CHENNAI & MAHABALIPURAM IN 3 DAYS (FROM CHENNAI)

City | Historical & Heritage | Beach

Photo Credit: Flickr

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Trip Starting Point: Chennai City

Mode of Travel: Car (or Cab)

Trip Duration: 3 Days

Ideal Start Time: 10 AM (Day 1), 9 AM (Day 2) & 9 AM (Day 3)

Total Places Visited: 19

DAYS

DAY 1 : SRI PARTHASARATHI TEMPLE - GOVT. MUSEUM - MARINA BEACH

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 6.30 AM - 12 PM & 4 PM - 8 PM
Entry Fee: Free Entry

At a distance of 4.5 km from Chennai Central Railway Station, Sri Parthasarathy Temple is a Hindu temple located in the Triplicane locality of Chennai. It is one of the popular temples in Tamilnadu, and among the must-visit places during your Chennai Trip.

Sri Parthasarathy Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It was originally built by the Pallavas king Narasimhavarman I in the 6th century CE and was renovated by the Vijayanagara kings around the 15th century. It is one of the oldest temples as well as the famous places to visit in Chennai.

The temple was built in the typical Dravidian architecture style, complete with gopurams and mandapas with intricate carvings and stucco figures. The temple has icons of five forms of Vishnu: Yoga Narasimha, Rama, Gajendra Varadaraja, Ranganatha, and Krishna .....

Museum & Gallery

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 9.30 AM - 5.30 PM, Closed on Friday & on National Holidays
Entry Fee: Rs. 15 for Indians, Rs. 250 for Foreigners, Camera: Rs. 200 for Indians & Rs. 500 for Foreigners

At a distance of 4 km from Chennai Central Railway Station, Governement Museum is a museum situated on Pantheon Road in Chennai. This is one of the oldest museums in India, and among the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city.

Established in 1857, Government Museum is the second oldest museum in the country after the Indian Museum in Kolkata. The museum is located in what is known as the Pantheon complex, or 'public assembly rooms.' Situated in the Egmore suburb of Chennai, it is built in the Indo-Saracenic style. It is the third-largest museum in the world, and with 0.6 million visitors in 2018.

It is particularly rich in archaeological and numismatic collections. It has the richest collections of bronze idols, 500 of them dating to 1000 BC, in Asia. The museum has the largest collection of Roman antiquities outside Europe. Among them, the colossal Museum Theatre is one of the most impressive. .....

Museum & Gallery

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 9 AM - 5 PM, Closed on Fridays & National Holidays
Entry Fee: Rs. 15 for Adults & Rs. 10 for Children

At a distance of 3 km from Chennai Central Railway Station, the National Art Gallery is situated inside the Government Museum Complex on Pantheon Road in Egmore, Chennai. This is one of the oldest art galleries in India and also one of the must visit Chennai Tourist Places.

The National Art Gallery was built of sandstone in the year 1907 by T. Namberumal Chetty. Earlier known as Victoria Memorial Hall, the National Art Gallery was built during the celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in Indo-Saracenic style, designed by architect Henry Irwin. It has been identified as a Heritage site by the CMDA.

The National Art Gallery consists of four different sections, which include Tanjore Painting Gallery, Decorative Art Gallery, Indian Traditional Art Gallery and Raja Ravi Varma Painting Gallery. The miniature paintings from the Mughal era, handicrafts from 11th and 12th centuries and Rajput paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries are also on display. Portraits of various .....

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins - 1 Hr
Timings: 8.30 AM - 5.30 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for Adults & Rs. 5 for Children

At a distance of 7 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (located in Vaikuntapuram, less than 1 Kms from local Kodambakkam Railway Station), Valluvar Kottam is a monument built to pay homage to Tamil Poet Saint Thiruvalluvar.

Inaugurated in 1976, the memorial is the form of 101-feet high temple chariot and is the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. A 33m tall life-size statue of the saint has been installed in the chariot. Another amazing attribute of the auditorium is that it is not supported by a single pillar and stands without any support.

The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot. All the 1330 verses of the poet's epic are depicted on the granite pillars, which surround the auditorium. The auditorium at Valluvar Kottam is said to be the largest in Asia and can accommodate about 4000 people.

Timings: 8.30 AM - 5.30 PM

Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for Adults & Rs. 5 for Childre .....

Beach

Duration of visit: 2 Hours
Timings: 24 Hours
Entry Fee: Free Entry

At a distance of 4 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (located at Kamarajar Road, near local Chepauk Railway Station), the famous Marina beach is the second longest beach in the World and runs to a length of 13 Km. This is one of the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city and also one of the popular attraction not to miss in a Chennai tour packages.

Situated on the beach, the Anna Park, named after the founder of D.M.K Anna durai and the tomb of M.G. Ramachandran who was a film star (both were former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu) and the Statue of Labour is a splendid sculpture depicting the efforts of a team of labourers who are at hard manual labour.

The beach can be ideally visited in the early mornings or in the late evenings when the area becomes a virtual ground with food stalls and other entertainments.

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 6 AM - 9 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 km from Chennai Central Railway Station, MGR Memorial is a memorial structure situated within the picturesque surroundings of the Marina Beach in Chennai. It is one of the popular places of sightseeing in Chennai.

The memorial was built in the memory of M.G. Ramachandran, India's first actor cum chief minister and that too for three consecutive terms until his death. Considered as one of the greatest political leaders and actors of the state, his followers idolize him as Puratchi Thalaivar (Revolutionary leader). He was honoured with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of India after his death. Spread over 8.25 acres, the memorial is located adjacent to the Anna Memorial and has the highest number of visitors along the seafront.

The memorial was built in 1988 and was inaugurated by Janaki Ramachandran, wife of M. G. Ramachandran, in May 1990. The memorial was remodeled and the whole complex was laid with marbles and opened in 1992 by J. Jayalalitha .....

Overnight Stay in Chennai

DAY 2 : MAHABALIPURAM SIGHTSEEING

Travel from Chennai 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: 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.

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.

Overnight Stay in Chennai

DAY 3 : GUINDY NATIONAL PARK - BIRLA PLANETARIUM

Resume Chennai Sightseeing

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 5 AM - 11 AM & 4 PM - 9.30 PM
Entry Fee: Free Entry

At a distance of 6.5 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (located in Mylapore), the Kapaleeswarar Temple dedicated to Shiva is built in 8th Century by Pallavas. But the current structure is rebuilt by the Vijayanagara rulers in 16th century. The 37 meters tall and grand gopuram is made in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. This is one of the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city.

This temple has some beautiful sculptures, among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivaite Saints or the Nayanmars. The Arubathumoovar festival dedicated to the 63 Nayanmars held in March-April every year is a special attraction.

Timings: 5 AM to 11 AM and 4 PM to 9.30 PM.

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins - 1 Hr
Timings: 5 AM - 9 PM
Entry Fee: Free Entry

At a distance of 7 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (located at the Southern end of Marina Beach, in Mylapore), San Thome Cathedral Basilica is one of Chennai's historic landmarks. This Cathedral was originally built in 1504. It was rebuilt in 1890 with a 180 ft basilica.

This is one of the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city. The church gets its name from St.Thomas, the apostle of Jesus who is believed to have come to India sometime during 52 A.D. It is believed he was killed on St. Thomas Mount just outside the city in 78 AD and his remains interred in Santhome beach where a church was later built. Several years later, another church was built further inland and his mortal remains were transferred here.

Timings: 5 AM to 9 PM

Miscellaneous

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM, Closed on National Holidays only
Entry Fee: Rs. 45 for Adults & Rs. 25 for Children (which includes Science Centre, Planetarium, 3D Science Movie & Science Park)

At a distance of 10 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (located at Kotturpuram near Guindy, less than 1 km from local Kotturpuram Railway Station) the Birla Planetarium is the most modern planetarium in India. It houses a fully computerised projector that depicts the heavens on a hemispherical dome. The Planetarium presents audiovisual programmes on various themes in astronomy.

Adjoining the planetarium is the Periyar Sceince and Technology Museum, which is of interest to students and other science enthusiasts.

Timing : 10 AM to 5 PM, Closed on National Holidays only

English Programme Timings: 10.45 AM, 1.45pm and 3.45 pm.
Tamil Programme Timings: 12.30 AM and 2.30 PM.

Entry Fee: Rs. 45 for Adults & Rs. 25 for Children (which includes Science Centre, Planetarium, 3D Science Movie & Science Park)

Park

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 8.30 AM - 5.30 PM, Closed on Tuesday.
Entry Fee: Entry Fee : Rs.5, Camera: Rs. 20

At a distance of 12 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (next to Guindy National Park), The Snake Park is a popular spot with most visitors to the city. Established in 1972, the park has been home to a wide range of snakes, from the deadly King Cobra to pythons, vipers and other reptiles.

The Snake Park has become a breeding point of endangered pythons in the country. A museum of preserved specimens of reptiles and amphibian's is an added attraction.

Adjacent to the Snake Park, there is a Children's Park with a collection of birds and animals. This area also houses a play park for the kids. The elephant and pony rides are popular with the children visiting this park.

Timings missing 8.30 AM - 5.30 PM, Closed on Tuesday.
Adult: Rs 5/-, Child: Rs 1/-
Still Camera: Rs 5/-, Digital camera: 20/-, Video Camera: Rs 100/-

Beach

Duration of visit: 2 Hours
Timings: 24 Hours
Entry Fee: Free Entry

At a distance of 13 Kms from Chennai (located in Besant Nagar), The Elliot's Beach is a well known destination for people who seek relief from the crowded metropolitan life of the Chennai. The Adyar River drains into the sea here.

Popularly known as 'Bessie' among locals, this is an extremely calm and tranquil place. The Beach has become a popular hangout for the young generation. Elliot's Beach is also a favorite haunt of foreigners where they can peacefully take their sun bath.

The Ashtalakshmi Temple near the beach is around 20 years old and has modern style architecture. Velanganni Church is a pilgrim place for the Christians.

Elliot's Beach has good connectivity and transportation options from Chennai.

END OF THE TOUR