While shifting to Chennai, I knew that I would have a lot of new places to visit and explore there. But, I was anxious if I would find anything there of my liking. Since, I am not living in the city but more on the outskirts of Chennai, travelling to any place from here within a budget is a tough task to achieve. There are barely any direct trains or buses or any other mode of transport. So me along with my friends decided to visit a place that is very near to our place of residence.

Mahabalipuram is situated along the coast of Bay of Bengal, at a distance of 33 to 40 kms from Chennai. You can find direct buses from the city, departing every half an hour and costing as low as 50 bucks per person.

Since South India is very famous for its rich culture, temples, and art, I was hoping to see and experience there as closely as possible.

Although Mahabalipuram is known for a lot of tourist places, I could visit only a few. So this blog post is about my 6 hours in Mahabalipuram.



If you are travelling on a budget, the best things about Mahabalipuram is-  only 1 entry ticket and 1 parking ticket is valid for every place you visit in Mahabalipuram. Although if you are foreigner, your ticket would cost 500 bucks. For fellow Indians, it is just Rs. 30 per head.

And if you are a foreigner married to an Indian, I suggest you carry with yourself a proof of your marriage. Because only then you can explore India at the rates for national citizens.




The first place we went to, was the infamous Shore Temple. Situated at the shoreline of Mahabalipuram beach, this temple is known for its unique architecture. It has been built by carving out a single piece of rock. Accompanied by the cool breeze from the beach, this beauty is a must visit place.




The Mahabalipuram beach is a sight to adore. It has various small vendors selling shells with carvings or seafood for delight. You can sit there in the evening, enjoy the cool breeze and waves of the uncurbed Bay of Bengal.



Next, we went to see the “Pancha Rathas”. It is an example of the monolithic Indian rock cut architecture.



This place has 5 monuments, each representing a chariot of Pandvas and their wife Draupadi from Mahabharat. Often mistaken as temples, each of these rathas are also carved out of a single stone of granite.




At 500 mtrs from here, you can visit the Mahabalipuram lighthouse.



NOTE : The entry to lighthouse would cost extra.

Going up on the lighthouse, you would have to climb a very steep set of staircases, so be careful! Although if you get past this, you can enjoy the weather, the breeze, and the amazing view of the city below. It’s worth the twisting of your torso on the staircase! 😃




Next comes the very controversial Krishna’s Butterball. The boulder is approximately 6 meters high and 5 meters wide and weighs around 250 tons.



It stands on an approximately 1.2-meter (4 ft) base on a slope, and is said to have been at the same place for 1200 years. It is said that a lot of efforts were made in every way possible to push this rock down the slope, but it remains unmoved. Although the reason for its fixation remains unknown, it is known to be a miracle of nature that attracts a large number of tourists every year.



There are still some places that I could not cover and I hope to visit there again and bring you the complete itinerary of Mahabalipuram. So until next time! 😊


15 thoughts on “The Art of Mahabalipuram

  1. Mahabalipuram is quite a hidden gem. I would love to lift that Krishna’s Butterball, especially since my very first granddaughter (she’s now 25) is named Krishna!

  2. Your post revived my childhood memories of my visit to Mahabalipuram. Krishna’s butterball or that big 250 tons stone is really a wonder. From centuries it is believed to be in that position. Very informative and nice description on Mahabalipuram.

  3. This place looks very interesting, and those rock formations are unreal. I’ve never been to India, let alone the south, so thank you for highlighting this place. The butterball boulder is so cool, such a strange shape.

  4. Wow the shore temple looks incredible. I would love to go visit it someday. And the rock looks like a fun experience. It is always neat to see natural oddities like that.

  5. I find it almost unbelievable that these sites and temples are carved out a single piece of rock! I have never heard of Shiva’s butterball before, so right now I’m pretty fascinated by all that has been shown in this post. India has so much amazing places like this it seems! Definetly a cool place to visit. Unreal!

  6. These sights are amazing! I find it cool how countries charge different prices for nationals of the country to foreigners. Thailand does the same. I love the photo at the end with the huge rock that looks about to fall over.

    1. Haha.. Well we tried to make it fall. But then it would no longer been a miracle rock!

  7. I love your pictures, I scrolled back through them a couple of times. It has always been difficult for me to distinguish between northern and southern India and what the differences actually were. Thank you for providing an interesting spot for me and more clarity.

    1. I am glad i helped. The southern india is more famous for its unique architecture of temples.

  8. Mahabalipuram needs no introduction but sadly I have never managed to visit it. For the first time, I am seeing so many Nandi statues together. I think it is really unique, even compared to other epic temple complexes in the Southern Peninsula.

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