Tiger Cave - Mamallapuram

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The Tiger Cave is a rock-cut Hindu temple complex located in the hamlet of Saluvankuppam near Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, India. It gets its name from the carvings of tiger heads on the mouth of a cave which forms a part of the complex. The Tiger Cave is considered to be one of the Mahabalipuram rock-cut temples constructed by the Pallavas in the 8th century AD. The site is located on the Bay of Bengal coast and is a popular picnic spot and tourist destination.

The Tiger Caves are not actually caves, and tigers do not live here! These rock-cut structures with tiger-head like shapes (some think it's a mythological animal, 'yeli') are believed to have been constructed in 7-8 century by Pallavas, like all other similar monuments in Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram.

If you peer closely at Tiger's Cave from a distance you will realise that the cave in its entirety gives the appearance of a seated tiger or Yalli. There are pilasters (projecting columns carved into the cave's surface) carved towards the corner and one bears the image of a woman riding ferocious Yali, possibly Goddess Durga.

The Tiger caves are a part of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) protected monuments and the venue is maintained neatly with proper parking space and lush green lawn/trees for visitors.