Shore Temple and Five Rathas

This trail takes you to some of the most iconic sights in Mamallapuram – the Shore temple, the Five Rathas and the Tiger cave.

Trace the history of temple building in South India as you explore this ancient port city. How did sculptors of the time build magnificent temples out of immovable rock? What do stone inscriptions tell us about the evolution of local languages? Take a closer look at these old monuments, and you will uncover the many myths and legends carved into their walls. Vengeful Goddesses, deceitful kings and awe-inspiring creatures: Mamallapuram has it all. 

Starting from Olakkanneswara temple, this trail takes you through the Five Rathas, the Shore temple, and Tiger cave. 

This tour is brought to you in partnership with Tamil Nadu Tourism and with the support of the Archaeological Survey of India. 

We wish to thank the Aseema Trust and their benefactors for making this tour available to all users at no cost.

Free/Paid
Free
Conveyance
90 mins
Timing & Ticketing
Timing

The monuments at Mamallapuram are open 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, on all days of the week. The Lighthouse complex closes at 5:00 PM.

The Sthala Sayana Perumal temple is closed from 12:00 PM till 3:00 PM daily, and the innermost sanctum of that temple is open only to Hindus. That innermost sanctum of the temple is not covered on this trail.

Best time: Go as early as you can. The walk is best done between 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM or between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Afternoons can get quite hot, especially between April and July.

Tickets

Shore temple & Five Rathas
Indian Citizens and SAARC Nations: 30 INR
Foreign Travellers: 5 USD
Children under 14: Free

Lighthouse Complex
Indian Citizens and SAARC Nations: 10 INR
Foreign Travellers: 25 INR
Children under 14: 5 INR

Camera tickets
Still Camera: 20 INR
Video Camera: 25 INR

Before You Go
Attire
Dress comfortably, taking the heat into account. Hats, sun glasses and umbrellas are strongly recommended.
Distances
Mamallapuram is about 60 KMs from Chennai. The monuments around Varaha cave, including the lighthouse and Arjuna’s Penance bas-relief are all within walking distance of each other. Shore temple, Five Rathas and Tiger Caves are best reached in a vehicle.
Photography
Photography is permitted. However, you have to buy camera tickets.
Highlights
  • Most of the monuments in Mamallapuram are almost 1300 years old. The Shore temple, Five Rathas, the cluster of monuments around the Varaha cave, Arjuna’s penance bas-relief, the Butter Ball and Tiger caves are all worth a visit.
  • A climb to the top of the Lighthouse offers you a unique view of the entire complex.

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