Chennai is the fifth largest city of the country and one of the most visited Indian cities by foreign nationals. Characterized by historical monuments, splendid churches, magnificent temples, interesting museums and wonderful beaches, it attracts tourists of all ages.
Travellers have the opportunity to explore an array of weekend getaway destinations in the nearby locations. Mahabalipuram is an enigmatic place to visit and an idyllic weekend getaway situated at a distance of 60 km from Chennai. Take our one day Chennai to Mahabalipuram Tour by car and discover the amazing sightseeing spots of the city.
Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram was a flourishing port town of Pallava dynasty. The historical monuments of Mahabalipuram give a great opportunity to experience the ambience of bygone eras. It has been named as Mahabalipuram after the demon named Mahabali.
This mystical town flourished as a centre of art and culture under the rule of Mahendravarman I. His son Narasimhavarman encouraged the artistic works and this was continued by the following Pallava kings.
The charming city showcases several tourist attractions. Join our one day Chennai to Mahabalipuram tour and get a gratifying experience ever.
Package Glimpse of One Day Chennai to Mahabalipuram Tour
Explore the remarkable history and culture of South India with the visit to the town of Mahabalipuram that has been popular for its distinctive rock cut sculptures and shrines. History enthusiasts would be delighted to witness these rock cut sculptures.
Acquaint yourself with the striking sightseeing spots of the town that boasts of cultural treasures with our exciting 1 day Chennai to Mahabalipuram trip by private cab. The tour covers majestic temples, exotic beaches and informative museum. Mahabalipuram Sea shore temple is a key attraction of this tour which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Start your historic voyage with the visit to the Mahabalipuram Seashore Temple and proceed further to the inspiring museum of DakshinaChitra. Head towards an amazing archaeological interesting site of Arjuna’s Penance and then from here we take a relaxing stop at the Covelong Beach.
Traverse through the ancient heritage site of Pancha Rathas. Enjoy a boat ride across the Muttukadu backwaters and finally head to the magnificent temple of Lord Krishna.
1. Mahabalipuram Seashore Temple
Kick start your historical one day Chennai to Mahabalipuram journey with the visit to the most prominent attraction of the ancient town, the famed Sea Shore temple.
Built in the 7th century the glorious temple has three shrines, one dedicated to Lord Shiva and others dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu appears in the reclining form on the Sheshanag.
A distinguishing feature of the temple is that it is one of the oldest five storied rock-cut structural temple. The east facing shrine has the sun rays directly falling on the Shiva Linga. This ancient complex is an important pilgrimage site and a classic example of Dravidian architecture.
Visitors would appreciate the grandeur of the temple where every structure in the temple complex is richly decorated and gives this temple its imposing character. Take in the elegance of the temple with a pyramidal structure that is 60 feet high and sits on a 50 feet high square platform.
Nandi sculptures are beautifully carved on the walls of the temple. Pallava king Narasimhavarman II constructed the temple which had additions made by the Chola kings.
- Must see \ Things to do: Images of Nandi that adorn the temple
Learn about the South Indian traditions, art and craft with the visit to an amazing museum called DakshinaChitra, the next stopover of our same day Chennai to Mahabalipuram tour.
Spread over an area of 10 acres facing the Bay of Bengal the history museum was developed by the Madras Craft Foundation in 1996. Exhibiting the Indian heritage and culture, the museum is set on the land taken on a 33-year lease from the Government of Tamil Nadu.
This treasured museum has been developed as a heritage village that showcases the life pattern of South Indian states. DakshinaChitra means a picture of the south and as such it exhibits a remarkable collection of artefacts representing the art, folk, craft and architecture of South India.
The distinctive heritage village has an impressive collection of 18 historical houses featuring the traditions of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, North Karnataka, Kerala and Telangana.
As per certain records the informative museum founded by the Madras Craft Foundation an NGO started in 1984 by Deborah Thiagarajan had around 4200 artefacts. It also has a rich collection of clothes and southern state attire.
It has a splendid collection of books and journals based on the arts, crafts and folklore of South India. Take a look at the amazing collection of 1000000 pictures showcased in the museum. It also holds workshops for training in traditional crafts such as indigo dying.
- Must see \ Things to do: Traverse through the distinguished heritage houses
3. Arjunar Penance
Head out for another architectural treasure with the one day Chennai to Mahabalipuram trip. Marvel at the grandeur of the magnificent architectural boulders, the Arjunar Penance. Get amazed with the depiction of Arjuna making penance to Lord Shiva seeking the Pasupatra Astra for defeating the Kauravas.
Some legends state that it is the depiction of Sage performing penance to seek Shiva’s help in bringing River Ganga from the heavens to earth.
The boulders are noteworthy for its beautiful carvings of animals like elephants and monkeys, birds, images of gods, human beings, saints and beasts. These breathtaking carvings educe admiration.
Other notable carvings include that of the hunters, trees belonging to the Himalayan ranges, deva ganas. Visitors can see the Sun God called Surya, who is accompanied by celestial beings, the flying Gandharvas and the dwarves called the Bhuta Ganas.
- Must see \ Things to do: Images of elephants and other animals
4. Covelong Beach
The next sightseeing spot of our one day Chennai to Mahabalipuram tour is the famous Covelong Beach. Dotted with beautiful palm trees the fabulous beach proffers several activities to keep its visitors engaged. Located at a distance of 17 km from Mahabalipuram it is more popular as Kovalam beach.
It was once a famous port constructed by the Carnatic Nawab in the 17th century. A Catholic church and a mosque located on the beach add to the charm of the beach. There is also a fort located near the beach.
- Must see \ Things to do: Visit the ancient fort of the beach
5. Pancha Rathas
Full day Mahabalipuram trip takes you to a jaw dropping attraction of Mahabalipuram, the Pancha Rathas. These inspiring monolithic rock structures remind you of the ancient chariot or Rathas and have been named after the five Pandavas.
Adorned with ornate carvings these archaeological complexes were made of granite under the rule of the Pallava King Mahendravarman I. Designated as UNESCO Heritage Site it portrays stories from the ancient period. As the structures were not completed these were never consecrated.
Among the five Rathas, Dharmaraja Ratha is the largest one with beautiful depictions of the deities, Lord Shiva, Krishna, Skanda, Brahma-Sasta, Harihara and Shakti.
A most stunning image of Lord Krishna dancing on the ferocious Kaliya Snake is found on the walls of the ratha. It enshrines Lord Shiva. Another dramatic ratha is the Bhima Ratha with awesome decorative columns and an oblong structure. This ratha is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and resembles that of Buddhist cave architecture.
Arjuna Ratha has a two tiered Vimana facing west and enshrines Lord Shiva. The sanctum sanctorum or the Garbhagriha has pillared Mukha Mandapa with the entrance resting on two pillars. Nakul and Sahadeva Ratha dedicated to Lord Indra have beautiful images of animals and the Nandi bull, the Vahana of Lord Shiva.
Draupadi Ratha dedicated to Goddess Durga has beautiful sculptures of lion and elephant. Nestled amidst these structures is a huge structure of an elephant.
- Must see \ Things to do: Capture the amazing rock structures in your camera
6. Crocodile Bank
Head over to the sanctuary that houses more than 5000 crocodiles. Crocodile Bank is one of the most preferred sightseeing spot of wildlife enthusiasts boarding our one day Chennai to Mahabalipuram tour.
Developed by herpetologist Mr. Whitaker in 1976 it also accommodates several species of Indian and African alligators and crocodiles. Refuge to the snakes including the Indian Python, the crocodile farm also has a snake venom extraction centre maintained by the Irula Snake Catchers Industrial Cooperative Society.
- Must see \ Things to do: Enjoy witnessing the wild reptiles in their natural habitat
7. Muttukadu Beach \ Boat House
Take a boat cruise over the Muttukadu Backwaters established and maintained by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. The backwaters are formed due to a lake connected to the Bay of Bengal to the East of the Muttukadu Boathouse
Visitors can opt from the range of boats available that includes motor boats, pedal boat and row boat. Bird lovers would be delighted to see varied species of birds.
- Must see \ Things to do: Take a boat ride
8. ISKCON Temple Chennai
Last local sightseeing spot of our one day Chennai to Mahabalipuram tour is the famed ISKCON Temple. One of the most enigmatic temples built in 2012 with several distinctive features. Situated on the Hare Krishna road at Sholinganallur, the temple enshrines Radha Krishna, Lalita Vishakha, Jagannatha Baladeva and Subhadra.
A glorious temple set on an expansive area of 1.5 acres it is constructed in five levels and exhibits Pallava and Kalinga architectural style. The idols of the glorious temple placed in the majestic teak wood altars enhance the elegance of the temple. A life size statue of a cow feeding its calf is set at the entrance of the temple.
- Must see \ Things to do: Marvel at the beautiful carvings on the glasses
A perfect blend of culture, architectural and historical influences delights every visitor who takes our one day enchanting Chennai to Mahabalipuram trip. Strolling through the historical monuments gives a glimpse of what the city used to look like. This interesting tour unveils the splendour and charm of the old town.
Chennai has an interesting list of destinations in its neighbourhood. Check out our impressive collection of amazing one day tour packages from Chennai.