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The hidden Tiger Caves of Mahabalipuram

Tiger Caves of Mahabalipuram

Tiger cave is a rock-cut temple believed to have been constructed in 7-8 century by Pallavas like all other similar monuments in Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram.

Tiger caves are not real caves like structure and you will never find a tiger there. A single large rock carved with tiger heads around the cave temple. With elephant and a horse carved to the left.

One can see the carvings on the rocks which looks like a tiger (few research helped me to identify that the animal on the rocks were a mythological creature called ‘Yeli’).

Tiger Caves Mahabalipuram
Tiger Caves Mahabalipuram

The place were assumed to be a gathering spot for the Pallava king to address his people.

The Tiger caves are now part of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) protected monuments and the venue is maintained neatly with proper parking space and lush green lawn/trees for visitors.

Tiger caves front yard

It’s a calm and quite place to enjoy with your friends and family. There is a nice lawn maintained by ASI and the large trees provide some shade and cooling. This place has a small but uncrowded and relatively clean beach, which is a good place to spend time.

Tiger Caves Side View
Tiger Caves side view

You can easily find this spot on your way to Mahabalipuram through Chennai ECR road.

There is a Subrahmanya Temple (that belongs to the Sangam period – 3rd Century BCE to 4th Century CE) near this venue and it was discovered from the inscription on one of the rocks situated here, in 2005.

Tiger caves rocks
Rocks found near Tiger Caves

The rocky outcrop close to Tiger Cave. The discovery of an inscription on one of these led to the excavation of the Subrahmanya Temple

Entry fees to Tiger Caves

No entry fees is required for the Tiger Caves, however there is a small parking fees is there. Not more than 10 Rs. No need to pay for your photo cameras too.

Travel Tips

  • There are no restaurants and washrooms available near Tiger Caves
  • There are a few small stalls available outside this venue, offering cool-drinks, tender coconut, etc.
  • Carry sufficient amount of drinking water for you, Chennai is always sunny.
  • Keep away from inscribing on the sculptures by yourself.
  • Be respectful and remove your shoes at the Subrahmanya Temple

How to reach Tiger Caves?

At a distance of 5 Kms from Mahabalipuram (on Chennai – Mahabalipuram Road), Tiger Caves are situated in a coastal village on the Kovalam Road.

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