Cave is 5Km away
from Mamallapuram, at Saluvankuppam, This place is a favorite picnic spot. The
cave is distinguished by the crown of carved tiger heads around the temple,
dedicated to Goddess Durga.
Tirukkalukundram (Sacred hill of Kites) is 15 Km west of Mamallapuram. The
pilgrims are come here to climb 500 steps to reach on top of the hill
to witness the Brahmin priests, who fed the two kites (birds).