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Tiger Cave

See some of the legacy of the Pallavan dynasty at this stone-cut temple complex, which features caves, ancient inscriptions and ferocious tiger sculptures.

The Tiger Cave is a rock-cut Hindu temple cave from East India’s Pallavan Empire. Tour this ancient religious site and study carvings of mythical creatures.

The Tiger Cave complex was built sometime in the 7th or 8th century under the commission of King Narasimhavarman I. Historians believe the king gave speeches from the cave’s “mantapa," or platform.

The site was also a shrine dedicated to the goddess Durga, who is usually depicted seated on a tiger. As you approach the temple, observe the depictions of the Yali, a tiger-like creature of Hindu mythology. These depictions are set around the mouth of the building, while on another side there is a single sculpture of the creature. It is these carvings that give the cave its name.

Continue through the grounds to the Athiranachanda Cave. This striking looking structure has wall inscriptions in ancient Pallava-Grantha and a Shiva Linga statue, a phallic tribute to Lord Shiva. In addition to the two cave temples, find relief sculptures depicting everyday life in the 7th century.

The Tiger Cave is located in a lush parkland maintained by the Archeological Survey of India and is a popular picnic spot. Enjoy a moment's peace on the green lawns under the shade of lanky palms and twisting casuarina trees. Let the kids run and play among the rock-covered landscape.

There is more history to be uncovered within a short walking distance of the caves. A few meters away is the excavation site of an ancient brick temple that is estimated to be over two millennia old. If researchers are correct about its age, this would be one of the oldest temples in the state of Tamil Nadu.

The Tiger Cave is located 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of Mahabalipuram. Get there by taxi or drive and use the parking lot. Although there is no entrance fee, there is a small charge for parking.


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Lodging Near Tiger Cave

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Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram $100
Reviewed on May 17, 2019
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Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram

Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram

57, Covelong Road, Kanchipuram District, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
     
    4.3 of 5
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    I like the boogie service, all staff very kind and helpful.need to focus on amenities, some are charged which could be offered free

    Ideal Beach Resort $65
    Reviewed on Mar 20, 2019
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    Ideal Beach Resort

    Ideal Beach Resort

    East Coast Road, Devangri Village, Kovalam Road, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
       
      4.1 of 5
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Kindness of staff. The quiet and space around was balm to the weary traveller.

      WelcomHotel Kences Palm Beach -Member ITCHotel Group $95
      Reviewed on Apr 15, 2019
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      WelcomHotel Kences Palm Beach -Member ITCHotel Group

      WelcomHotel Kences Palm Beach -Member ITCHotel Group

      No 53, Devaneri Village, East Coast Rd, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
         
        4.5 of 5
        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Rooms were big and spacious. Food at the restaurant was amazing. The beach was like a private beach since there wasn't anyone else there.

        Meya Beach Walk Hotel $32
        Reviewed on Mar 14, 2019
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        Meya Beach Walk Hotel

        Meya Beach Walk Hotel

        34, Shore Temple Town, Kings Nagar, East Coast Road, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
           
          4.7 of 5
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Just walking distance from beach, rooftop restaurant with sea view, very helpful staff, spacious rooms, wifi. Value for money.

          Mamalla Beach Resort $76
          Reviewed on Sep 6, 2017
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          Mamalla Beach Resort

          Mamalla Beach Resort

          108, Kovalam Road, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
             
            3.2 of 5
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            We had a great time at Mamalla Beach Resort and our stay was pleasure, tasty food and service was really good. Staff are very polite and helpful.

            JoeBeach Resort
            JoeBeach Resort

            JoeBeach Resort

            108, East Coast Road, Mahabalipuram, Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              This Chengalpattu resort is on the beach, 2.5 mi (4.1 km) from Tiger Cave, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Mamallapuram Beach and Mahishamardini Rock Cut Mandapa. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Krishna's Butterball are also within 6 mi (10 km).

              Hotel Amar Park $17
              Hotel Amar Park

              Hotel Amar Park

              53 E Raja St, Mahabalipuram, TN
                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Mahabalipuram, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Krishna's Butterball, Mamallapuram Beach, and Ganesha Ratha. Varaha Cave Temple and Descent Of The Ganges are also within 10 minutes.

                Landmark Pallavaa Beach Resort $91
                Reviewed on Jul 30, 2018
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                Landmark Pallavaa Beach Resort

                Landmark Pallavaa Beach Resort

                67A, Krishnan karanai Village, ECR, Pattipulam, Chengalpattu
                   
                  5.0 of 5
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  I would say this is one of the best beach resorts near Chennai and value for money. Limited rooms but they have a nice pool, lot of outdoor space for games like cricket, foot ball etc.,. Beach - at a walkable distance and an indoor TT and carrom hall. Rooms are tidy and spacious with a good view. ...