Weekend getaway to Mahabalipuram
What are your plans post the nation-wide lockdown? Though it seems like the lockdown may be extended further, it is comforting (for me anyway) to plan a trip somewhere. We all need some wanderlust under lockdown!
Mahabalipuram is an hour’s drive away from Chennai, and 6 hours from Bangalore. So as long as you have some really good music for the ride, I promise it will be a weekend well spent!
Mahabalipuram is known for its beaches, temples and most importantly the tastiest seafood!
Mahabalipuram was the ancient seaport of the Pallava dynasty, which ruled from the nearby town of Kancheepuram between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. It is a UNESCO World heritage site, protected and developed by the Archaeological Survey of India & the Central tourism department.
Located just a few metres from the ocean, the Shore temple is the only one out of the seven similar temples in the area that has withstood the test of time and the ravages of the sea. There are two rock-cut shrines in the temple, one dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the other to Vishnu. The temple undergoes periodic chemical treatments to prevent further sea erosion. The best time to visit is at sunset or sunrise.
Trivia for all the movie buffs
The Shore temple is the location for the wedding in the movie 2 States starring Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor!
The pastoral scene carved on the walls of the mandapam recreates an episode from the young life of Lord Krishna. The Lord is shown lifting the mountain to protect the shepherd community of Gokula from the wrath of the rain God, Varuna.
This rock canvas of 96 ft in length and 43ft in height is chiselled to perfection depicting Gods, humans, birds, and animals. A sage is depicted standing on one foot doing penance to remind one of Arjuna’s penance.
Other Must-see monuments are
The Five Rathas, Mahishasuramardhini Cave, & Varaha Cave.
Relax at the Beach
There are hotels with beach access, and that's always my favourite pick. Else, the beach on which the Shore Temple is located, though crowded, is a great place to be.
Where to eat
After a tiring day of sightseeing head to Moonrakers restaurant in Othavadai Street, for the most delectable seafood!
My meals at the Intercontinental hotel were fantastic, the highlight being their amazing breakfast spread! So if you are breakfast person like I am, prepare to be in food heaven!
Shopping in Mahabalipuram
I also managed to get some shopping done near the Shore Temple from local vendors. I bought some beautifully carved stone coasters, mortar & pestle, and the most comfortable handmade leather kholapuris!
Have you been to Mahabalipuram? Let me know your thoughts/questions in the comments below!