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Visit Tiger's Cave for a quiet weekend getaway

Swahilya

Five km from Mahabalipuram, it is an ideal destination for nature lovers



SERENE RETREAT: A lone rock at Tiger's Cave . — Photo: Swahilya

CHENNAI: The metropolis can boast of quite a few getaways for a quiet weekend afternoon in nature's lap. Laze around, climb a few rocks, enjoy a breath of fresh air set out for a stroll and loll about on the shores of a clean beach - all free of cost.

The Tiger's Cave, five kilometres from Mahabalipuram, is the ideal destination for nature lovers. Situated at Saluvankuppam, it is a favourite picnic spot. School students can recollect to this day the occasions when they would stop by at the Tiger's Cave on their way back from a picnic to Mahabalipuram.

Though the name `Tiger's Cave' may conjure up awesome images of tigers living in caves, it is far from it. It gets its name from a cave set apart among the rocks with a crown of carved tiger heads around the temple.

With the maintenance of the cave the responsibility of the Archaeological Survey of India, the space has now been neatly developed with lawns dotted by palm, casuarinas and other trees. The small hillocks and rocks offer a natural excuse for children and adults alike to climb and run around.

An Archaeological Survey of India board at the entrance outlines that the ancient monument is protected and quotes the rules on its preservation from damage. A significant step in maintenance is the presence of a guard who instructs people to throw waste in the bin in his presence. The rock cut cave temple with a Shiva Linga and a Nandi is at a corner of the Tiger's Cave complex, which a few visitors remember to visit. 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. Sitting over the roof of the cave temple is a photographer's delight with rocks dotting the foreground, trees in the middle and the Bay of Bengal in the background.

From the Tiger's Cave premises, the beach is also accessible. For those who take a car to get there, besides the Rs.45 paid to and fro at the East Coast Road toll gate and the Rs.10 as car park fee, there is no other payment to be made for entry into the Tiger's Cave.

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