CHENNAI & MAHABALIPURAM IN 3 DAYS

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 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (located in Peter's Road, Triplicane, near local Triplicane Railway Station), Sri Parthasarathy Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is one of the oldest temples in Chennai. This temple is built by Pallavas in the 8th century. This is one of the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city.

The present structure of the temple is largely based on the renovations and additions carried out in the 16th century by the Vijayanagar Kings. A number of fine carvings adorn the temple. It is one of the 108 sacred centers of Sri Vaishnavites.

Visiting Hours: Daily from 6.30 AM to 12 noon and 4 to 8 PM

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 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station (on Pantheon Road), the Pantheon complex built in 1789 houses Government Museum, the National Art Gallery and the Connemara Public Library. The Government bought this building in 1830 and later several new buildings were added to it. This is one of the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city.

The Government Museum was established in 1857 and has the country's best collection of South Indian bronzes, both ancient and modern. Among which beautiful bronze icons of Nataraja, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman. The Amaravathi Gallery contains the rare second century marble sculptures, depicting important events in the life of Gautama Buddha. The bronzes from the 10th and 13th centuries and handicrafts from the 11th and 12th centuries also are seen here.

The National Art Gallery exhibits several beautiful paintings of 16th and 18th century from Rajasthan, Mughal period and 17th century Deccani art.

Timings: 9.30 .....

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 Kms from Mahabalipuram Bus Station, The Shore Temple (700-728 CE) is so named because it over looks the Bay of Bengal. It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of 'Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram'.

Mahabalipuram Shore Temple is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. The site is famous for the rock-cut caves and the sculptured rock that line a granite hill. The temple was built by Pallavas during the reign of Narasimhavarman.

The Shore Temple is a five-storeyed structural Hindu temple rather than rock-cut as are the other monuments at the site. It is the earliest important structural temple in Southern India. Its pyramidal structure is 60 ft high and sits on a 50 ft square platform. There is a small temple in front which was the original porch. It is made out of finely cut local granite.

The Shore Temples has two Shiva shrines .....

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 Kms from Mahabalipuram Bus Station (near The Shore Temple), the golden sandy Mamallapuram Beach is a picturesque place bounded by the shimmering sea and rolling hills. Identified as the most pristine beaches of Tamil Nadu, the beach attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year. This is another popular attraction in Mahabalipuram to visit as part of Chennai tour packages.

On request, the local fisher folk can arrange sea cruises in the country crafts. Angling can also be done with the help of the fishermen. The deep-sea angling is also famous here. There is a wide choice of resorts along the beach. Fisherman's Cove, a private beach resort offers water sports apart from its magnificent beach area. Some resorts are also having beachfront restaurants.

Sunrise and sun set watching cruises are another attraction. The sea is rough and swimming is not .....

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

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