On the outskirts of Mamallapuram, 4 kms tot he north is the unfinished Tiger Cave originally meant to be the stage of an open-air ampitheatre.
The glorious city of Kancheepuram is one of the seven sacred pilgrim centres of the Hindus. Being as it was the capital city of the pallava, Chola and Vijayanagar dynasties it has seen the rise and fall of many a kingdom, and once boasted of a 1000 celebrated temples that enhanced the landscape. Today, unfortunately only 125 temples ramain. The worship of both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva is the unique feature of this temple town.
Legend has it that goddess Parvathi; the wife of Lord Shiva tied a blindfold around his eyes in good sprit and was punished for it. After days of penance Lord Shiva pardoned her at the place where the Kamakshi Temple stands. A glorious golden gopuram crowns this splendid temple. The colorful Car Festival is held here in February or March.
Hall of a Thousand Pillars
The magnificent sculptured Hall of a Thousand Pillars is part of the Varadarajaswamy Temple, also known as the Devarajaswamy Temple. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it has spacious courtyards and a splendid seven-storied gopuram. The detailed and exquisite sculptures, the pillared hall and the monolithic ornamental chain make it one of the most beautiful temples in Kancheepuram.
20 km a fishing village and a beach. A 1.6 km road branches off at Kelambakkam for Covelong. Good for a day's picnic.
Open Air Museum
This newly set up modern open-air museum of sculpture reflects the cultural heritage of the Tamil people from the pre-Sangam days. The objects on display, shaped mostly from granite by 200 sculptors, include a chain in stone, ornamental wheels and a host of other items. The themes here are many, including those relating to historical and cultural events of the period, placing the contribution of the Tamil land in proper perspective Situated very close to the Shore temple, one can have a glimpse of the past, as well as the progress being made in the present in the field of art in Tamil Nadu.
Vedanthangal (55 kms)
The 30-hectare national sanctuary for migratory birds here is visited every year by thousands of birds, which come during the winter to breed. During certain years, more than a hundred thousand birds have been seen in this sanctuary. A large marshy area around the Vedanthangal Lake harbours nearly 100 species of migratory birds, some coming from as far as Siberia.
Cholamandal Artists Village (35 kms)
This artists' cooperative has sprung up 20 km south of Chennai on the way to Mamallapuram in a sylvan location by the beach that facilitates the blossoming of creativity. It is far removed from the bustle of the everyday world. Several of South India’s eminent artists and sculptors live and work here, and exhibit and sell their creations at the gallery that is a part of the village.
Crocodile Bank (14 kms)
About 5000 crocodiles representing many species and several kinds of other reptiles are reared here.