Friday, February 01, 2013

Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), TN

Mamallapuram (or Mahabalipuram as it was previously called) offers the perfect day-trip option from the maddening crowds of Chennai. A visit to this erstwhile Pallava bastion can rejuvenate your spirits from an otherwise dampening stay in the crowded alleys of Chennai. The fact that the ruins stand right on the beach makes it all the more sweeter. M'puram is a short drive out of Chennai. It roughly takes about an hour and a half to reach this place from Thiruvanmiyur in a state bus. You could have reached sooner had the so-called "Toll Road" not been barricaded every 1 km till Kovalam. Once you cross Kovalam its a smooth ride till M'puram with the sea constantly keeping company. The traffic also clears up after Kovalam.

M'puram is a small tourism-centric town. The only other occupations practiced here are fishing, stone carving and of course begging (which is an off-shoot of tourism). Much like the ruins of Hampi, the monuments are spread out. But unlike the former, you don't really need a bicycle or a vehicle to wander about - if you don't mind exercising your body a bit. But of course the same might not apply on a hot-Tamil-Nadu-summer-afternoon. In such cases you can always opt for autorickshaws and even bicycles/scooters for hire.

There are plenty of sight-seeing options here - all that can be covered in a day and still have plenty of time to relax by the sea. The three major attractions here are Arjuna's penance, Five Rathas and the Shore Temple. Apart from this there are couple of cave temples near Arjuna's penance, Krishna's butterball, Tiger cave, a lighthouse and a few other rock carvings on the way. The rock carving on Arjuna's penance are nothing short of spectacular. The view from the Lighthouse is not to be missed. The Five Rathas are to be seen to be believed. And finally the Shore Temple is another masterpiece in stone.
There are plenty of shacks in the beach near the Shore Temple where you get food and accommodation. To enter the Shore Temple and the Five Rathas, you need take an entry ticket of Rs 10. This one ticket is valid for both these places. The lighthouse entry is Rs 10 for adult and Rs 20 for Camera. The remaining locations are on the roadside and hence free.

Getting there: Plenty of buses and taxis from CMBT (Koyembedu) and Thiruvanmiyur.

Must-Do: Make a list of all places you want to cover and go about it. Relax by the sea.
Must-Don't: Vandalism and Littering.

My Rating: 8/10


  1. Mahabalipuram is standing in my list from so many years..ever since i first saw in those old movies..your blog convinced me enough to visit to this place ASAP, and be done with it. Nice information, and rarely your blogs are littered with more pictures along with beautiful narration. Good information!

    1. It is a must-visit place Sri. The heritage of our ancestors, the fantastic beach, the quiet ambience...
      You gonna love it.

      I rarely post more pics, since I dont want my readers to see everything (and spoil the fun) before they even reach there.

      In this blog, I somehow could not resist it :)

  2. Dear Roadbloke, Thanks for rating us as 8/10 though personally we think we are a perfect 10 :)

    We have just set up a facebook page for love of Mahabalipuram! Please like and share and publish, all help will be much appreciated! And let us know if you want to contribute as well and I will provide you admin rights.

    Hope to see you on there and be in touch!

    I Love Mahabalipuram Admin

    1. Thanks ILM,

      I was very tempted to give a 9/10, but I guess its the heat that put me off :)

      And 10? Well Ive never that before. A 10/10 must be something really special!

      I will check out your FB page later. Currently Im out-of-town for a few months and have limited access to social networking sites and Thanks for the offer though.

  3. Wow, Wow, wow! I really want to see this place. We'd decided to do it the last time we were there. We were put up in the suburbs of Chennai, towards 'that' side and all that; but it still didn't work. :(.

    Thank you for those pictures. Very inviting!

    1. It's really a must-visit place. Its a mini Hampi of sorts!

      The critical thing to worry about is the Sun. Avoid the summers at any cost.