There is neither a tiger nor a dark dingy cave , but located in Saluvankuppam, five kms from Mahabalipuram , are a couple of rock cut temples . The name is derived from a cave temple which has a crown of carved heads of an animal that looks like a tiger It is said that the animal depicted is the mythological yali and it is known as the Yali Mandapam .

Small hillocks, big boulders set amidst casurania trees and the sandy shores make this a great haven for birds and an idyllic picnic spot . The mandapam is like an open air theatre and even today, some cultural events are held here

The rock cut cave temple with a Shiva Linga and a Nandi is at a corner while the temple is situated below ground level and hence the top of the rock that forms the roof of the temple is accessible for climbing.

The beach is located near the cave temples and its a much quieter option than the Mahabalipuram beach .


  1. Arun 19 December, 2007 at 02:11 Reply

    I treasured watching the shore temple and the beach during sundown. Mahabalipuram is a really beautiful place, though it does get pretty crowded in weekends..

  2. backpakker 19 December, 2007 at 10:00 Reply

    Apun Ka Desh – Nice to see you back.. will have to go back to post more..:)thanks

    Ajeya rao- Thanks . We sometimes dont realize that we have some historic treasures right in our backyard.

    Cosmic Joy – thanks for your wishes and your lovely glad you liked them

    Mark – History has been one of my interests ..This is one of the most beautiful places in the world ..thanks

    Ashley – Thanks . they are my favorites too and the pic of the nandi and the tigers cave itself . saw your posts ..amazing ..havent been there , for now, I will visit you to get a feel of the place

    Anjuli – Ive been to Elephanta too while I was studying and also to the Kanheri caves in borivali, above the national park..try going there if you havent

    BTR – Good to see you back and thanks..pls do visit ..its very rich in history and natural wealth

    Arun – Thats why I didnt go to the beach.. being season, it was flooded..not too many people though near the scultures ..was going there after childhood 🙂

  3. Sivaram Kannan 20 December, 2007 at 10:39 Reply

    Hey, the excavation I mentioned was just before the caves in the above photos( where there are some sanscrit inscriptions). I had the privilege of being accombined by a ASI veteran who explained about the excavation and other things.

  4. backpakker 20 December, 2007 at 10:56 Reply

    Anjuli – Im sure you will enjoy it ..

    SK – Was it a Subramanya temple ? I read about was getting dark , so didnt linger there , so I wanted to ..there is also an excavation at Mahabs itself ..I want to go there again to photograph these excavations, Arjuna Penance and other monuments..

  5. backpakker 21 December, 2007 at 15:57 Reply

    Kalyan – this is just an hour from Chennai , and you must come down south sometime

    Anil – Im sure most of us have childhood memories of Mahabs – our school used to take us there for excursions – this time the perspective is different

    Stephanie – They are carved ..are rock cut temples of the Pallava Regime in 6-7 century. In fact, the sculptures in the next post are monoliths, carved out of a single rock

    SK – I did see it, but it was dark and it didnt know then – I read about it later

  6. GMG 22 December, 2007 at 05:59 Reply

    Wow, wonderful pictures!
    Sorry for having taken so much time to come back here, but I will not tell you about my last weeks… The problem is that the coming ones don’t seem much nicer, at least up to January 14th, 2008…
    But let’s forget all that; I wish you a great weekend and I’ll try to come back here to see some wonderful pictures and divert from less interesting tasks!

  7. Shantanu 24 December, 2007 at 12:37 Reply

    Those rock temples are so amazing. Wonder how old these are. I have some in and around Pune which seem to have existed for a very long time — they must have been old temples even during the Peshwa rule. Most have been carved from rocky mountainsides, but aren’t very well known as tourist destinations yet.

  8. backpakker 30 December, 2007 at 12:48 Reply

    GMG – Thanks . Mahabalipuram is a favourite destination for as school kids and I have started seeing it with an adult perspective..Wish you a very happy new year and I hope you have a stress free year

    Shooting star – Thanks..Its a nice place ..why dont you come here

    backpack_everyday -Oops, havent been there for a while..Im in Bangalore still

    Bluemountainmama – Thanks..I like sunsets more than sunrises..:) Mahabs is beautiful..maybe you should visit it sometime

    Shantanu – They belong to the Pallava period and were built in the 6th-7th century ..Ive been to some of the forts and a couple of caves ..but there are more to see..regret that I have not travelled much during my stay in Mumbai – Pune

    Reeta-Thank you..I take a humble bow..Im not so well travelled actually and its been ages that I actually went out anywhere .Thanks for blogrolling me

  9. Cuckoo 30 December, 2007 at 21:30 Reply

    Have gone there twice, a beautiful place. But have not posted any pictures. The reason is known to you. 🙂

    Maybe when I go next time.

    BTW, Lovely pictures.

    Keep posting them.

  10. DesiDirectory 25 March, 2008 at 14:10 Reply

    Mahabalipuram, or Mamallapuram, was the chief seaport of the Pallavas who

    ruled most portions of South India from the first century B.C to the eighth century

    A.D., and it is now recognized as the site of some of the greatest architectural and

    sculptural achievements in India. The temples of Mamallapuram, built largely

    during the reigns of Narasimhavarman and his successor Rajasimhavarman,

    showcase the movement from rock-cut architecture to structural building.
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