Mandaveli is located close to the famous locality of Mylapore and to the east of Pattinapakkam or Foreshore estate. It derives its name from a literal translation with reference to the rearing of cows "mandhai" meaning - "herd" and " Veli" which means open space in Tamil. On the west side it is surrounded by Alwarpet. Mandaveli is predominantly a residential area with the main "landmarks" being the Ramakrishna Math (after which the R.K. Mutt Road is named), the 150 year old Kapali talkies, the Airtel regional office of Tamil Nadu, the Ponds regional head office, Hindustan Lever, and others like Greenways road & boat club. Due to its proximity to the temple dense Mylapore, Mandaveli is home to a large number of Brahmins. Mandavelipakkam is seen as a residential cum business area located between Santhome (which is home to the San Thome Basilica) to the north and Adyar to its south. St. John's Senior Secondary School and St. John's Matriculation Higher Secondary School are prominent educational institutions in this area. Mandaveli MRTS station is built on the MRTS railway line which connects it to Chennai central beach station at the north end and Velachery to the south. Several old buildings are being demolished to make way for newer structures.
To the east is the posh Karpagam Avenue - a beautiful locality mostly residential, also home to the India Cements Towers. Opposite Karpagam Avenue is Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Nagar (MRC nagar). This is a newly developing huge area beside the beach. There are quite a number of multi-storey buildings coming up here. Big corporates and five star hotels have set up office here. The SUN TV network, TVH Bellicia Towers, The India Cements Buildings and Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Marriage and Conference Centre are a few important buildings located here. The JW Marriot Hotel and Leela Palace Hotel are some of the notable buildings under construction here.