The temperature too rose as our number of destinations increased. After our last meal at the hotel, we left for our next destination. The sun was shining brilliantly since the morning itself and had already reached it’s peak by the time we pulled our in to the parking lot of Mahabalipuram at around 10am. The day was going to be a very hot one, we knew it already. Humidity due to the sea nearby was just another add-on. To save ourselves from the high ultraviolet, we bought ourselves funky hats 😉 and that now completed our tourist look! 😛
Mahabalipuram, also Mamallapuram is known for its architectural grandeur. Around 60 km south from Chennai, this ancient historic town and was once a bustling seaport South Indian Pallava dynasty in the 7th century. Owing to its architectural brilliance, the group of monuments at Mahabalipuram has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal these monuments exhibit an exclusive Dravidian style of architecture. Some sculptures however unfinished yet doesn’t leaves a person less astonished with their beauty.
The Ratha Temples, carved out of a single piece of granite in situ, appear like chariots. The five Rathas, also known as the Pandava Rathas dated are known to belong to reign of the Pallava Dynasty,7th century. Being monolithic structures, they are carved from a single rock but with different layouts. They were not fully completed and hence no worship is offered in any of these temples.
Among the various caves/ mandappa of Mahabalipuram, Varaha Cave Temple, Krishna Cave Temple, and the Mahishasuramardini mandapa are the most notable ones. In Mahishasuramardini mandapa, the goddess Durga is shown seated on lion her mount with all her weapons while slaying the buffalo headed Mahishasura. I found this as one of the most impressive rock-relief structure. On the opposite wall, the scene depicted Lord Vishnu in the reclining posture. The most famous rock relief was the Descent of the Ganges (also known as Arjuna’s Penance or Bhagiratha’s Penance). It is said to be the largest open-air rock relief and also world’s largest bas-relief work.
The Shore Temple is so named because it overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal. It is a symbol of our regal heritage. This structural temple is built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. The sculptures are elaborately carved and are incredibly real and artistic. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu but is not a living temple. This architecture later became models for south Indian temple architectural style. The unique monuments in Mahabalipuram present a fusion of religion, culture, and legends.
Krishna’s ball is monolithic roughly spherical granite rock. Weighing over 250 tons, it is over 20 feet in height and width. It miraculously stands on an extremely small, slippery hilly area. This rock seems to defy all laws of physics.
After a few hours of guided tour of splendid monuments, we headed forward to Chennai. We had our lunch in one of the roadside dhaba. I had heard a bit about the ECR highway for it’s food. If it wasn’t as good, it was bad either. After two consecutive days of South-Indian breakfast, we longed for our North-Indian cuisines. So after giving our tongues a dose of extra spicy replica of Delhi food (that’s what the dhaba was boasting about), we drove further. By the time we checked-in, we were totally exhausted, blaming it on the humid weather.
After a quick nap of an hour, we decided to go to Marina Beach about which we have already heard so much. It is the longest natural urban beach in the country and the world’s second longest. After walking half a kilometer, as we reached towards the main beach front, we knew that it was surely the most crowded beach in the country. Peace was a far cry and it was a total contrast with the yesterday’s Puducherry beach. So maximum an hour of strolling was more than enough and we headed back to our hotel.
>> Day 5 <<
Place of Stay : Iris Hotel, No.2, Dr. Thomas Street, Pondy Bazaar, Thyagaraya Road, T.Nagar, Chennai
My Take : 3.5/5
- Ambience: 3.5
- Interior: 3
- Housekeeping : 3.5
- Food: 3.5