Thirukadalmallai Temple, Mahabalipuram: An Enchanting Journey into the Rich History of Tamil Nadu

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Mahabalipuram, a coastal town in Tamil Nadu, is a destination renowned for its exquisite rock-cut monuments and ancient temples. Thirukadalmallai Temple, one of the most famous temples in the town, is a must-visit for history buffs and spiritual seekers alike. Let’s explore the temple’s fascinating history, architecture, and significance.

History of Thirukadalmallai Temple

The Thirukadalmallai Temple, also known as the “Temple of the Sea,” is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is believed to have been constructed during the reign of the Pallava dynasty, between the 7th and 8th centuries CE. The temple was built to protect the shore from the rough sea, which often caused damage to the surrounding areas.

Architecture of Thirukadalmallai Temple

The temple’s architecture is a fine example of the Dravidian style, characterized by intricate carvings and towering gopurams. The main sanctum houses a 10-foot-tall idol of Lord Vishnu in a standing posture, with his right hand in a blessing pose. The idol is made of black stone and is adorned with gold jewelry.

The temple’s outer walls are adorned with exquisite carvings depicting various episodes from Hindu mythology, including the Dasavatharam (10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu) and scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana.

The Legend behind Thirukadalmallai Temple

According to legend, a king named Mahabali was once cursed by a sage and transformed into a demon. He sought Lord Vishnu’s help, who then defeated the sage and restored Mahabali’s human form. In gratitude, Mahabali constructed the Thirukadalmallai Temple to honor Lord Vishnu.

Another legend associated with the temple states that a ship carrying precious stones and pearls was once caught in a storm off the Mahabalipuram coast. The sailors prayed to Lord Vishnu for help, and he appeared before them and guided the ship to safety. To show their gratitude, the sailors built the Thirukadalmallai Temple on the shore.

Significance of Thirukadalmallai Temple

The Thirukadalmallai Temple holds great religious significance for Hindus, who believe that Lord Vishnu protects the shore from natural calamities and ensures the safety of sailors and fishermen. It is also believed that visiting the temple can bring prosperity, good health, and peace of mind.

Festivals Celebrated at Thirukadalmallai Temple

Several festivals are celebrated at the Thirukadalmallai Temple throughout the year, including Vaikunta Ekadasi, Navaratri, and Brahmotsavam. Vaikunta Ekadasi is the most significant festival celebrated at the temple and is observed in December-January. The festival attracts a large number of devotees from all over the country who come to seek Lord Vishnu’s blessings.

Navaratri, which is celebrated in September-October, is another significant festival at the temple. During the festival, the temple is decorated with flowers, and devotees offer prayers to the goddess Durga, who is believed to be a manifestation of Shakti.

Brahmotsavam is celebrated during the Tamil month of Chittirai (April-May) and is a ten-day-long festival. The festival involves several rituals and processions, and the temple is decorated with colorful lights and flowers.

How to Reach Thirukadalmallai Temple

Thirukadalmallai Temple is located in Mahabalipuram, a coastal town in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu. The temple is easily accessible by road and is located about 58 km from Chennai. The nearest airport is the Chennai International Airport, which is located about 56 km from Mahabalipuram. Several buses and taxis are available from Chennai to Mahabalipuram.

Best Time to Visit Thirukadalmallai Temple

The best time to visit the Thirukadalmallai Temple is between October and March when the weather is pleasant and suitable for sightseeing. The temperature during these months ranges from 19°C to 28°C. However, if you wish to attend the Vaikunta Ekadasi festival, plan your visit during December-January.

Accommodations near Thirukadalmallai Temple

Several accommodations are available near the Thirukadalmallai Temple, ranging from budget to luxury hotels. Some popular options include the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay, Chariot Beach Resort, and Ideal Beach Resort.

Safety Measures for Tourists

Tourists are advised to be cautious when visiting the Thirukadalmallai Temple and to follow all safety guidelines. It is recommended to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, especially during the rainy season. Avoid carrying valuable items and jewelry and be aware of pickpockets.

Things to Do near Thirukadalmallai Temple

Apart from visiting the Thirukadalmallai Temple, tourists can also explore other attractions in Mahabalipuram. Some popular options include:

  • Shore Temple
  • Pancha Rathas
  • Arjuna’s Penance
  • Mahabalipuram Beach
  • Tiger Cave

Souvenir Shopping near Thirukadalmallai Temple

Tourists can indulge in some souvenir shopping near the Thirukadalmallai Temple. Some popular items include stone carvings, bronze statues, and silk sarees. The Mahabalipuram Artisan Village is a popular shopping destination where you can find a wide range of handicrafts and souvenirs.

Nearby Attractions

Mahabalipuram is home to several other attractions, including the following:

  • Krishna’s Butterball
  • Varaha Cave Temple
  • Descent of the Ganges
  • Crocodile Bank
  • Dakshinachitra


The Thirukadalmallai Temple in Mahabalipuram is an exceptional shrine that holds immense spiritual significance for Hindus. The temple’s architectural brilliance and the legends associated with it have fascinated tourists and devotees alike for centuries. Its stunning stone carvings, serene beachfront location, and numerous festivals make it a must-visit destination in Mahabalipuram. Whether you are a history buff, a religious person, or just someone looking for a peaceful retreat, the Thirukadalmallai Temple has something for everyone.

By visiting the temple, you will gain a deeper appreciation of the rich cultural heritage and religious traditions of Tamil Nadu. So, if you ever get a chance to visit Mahabalipuram, don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the serene and divine atmosphere of Thirukadalmallai Temple.


  1. What is the best time to visit Thirukadalmallai Temple? Ans: The best time to visit the temple is between November to February when the weather is pleasant and comfortable.
  2. Is there any dress code for visiting the temple? Ans: Yes, visitors are expected to dress modestly and cover their heads before entering the temple premises.
  3. Can non-Hindus visit the Thirukadalmallai Temple? Ans: Yes, the temple is open to people of all faiths and beliefs.
  4. Is photography allowed inside the temple? Ans: No, photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple.
  5. Are there any accommodations available near the temple? Ans: Yes, there are several hotels and guesthouses available near the temple for tourists to stay.
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Upendra Yadav is a seasoned Data Analyst with a passion for exploring new places and immersing himself in different cultures. With a curious mind and an eye for detail, Upendra delves deep into the history, people, and cuisine of the places he visits, and brings his experiences to life through his writing.. His work has been featured in various travel blogs, where he shares his insights and recommendations for fellow explorers. Through his writing, Upendra aims to inspire others to venture beyond their comfort zones and discover the hidden gems of the world. When he's not analyzing data or traveling to new destinations, Upendra can be found indulging in his other hobbies, such as photography and trying out new recipes. He is currently working on his next travelogue, where he hopes to take his readers on a journey to even more exciting and lesser-known destinations.