Mesmerizing Shores Of Mahabalipuram (South India)

Located at a distance of mere 50 km (37 miles) from Chennai, Mahabalipuram is a perfect blend of traditional heritage sites and modest tourist destinations with beautiful sea-shore, coral shopping opportunities, and mouth-watering fresh seafood.

We landed at Chennai airport around 11.30 am and decided to go straight to the Mahabalipuram the trip was a little un-planned and thus we opted for Ola outstation and that was a good decision.  Read the full blog to learn about the best places to see in Mahabalipuram.

Hotel Mahab, Mahabalipuram

The hotel is centrally located and thus has easy walking access to Shore temple, beach, and cultural sites. Ah, I am a big-time foody so the best part I loved about Hotel Mahab was the awesome seafood comprising of fresh prawns curry, fish fry, squids served with refreshing juice of ginger and fresh mint.

The famous Shore Temple

The shore temple is at the center and structures are beautiful but are mostly crowded with locals from nearby areas.  Clicking pictures are allowed inside temples and in the compound. The best time to visit is either after 3.00 pm so that you can watch the sunset or early morning for the sunrise bliss.

Shore view during sunset

After the shore temple, shore sidewalk is a must, remember swimming is not allowed on the beach but walking around the coast and watching the sun-set is mesmerizing. There are a lot of cafeterias to grab a mug of beer or coffee with fried fish, squids and mouth-watering seafood. 

Sunset visitor by the shore

The evening stroll around the area is bliss as it is well lighted up with evening stalls selling seashells, beach wares, and decoratives and then you can be back to your hotel.

The next day I planned to go to Kanchipuram and thus started early and visited the ancient monuments. The artifacts are original and are a true delight for history and art lovers, the rathas, mandapas are carved with perfection.

Heritage Monuments of Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is a famous for UNESCO World Heritage Site of 7th- and 8th-century Hindu Group of Monuments at Mamallapuram such as rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), the giant open-air rock relief the Descent of the Ganges, and the Shore Temple dedicated to Shiva, Durga, Vishnu, Krishna and others.

Ancient temples with colorful murals

Some important structures include:

  • Descent of the Ganges or Arjuna’s Penance – a giant open-air rock relief
  • Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots) – five monolithic pyramidal structures named after the Pandavas (ArjunaBhimaYudhishtraNakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi. Each of these is carved from one single separate large piece of stone.
  • Cave Temples – over ten rock-cut temples dating back to the 7th century. These include the Varaha, Adi Varaha, Krishna, Mahishasuramardini (Durga), Ramanuja, Dharmaraja, Koneri, Kotikal, Panchapandava and others
  • The Shore Temple – a structural temple along the Bay of Bengal with the entrance from the western side away from the sea. Recent excavations have revealed new structures here.
  • Other structural temples including the Olakkanesvara temple and the lighthouse, along with rock-cut features such as the Draupadi’s tank and Krishna’s butterball
  • Thirukadalmallai, the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Normally plenty of photographers are present around to pose and click your memories. A hat, sunglasses and water bottles are a must, as the place has dry temperatures and is exposed openly in the sun.

Ideally, 1.5 to 2 days are more than sufficient for grabbing the best of Mahabalipuram. The best time is Nov-Dec as the weather pleasant. 

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