Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu

A visual tour around Mamallapuram, South India

Half way between the cities of Chennai and Pondicherry, in Tamil Nadu, sits Mammallapuram (also known as Mahabalipuram).

Famous for its grand stone carvings and structures, this town dates back to the 7th/9th century and it’s one of the oldest examples of South Indian architecture within the Dravidian style.

This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but truth be told, the crowds, lack of maintenance of the surrounding areas and usual businesses that concentrate around such touristic spots, do take out from the sense of care and preservation a place like this should be immersed in. I guess all of that confusion is part of the Indian experience and, as such, should be embraced with an adventurous spirit.


Still very much worth a visit, this is what Mammallapuram and the areas around it look like:


(Click i for captions!)

 The oldest structure in the area, build c. 700 AD

Shore Temple

It's India, so there had to be cows!..

Cow figures outside the Shore Temple

and Hindu devotees still come and pay their respects

It's been 1400 years

(or simply posing!)

Ashray developing his spiritual side

... putting all spirituality aside!

And then Ashray…

When history and tourism become one!

Ladies coming out of the Shore Temple

some goats are feasting on decorations that protect this bus from negative spirits

Meanwhile, by a nearby touristic bus

there will be locals trying to make a living selling something

Wherever there are tourists

The Rathas are figures of charriots surrounded by stone animals

At the Five Rathas site

a lot of trinkets and a lot more kids!

Merchandise sellers on site

enjoyed by locals and national visitors too

By the Five Rathas

offering a different perspective than the lady in the previous photo! :)

Ashray by the Five Rathas

to beat Tamil Nadu's heat!

Fresh fruits and water

chances are, by a holy site, people will be more generous.

A group of beggars with leprosy

... that melted in 5 seconds!

Stop for some ice-cream…

 also known as the Descent of the Ganges

Arjuna's Penance bas-relief

at Arjuna's Penance bas-relief

Carvings of elephants and monkeys

see you again sometime.

Good-bye Mamallapuram

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  • Agness Says

    You should know one thing guys – I’m a big fan of UNESCO World Heritage Sites so I’m adding this place to my bucket list, thank you!

    • Zara Says

      Glad to read that and hope you make it to South India sometime.
      The whole state of Tamil Nadu has plenty of interesting things to see and do!

  • Andy Says

    That is so beautiful! I really want to visit India. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kathy Winters Says

    Visited there in 1999
    As was everywhere else we went

    My husband and I were
    In India for 4 weeks total
    2 week tour in north
    2 weeks in south on our own

    Best way I can describe India is
    It’s like an IMAX movie

    Sometimes you’re watching the movie
    And sometimes you’re in the movie

    Would love to return

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