KANCHIPURAM - MAHABALIPURAM (FROM CHENNAI)

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage | Beach

Photo Credit: Flickr

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Trip Starting Point: Chennai City

Mode of Travel: Car (or Cab)

Trip Duration: 2 Days

Ideal Start Time: 7 AM (Day 1) & 9 AM (Day 2)

Total Places Visited: 14

Day 1 Attractions | Day 2 Attractions

DAY 1 : KANCHIPURAM

Travel from Chennai to Kanchipuram

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 6 AM - 12 noon & 4 PM - 8.30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 1 km from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 2 km from Kanchi Railway Station, Kamakshi Amman Temple is an ancient Hindu temple located in the town of Kanchipuram. It s one of the popular temples in South India, and among the famous places to visit as part of Kanchipuram packages.

The Kamakshi Temple is dedicated to Kamakshi, who is believed to be an incarnation of Parvati, the Hindu goddess of love, fertility, and strength. It is one of the prominent pilgrimage sites near Chennai. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, which are sacred shrines built around the falling body parts from the corpse of Goddess Sati from heaven. It is believed the naval part of her body fell at this site, thus making it a holy abode.

The Temple was most probably built by the Pallava kings, whose capital was Kanchipuram. .....

Historical & Heritage | Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM - 12.30 PM & 4 PM - 8.30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2 km from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 3 kms from Railway Station, Sri Ekambareswarar Temple is also known as 'Ekambaranathar Temple' (temple of Lord Shiva). The 'Pallavas' demolished the old structure and rebuilt the existing structure during 600 AD and 700 AD.

The total area of the whole temple is about 40 acres. The temple tower at the main entrance (Raja Gopuram) that you see here was constructed by the king Krishnadevaraya (Vijayanagar Dynasty). The height of this temple tower is 174 feet (about 57 m).

Until recently there was a mango tree in this temple, which was about 3500 years old. The tree has perished about 2 years ago due to its age. It is believed that Goddess Kamakshi Amman, whose temple is about 1/2 km away from here, worshipped Lord Shiva under this mango tree.

Timings: 6 AM - 12.30 PM & 4 PM - 8.30 PM.

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM - 12 noon & 4 PM - 7 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 km from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 4 km from Railway Station, the Kailasanathar temple (Shiva Temple) is an ancient Hindu temple situated in the sacred town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of the Vedavathi River, it is one of the oldest Shiva temples in Tamilnadu, and among the must include places in Kanchi tour.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Kailasanathar Temple holds great significance and value for the Hindu devotees and is visited by a large number of tourists all year round. It was built during the period from 685 AD to 705 AD by the Pallava king Rajasimha Pallava, and his son, Mahendra Varma Pallava. The architecture and sculpture of this temple resembles the temples found in Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) which were also constructed by Pallavas. This might be the only temple in .....

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6.30 AM - 12 noon & 3.30 PM - 8 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 km from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 4 kms from Railway Station, Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple is also known as Devarajaswami Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

The 100 ft high temple tower (gopuram) was built in 11th century AD and was renovated by the Vijyanagar Kings in the 16th century. This temple has a 100 pillar hall (mandapam) which is beautifully carved. There is a chain that is carved out of a single stone.

The temple owns a chariot (ther) which is parked on Gandhi road. The chariot is taken out for procession (chariot festival) around the city once in a year (during the month of May).

Timings: 6.30 AM - 12 noon & 3.30 PM - 8 PM

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM - 12.30 PM & 4 - 8:30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 1 km from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 1 kms from Railway Station, Vaikuntha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram is one of the most important temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

It was built by the Pallava king Nandivarman and was completed in the 7th century A.D. There are three different levels of the main shrine. There are a number of sculptures of Lord Vishnu which are quite massive in size depicting the Lord in sitting, standing and reclining postures.

One of the main attractions of this temple is the exceptional 1000-pillared hall. The unique characteristic about it is that each pillar has a statue carved on it. Lion pillars support the enclosed passages inside the temple. The architecture of the temple has played a vital role in the architectural evolution of the grand thousand pillared mandaps built in the later south Indian. There are several inscriptions in the temple related to the wars between Pallavas and Chalukyas.

Timings: 6 AM - 12.30 PM & 4 - .....

Miscellaneous

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 9 AM to 9 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 Kms from Kanchipuram Bus Station and 3 Kms from Kanchipuram Railway Station, Anna Momorial is situated in Vishnu Kanchi.

Dr. C.N. Annadurai, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the founder of D.M.K. was born in Kanchipuram. His ancestral house has been converted into a memorial. Various exhibits like photographs, the articles used by him and important events of his life are exhibited here. As he is associated with the Dravidian movement and the nationalist movement one can see the evolution of these important movements which made a breakthrough in the lives of the Tamils who hailed him as their elder brother 'Anna'.

Overnight Stay in Kanchipuram

DAY 2 : MAHABALIPURAM

Travel from Kanchipuram to Mahabalipuram

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for Indians, Rs. 250 for Foreigners & Rs. 25 for Still Camera

At a distance of 2 km from Mahabalipuram Bus Station, the Shore Temple is an ancient temple situated on the shore of Bay of Bengal in Mahabalipuram. It is one of the most photographed monuments of heritage in India, and among the must-visit Mahabalipuram tourist places.

Shore Temple was built in the 7tcentury CE by Pallavas during the reign of Narasimhavarman. It is one of the oldest temples in South India constructed in the Dravidian style and depicts the royal taste of the Pallava dynasty. It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the 'Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram'. It is one of the must include places in Mahabalipuram trip.

Shore Temple is a structural temple built with blocks of granite. It is so named because it overlooks the Bay of Bengal. The Shore Temple .....

Museum & Gallery

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 1 Km from Mahabalipuram Bus Station (situated in East Raja Street), the Sculpture Museum is famous for its elaborate collection of sculptures and images of god and goddesses of Hindu mythology. There are more than 3,000 sculptures can be found in this museum. All the sculptures bear the historic significance and the tales of the by-gone days. In the display of the museum there are sculptures made of wood, metal, brass and cement. There are creations of ancient artists to the contemporary ones.

Not only Hindu mythology but the Buddhists sculptures and images too, exist in the temple town. The monolithic statues, the Rathas (chariots), sculptured relief and their miniature can be seen in the museum.

Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM on all days

Beach

Duration of visit: 30 Mins - 1 Hr
Timings: 24 Hrs
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2 km from Mahabalipuram Bus Station, the golden sandy Mamallapuram Beach is a serene beach situated near the Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. It is identified as the one of the most pristine beaches in Tamilnadu, and among the must-visit places during your Mahabalipuram tour.

Lies on the shore of the Bay of Bengal, the Mahabalipuram Beach is a picturesque place bounded by the shimmering sea and rolling hills. The beach stretches for about 20 km and comprises some rock-cut sculptures which are pleasing to the eyes. It is a perfect place to relax and give yourself a break from the hustle-bustle of city life. This is one of the famous Mahabalipuram places to visit for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts as well.

This charming beach is one of the perfect places .....

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 0.5 Km from Mahabalipuram Bus Station (on Mada Koil Street), Arjuna's Penance or Bhagiratha's Penace is the name of a massive open air bas-relief monolith dating from the 7th century CE. Measuring 96 feet long by 43 feet high, the bas-relief is also known as The Descent of Ganga. It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of 'Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram'.

In one interpretation, a figure in the bas-relief who is standing on one leg is said to be Arjuna performing an austerity Tapas to receive a boon from Shiva as an aid in fighting the Mahabharata war.

The bas relief is situated on a rock with a cleft. Figures within the cleft are said to represent the River Ganges and Shiva. This provides the basis for an alternative interpretation, rather than Arjuna, the figure performing austerities is said to be Bhagiratha.

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 0.5 Kms around Mahabalipuram Bus Station, there are 14 rock-cut carves and Mandapams in and around Mamallapuram. Mythological scenes are depicted on these architectures. These caves have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of 'Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram'.

Following three are important Mandapams:

1) Krishna Mandapam - This is the biggest among the Mandapams and is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The sculptures inside this Mandapam beautifully picturize the myth of Lord Krishna during his brave and energetic adulthood.

2) Mahishasuramardhini Mandapam - The battle between goddess Durga and the buffalo headed demon, Mahishasura is beautifully inscribed.

3) Varaha Mandapam - the side walls have large sculptured panels depicting Vishnu as Varaha, the boar, holding up Bhudevi, the earth goddess.

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Entry tickets of Shore Temple can be used here

At a distance of 1.5 Kms from Mahabalipuram Bus Station, Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots) - five monolithic pyramidal structures named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishtra, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi. It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of 'Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram'.

An interesting aspect of the rathas is that, despite their sizes they are not assembled - each of these is carved from one single large piece of stone.

The Pancha Rathas shrines were carved during the reign of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I. Each temple is a monolith, carved whole from a rock outcropping of pink granite.

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of nearly 0.5 Km from Mahabalipuram Bus Station, Ganesh Ratha Temple is located towards the north of the Arjuna's Penance. It is a temple carved out from a rock to resemble a chariot and is built in Dravidian style of temple architecture. It was once dedicated to Lord Shiva. But when the original lingam was removed, the temple came to be known as the temple of Lord Ganesh.

It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of 'Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram'.

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 0.5 Km from Mahabalipuram Bus Station (on Mada Koil Street), Krishna's Butter Ball is a huge boulder near the Ganesha Ratha. It rests precariously on a narrow rock base. Legend has it that several Pallava Kings attempted to move it, but all the kings and their elephants could not shift the boulder even by an inch.

Travel from Mahabalipuram to Chennai