4.5 star rating: Recommended 6 Reviews

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  • Location:Chennai, India
  • Duration:8 hours (approx.)

Private Cultural Tour: Day Trip to Mahabalipuram and Dakshinachitra from Chennai

On this private tour from Chennai, journey back in time to discover traditional South Indian culture through its artistic, architectural and religious heritage. With your private guide, explore a traditional Dravidian (South Indian) village and visit its museum and art workshops to get a unique insight into local customs. Then, after lunch at a local restaurant, discover excellent examples of Dravidian architecture in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Mahabalipuram, featuring countless impressive rock-cut sculptures and temples. Private air-conditioned transportation and hotel pickup and drop-off are included.


  • Private cultural tour of Mahabalipuram and Dakshinachitra from Chennai
  • See traditional customs first-hand at the preserved Dravidian village of Dakshinachitra
  • Browse local workshops and see artisans crafting pottery, weaving silk and making baskets
  • Enjoy an authentic Indian lunch
  • Visit UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mahabalipuram to explore its rock-cut cave temples and structures
  • Transport by private air-conditioned vehicle and hotel pickup and drop-off included

What You Can Expect

Private Cultural Tour: Day Trip to Mahabalipuram and Dakshinachitra from Chennai

Arjuna's Penance Monument in Mahabalipuram

After pickup from your hotel in the morning, your private guide will take you by air-conditioned vehicle to the village of Dakshinachitra, located about 18 miles (29 km) outside of Chennai. Spend approximately 45 minutes in Dakshinachitra, meaning ‘A Picture of the South,’ which preserves the traditional Dravidian way of life.

See traditional Indian homes, explore the open-air museum, and visit the artisan workshops to learn about the Dravidian crafts of several regions in South India including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh – a great activity for kids. Here, you may see traditional theater performances as well as local craftsmen making pottery and baskets, weaving silk and building puppets.

Then, drive approximately 14.5 miles (23.3 km) to Mahabalipuram, or what is now called Mamallapuram. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed city is full of rock-cut monuments built between the 7th and 9th centuries. These structures, most of which were built to honor Hindu gods, are some of the oldest existing examples of Dravidian architecture.

With your guide, visit several cave temples and sculpted reliefs including Five Rathas, Arjuna Dhabas, Krishna Mandap, Krishna Butterball and Shore Temple. Your guide will point out the Buddhist elements of these impressive structures and explain the historical significance of the sites you pass.

In between sightseeing, enjoy an authentic Indian lunch at a nearby restaurant in Mahabalipuram. After your full-day tour, you’ll be driven back to your Chennai hotel in the evening.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Guide was super friendly and very knowledgeable. Especially good if you don't have much time in Chennai, but want to get a taste of something other than the city itself. We are glad we did it.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2014

I enjoyed the visit a lot and specially that the guide was so expert and he gave me lots of information about the place. It was a well organised journey to that must see place.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2014

Very nice en compete tour! Very nice and friendly guide! Nice restaurant, no problems, thank you!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2013

Great day out!

3 star rating: Worth doing December 2014

This was very interesting to see, a couple+ hours out of town with good photo ops.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better December 2013

The tour guide was exceptional but the back end service was appalling. First , they did not contact me to reconfirm my tour although i had sent them an email to reconfirm my tour. In their reply to my email they said someone from their Chennai office will contact me and I waited until one day before tour and still no contact. I had to call Delhi long distance to confirm my tour. Slack service . The only positive was that the guide they gave us was outstanding.

From USD $ 68.75

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Tour code: 5353MAAPVTMADA


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