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

activities / Private & luxury

Tour description provided by Viator

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.

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.

What's included

  • Entrance fees to all site attractions
  • Local english-speaking guide
  • Lunch
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Transport by air-conditioned vehicle

What isn't included

  • Gratuities (optional)