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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.


Guide to Exploring around Tiger Cave


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Tiger Cave

See all 927 Properties near Tiger Cave
Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram ¥10,613
Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram

Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram

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

    Nestled on the beach, this Mahabalipuram resort is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) from Krishna's Butterball and 3 mi (4.8 km) from Old Mahabalipuram Road. Mamallapuram Beach and Ganesha Ratha are also within 10 minutes.

    Ideal Beach Resort ¥8,087
    Ideal Beach Resort

    Ideal Beach Resort

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

      Offering direct access to the beach, this Mahabalipuram Beach hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Tiger Cave, Mamallapuram Beach, and Mahishamardini Rock Cut Mandapa. Krishna's Butterball and Ganesha Ratha are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Meya Beach Walk Hotel ¥3,235
      Meya Beach Walk Hotel

      Meya Beach Walk Hotel

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

        Nestled on the beach, this Mahabalipuram Beach hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Mamallapuram Beach, Mahishamardini Rock Cut Mandapa, and Krishna's Butterball. Ganesha Ratha and Varaha Cave Temple are also within 2 mi (3 km).

        WelcomHotel Kences Palm Beach -Member ITCHotel Group ¥10,001
        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 out of 5.0 Stars

          Nestled on the beach, this Mahabalipuram hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Mamallapuram Beach, Tiger Cave, and Krishna's Butterball. Mahishamardini Rock Cut Mandapa and Ganesha Ratha are also within 3 mi (5 km).

          Mamalla Beach Resort ¥8,034
          Mamalla Beach Resort

          Mamalla Beach Resort

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

            Situated in Mahabalipuram, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Mamallapuram Beach, Tiger Cave, and Krishna's Butterball. Ganesha Ratha and Varaha Cave Temple are also within 2 mi (3 km).

            Hotel Amar Park ¥1,637
            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 0.4 mi (0.7 km) from Krishna's Butterball and 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Old Mahabalipuram Road. Mamallapuram Beach and Ganesha Ratha are also within 10 minutes.

              Capital O 30679 Joe Beach Resort
              Capital O 30679 Joe Beach Resort

              Capital O 30679 Joe Beach Resort

              7 Maheswar Teron Path Upper Sosoal, Chengalpattu
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Chengalpattu, this hotel is 2.7 mi (4.3 km) from Tiger Cave and within 6 mi (10 km) of Old Mahabalipuram Road and Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. Mamallapuram Beach and Krishna's Butterball are also within 6 mi (10 km).

                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, 2.7 mi (4.3 km) from Tiger Cave, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Mamallapuram Beach and Mahishamardini Rock Cut Mandapa. Old Mahabalipuram Road and Madras Crocodile Bank Trust are also within 6 mi (10 km).