Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram Day Tour
We are providing a private tour to Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram in a single day. We are providing the best among all with experienced guide and drivers. We are not commercially oriented and only focus on satisfaction of the customers.
per adult from
Hotel pickup available
What's included :
- Air-conditioned vehicle
- All Fees and Taxes
- Entry/Admission - Pancha Rathas
- Entry/Admission - Arjuna's Penance
- Entry/Admission - Krishna's Butter Ball
- Entry/Admission - Shore Temple
- Entry/Admission - Ekambareswarar Temple
- Entry/Admission - Kailasanatha Temple
- Entry/Admission - Kanchi Kudhil
- Entry/Admission - Vaikunta Perumal Temple
What's excluded :
- Coffee and/or Tea
- This is a typical itinerary for this product
Stop At: Pancha Rathas, Kancheepuram District, Mahabalipuram 603104 India
The Five Rathas or Panch Rathas are five monolithic temple structures built by the Pallavas in early 7th century AD. Situated in a common complex to west of the Shore temple in Mahabalipuram, the Pancha Rathas display exquisite carvings carved out from a single large boulder.
They are named after the Pandavas Yudhisthira, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakul, Sahadeva and their wife Draupadi. However as the names might suggest, the temples are not related to the Pandavas of Mahabharata fame but, unfinished masterpieces of the Pallava dynasty.
The construction of the Rathas is believed to have been started by King Mahendravarman I of the Pallava dynasty. It was continued by his son Narasimhavarman I in early 7th century AD. The temple were however left incomplete after the Narasimhavarman I’s death.
Based on the amazing ornamentation and sculptures however, it can be safely assumed that they were supposed to be temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Indra and Durga.
Pancha Rathas though belong to the very rare examples where whole buildings with ornate exterior and interior are cut from live cliff. The incredibly skilled Indian stonecutters here used a ridge of pink granite and, by removing the “spare” cliff, created a five structures – rathas – and three large monolithic sculptures among these structures.
These monoliths of Mahabalipuram were declared a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984. The temples are shaped like Rathas or temple chariots with an exception that, there are no wheels. They are an excellent example of art from the Pallava times.
These low-lying rock temples were influenced by Buddhist architecture as they were built in the same shape as pagodas, and greatly resemble the Buddhist vihara (monastery) and chaitya (temple hall). Their architecture most likely is much influenced by the architecture of wooden structures
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Arjuna's Penance, West Raja Street Near Ganesha Ratha, Mahabalipuram 603104 India
Arjuna’s Penance is one of the magnificent monuments of Mahabalipuram. This wonderful bas air relief dates back to the mid-seventh century. Standing tall at a height of 43 feet, the monolith was carved on the face of two huge adjoining boulders, making its length around 96 feet. The majestic structure cannot be made out in photographs, it deserves to be praised by one’s own eyes. The subject of the massive structure is either Arjuna's Penance or the Descent of the Ganges, or possibly both. Historians and experts of archeology have never settled on one account as there are not sufficient sources or records.
‘Arjuna's Penance’ is an extract from the Mahabharata, of how Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, performed severe austerities in order to obtain Shiva's weapon. The concept of the story encompasses Hindu philosophy where it is believed that one could by penance, self-mortification, attain miraculous blessings from the Gods. The ‘Descent of Ganges’ story narrates the penance of Bhagirathi who performed austerities in order to bring Goddess Ganges down to earth. Lord Shiva consented to break the force of the descent of the river his hair, because otherwise the force would be too great for the earth to contain. The representation of the megalith relief supports either legend.
The composition of the relief includes scenes of the natural and celestial worlds. A natural cleft populated by Nagas (snakes) separates the two halves of the relief. Water pours down this fissure imitating a waterfall or the Ganges' descent. Just above the shrine, Arjuna or Bhagiratha is carved standing on one leg, his arms upraised, in a yoga posture. Behind him appears Lord Shiva, holding a weapon and attended by celestial beings. In the natural world life-sized elephants are shown protect their young. There are also numerous other animals. The entire presentation is done with utmost skill.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Krishna's Butter Ball, E Raja St, Mahabalipuram 603104 India
The giant boulder appears to be frozen in its roll down the hill it sits on, and no one is quite sure why. The huge boulder is likely a glacial erratic that got stranded in a serendipitous position on the hill, but local legend has another version of the story. According to Hindu mythology, when the great god Krishna was just a baby, he was fond of stealing butter. Following this tradition, the big orange stone has been likened to a giant dollop of purloined butter that the god dropped.
The actual name of the stone is “Vaan Irai Kal,” which translates to “Sky God’s Stone,” and according to one source, the more playful name was given to the rock by a local tour guide. However it got its sort of silly name, it stuck.
Reinforcing the stone’s strangely balanced position, the slippery stone slope is used by local children as a slide. Today Krishna’s Butter Ball is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors to the site love to try to get behind the stone and try to push it down the hill. So far no human power has been able to budge the buttery boulder.
Best of all, sometimes the local goats climb on top of it. It’s adorable.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Shore Temple Rd, Mahabalipuram 603104 India
Shore TempleShore Temple is a standing testimonial to the regal heritage of India. Located at Mahabalipuram, Shore Temples can easily be reached by taking regular buses or by hiring taxis from anywhere in Tamil Nadu. The nearest airport is located at Chennai that lies at a distance of 60 kms from Mahabalipuram. One of the most photographed monuments in India, Shore Temple is a structural monument on the shores of Bay of Bengal.
Built in the 7th century, Shore Temple depicts the royal taste of Pallava dynasty. During the reign of Rajasimha, the temple saw its construction when Pallava art was at its apex. Ravaged by wind and sea, the temple has witnessed the historical events of India. This work of genius was recognized and listed amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Shore Temple comprises three shrines, where the prominent ones are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. In the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), an image of Shivalinga embraces the site. At the rear end, one can find two shrines facing each other. Here, one shrine is dedicated to Ksatriyasimnesvara and other to Lord Vishnu. In the shrine, Lord Vishnu is imaged reclining on the 'Seshanag', which is a symbol of consciousness in Hinduism.
The exterior wall of the shrine to Lord Vishnu and the internal side of the boundary wall are elaborately carved and sculptured. The images on the sculpted panels depict scenes from everyday life. However, the sculptures are incredibly real and artistic. The exterior walls of the temple are segregated by plasters into bays, where the lower part has been impressed into a series of nurturing lions. The archeological department has excavated certain other figures from the site.
Shore Temple is no more a living temple. The structure of the temple makes one to contemplate and perhaps, it was erected basically as a work of art. The Pallavas were known to be the great patrons of art and were keen to create their own style of temple architecture. In the present day, Shore Temple makes the background of Mahabalipuram Dance Festival that is held in Jan /Feb every year. The festival was organized to promote the traditional dance as well as tourism in Mahabalipuram.
Shore Temple is also acknowledged for being the first stone structure made by Pallavas. Before this, the monuments used to be carved out of the rocks or stones. Unlike other monuments of the region, Shore Temple is a five-storied rock-cut structural temple more willingly than monolithical. In southern India, this is one amongst the earliest and most important structural temples. The spire is extensively decorated with carvings and sculptures. In the recent years, a stone wall has been constructed to protect the shrine from further sea-erosion.
Perched on a 50 feet square plinth, the pyramidal structure raises to the extent of 60 feet. Presenting a typical specimen of Dravidian temple architecture, Shore Temple generates an exclusive combination of history and natural splendor. The temple was designed to grasp the first rays of the rising sun and to spotlight the waters after sunset. In the words of Percy Brown, Shore Temple served as "a landmark by day and a beacon by night".
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Ekambareswarar Temple, Ekambaranathar Sannidhi Street, Kanchipuram 631502 India
Significance: This vast temple with high rising Gopurams dominates the skyline of Kanchipuram the historic capital of the Pallavas. Kanchipuram - a temple town is considered to be the foremost among the seven prime pilgrimage centers in India. Along with Mamallapuram and Tirukkalunkunram, this town attracts the attention of several tourists in Chennai. Shiva is the presiding deity here, worshipped as Prithvi Lingam, symbolizing earth - one of the five primordial elements. This ancient temple has been in existence even prior to 600 AD and has been sung by the revered Saivite Saints. No separate shrine for Parvati exists here. Pallavas, Cholas and the Vijayanagar Kings especially Krishna Deva Raya have contributed to this temple.
Antiquity: This is one of the most ancient temples in India and has been in existence even prior to 600 AD. Second century AD Tamil poetry speaks of Kamakottam, and the Kumarakottam (currently the Kamakashi Amman temple and the Subramanya temple). The existing structure then, was pulled down and rebuilt by the Pallava Kings. The Cholas who came in later also made several contributions to the temple.
Architecture: The temple covers an area of over 40 acres. The Raja Gopuram or the entrance tower to the temple which rises to a height of 172 feet was built by the Vijayanagar Monarch Krishnadevaraya. The pillared hall in front of the sanctum was also built by the Vijayanagar Kings. All of the four revered Saivite Saints have sung the glory of this temple. The Saint poet Sundaramoorthy Nayanar is said to have recovered his eyesight (left eye) after offering worship here.
Deities: The presiding deity here is Ekambareswarar or Shiva, worshipped as the Prithivi Lingam. A Somaskanda panel featuring Shiva, Parvati and Skanda adorns the rear of the main shrine, which has been held in worship for centuries together. It is believed that Parvati, the consort of Shiva worshipped him in the form of a Prithivi Lingam, or a Lingam improvised out of sand, under a mango tree. Legend has it that the neighboring Vegavati river overflowed and threatened to engulf the Shiva Lingam and that Parvati or Kamakshi, embraced the Lingam, and Shiva, touched by the gesture materialized in person and married her. In this context he is referred to as 'Tazhuvakkuzhainthaar' in Tamil. There is no separate shrine for Ambal or the Goddess in the temple as she is worshipped along with Shiva, as in every other Shiva temple in the precincts of the town of Kanchipuram. There is another shrine of Shiva and Kamakshi under the Stala Vruksham or the Temple tree, which is a mango tree said to be 3500 years old. The mango tree is said to be the embodiment of the four Vedas and the tree is said to bear fruits of four different tastes each season here.
Duration: 45 minutes
Stop At: Kailasanatha Temple, Kanchipuram India
The Kailasanathar Temple (meaning:“Lord of the Cosmic Mountain”), is built in the tradition of Smartha worship of Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya (Sun), Ganapati and Kartikeya, in Hinduism, a practice which replaced the Buddhism.
Temple construction is credited to the Pallava dynasty, who had established their kingdom with Kanchipuram (also known as “Kanchi” or “Shiva Vishnu Kanchi”) as the capital city, considered one of the seven sacred cities under Hinduism. There was an interregnum when the Chalukya rulers defeated the Pallavas and occupied Kanchipuram. However, the Pallavas regained their territory and started expanding their capital city of Kanchipuram and built many temples of great magnificence. The only temple of this period which is extant is the Kailsahanathar Temple.
The temple was built during 685-705AD. It is the first structural temple built in South India by Narasimhavarman II (Rajasimha), and who is also known as Rajasimha Pallaveswaram. His son, Mahendravarman III, completed the front façade and the gopuram (tower). Prior temples were either built of wood or hewn into rock faces in caves or on boulders, as seen in Mahabalipuram. The Kailasanathar temple became the trend setter for other similar temples in South India. 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 has gone by other names such as Kachipettu Periya Thirukatrali (meaning: Stone Temple of Kachipettu, the old name for the present day Kanchipuram) when Rajaraja Chola I of the Chola Dynasty paid a visit to this temple. Inspired by the architecture of this temple, he built the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur. Currently, Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Kanchi Kudhil, 53a Sangeetha Vidwan Nainar Pillai Street, Kanchipuram India
Kanchi Kudil is an heritage museum which takes the tourists to the ancient social, cultural,religious, and architectural legacies. This 90 year old house characterizes the lifestyle of agricultural family. Tourists can see the entire house was segmented as Master’s Chamber, Women and Children rooms, Verandah, Kitchen, airy courtyard etc. Replicas of Kanchipuram temples and monuments are well maintained here. Live demonstrations performed by artisans and craftsmen are enticing. Tourists can collect some exquisite souvenirs from Kanchi Kudil.
Duration: 20 minutes
Stop At: Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Bazar St., Kanchipuram 603406 India
Thiruparameswara Vinnagaram was constructed by the Pallava King Nandivarman II in 690 CE, while other scholars place it in the late 8th century. Pallavamallan was a worshipper of Vishnu and a great patron of learning. He renovated old temples and built several new ones. Among the latter was the Parameswara Vinnagaram or the Vaikunta Perumal temple at Kanchipuram which contains inscribed panels of sculpture portraying the events leading up to the accession of Pallavamalla to the throne. The temple is surrounded by a granite wall enclosing all the shrines and water bodies of the temple.
The architecture of the temple is very beautiful and the temple is presently under the care of the Archeological survey of India.
It is believed that Lord Vishnu taught 18 different arts to Parameswara Varman in his standing posture and on his grand sitting posture he made advises to him as an acharya would do to his disciple and finally got into his sleeping posture so as to be served by parameswara varman as a disciple would do to his Guru. We can see all HIS three postures in this 3 tiered temple.
The temple tank is called Airammadha theertham and the vimanam is known as Mukunda vimanam.
Duration: 30 minutes
Departure Point :Traveler pickup is offered
We pick up from any part of Chennai city and Suburban areaAirports
- Chennai Airport, Chennai (Madras) India
Departure Time :7:00 AM
Return Detail :-
Hotel Pickup :
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- Not wheelchair accessible
- Near public transportation
- Not recommended for travelers with back problems
- Not recommended for pregnant travelers
- Most travelers can participate
- This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
- Face masks required for travelers in public areas
- Face masks required for guides in public areas
- Face masks provided for travelers
- Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
- Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
- Guides required to regularly wash hands
- Regular temperature checks for staff
- Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
- You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.
- For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.