A combined entrance ticket to the Shore Temple and the Five Rathas costs ₹250 for foreigners and ₹10 for Indian citizens. Local guides, who speak multiple languages, are available for around ₹200 for a tour of all main attractions.
You can also hire a cab (non-ac) for about ₹150 for 2 1/2 hours, during which you will be taken to all the major tourists spots in Mamallapuram.
12.6191480.192411 Krishna's Butterball. This is a giant natural rock perched on a hillside, seemingly in defiance of all laws of physics—it's a common sight to see visitors placing hands under the stone posing for pics, which looks as though they are holding it! The rock provides welcome shade if you dare to sit underneath it, and local kids have discovered that the slippery nearby hillside also makes a great natural slide.
Three of the Five Rathas, with an elephant standing guard
12.6089380.189512 Five Rathas (Pancha Pandava Rathas.). This site contains five rathas, literally chariots, dating from the 7th century. The sculptures are complemented by some enormous stone animals, including a large elephant.
Approaching the Shore Temple
12.6158580.193653 Sculpture Museum (Meganath Sculptures), No. 32, Five Rathas Road, East Raja Street. This museum has hundreds of sculptures in stone, wood etc.It is well worth a visit. ₹2 entrance fee..
12.6164480.199234 Shore Temple. The oldest structure in the area, build c. 700 AD, this temple has been here for more than 1400 years. However, unlike Mamallapuram's other monuments, the Shore Temple is a building (not carved from rock) and the bulk of the current structure is a reconstruction after it was struck by a cyclone. It's not particularly large, and the carvings have been badly eroded by the wind and the sea, but this adds to the sense of antiquity. The area around the temple is now a landscaped park, with guards keeping the hordes of souvenir hawkers at bay. A Shiva lingam is enshrined in the central building and the site can get very crowded on weekends.
12.61666780.1986115 Thirukadalmallai (Sthalasayana Perumal Temple). The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was also built by Pallava King in order to safeguard the sculptures from the ocean. It is told that after building this temple, the remaining architecture was preserved and was not corroded by sea.
The following structures are all carved straight out of rock in the central hillside area, so you can travel between them on foot. The scenery within the hills is also quite unusual, with smooth rock rising out of the forest and carved stairways leading between the mandapas (pavilions), caves and carvings.
Walking through the forest
12.6177480.192646 Arjuna's Penance (Descent of the Ganges). A giant bas-relief filled with detailed carvings, including a family of elephants and monkeys. Archaeologists still squabble over what, exactly, the bas relief depicts; the central figure may actually depict Bhagiratha, not Arjuna.
12.6152380.19167 Mahishamardini Cave (Mahishamardini Rock Cut Mandapa). The central carving in this cave is of Shiva and Parvati and Murugan
12.657180.209318 Tiger Cave, Saluvankuppam. Rock Cut Hindu temple noted for its carvings of tigers. The mouth of the cave forms the entrance to the temple.
Varaha Cave. Varaha Cave has four impressive carvings of Vishnu, Gakalakshmi, Trivikama and Durga.
Old and new light houses provide views across the area to the sea. There are several unfinished temples nearby, and the December 2004 tsunami exposed more previously submerged temples.