Mahabalipuram Diaries

#1 Dec 11th, 2014, 21:44
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This is the prequel to my thread related to my trip to Pondicherry. We had been planning for such a trip since January and ultimately it happened in the month of August 2014.

9th August 2014: Kolkata To Mahablipuram
We had taken an early morning flight from Kolkata which left at 6.30 a.m and reached Chennai on 8.40 a.m.
Then took a cab from Chennai airport for C.M.B.T bus terminus. We were planning to board an a/c bus for Mahablipuram . However found out that the next a/c bus would leave after 3 hours and we might need to wait in terminus that long. Neither of us were keen on doing that so we boarded a normal non a/c bus for Mahablipuram. It was a difficult task as we had big luggage, but with the help of the co passengers we both managed to get a seat. One kind person even made space for us to keep our luggage, even if he had to squeeze himself in another seat. Well I guess that is India again. Finally we reached Mahabalipuram at 12 p.m. Luckily our hotel was very near, just 2 minutes walk from the bus terminus. We had planned to visit the shore temple and the beach in the afternoon the same day. The rest of the sites were to be visited the next day. So spoke with an auto driver and he agreed to show us around for Rs. 300/-. Somehow liked talking to the person, and asked him to be there at the hotel in 8 a.m. the next day. He even offered to drop us at the hotel for free.
Checked in to our hotel and had lunch after freshening up.

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Pool In Our Hotel. A Favorite Spot.

It was time to visit the Shore Temple.

Shore Temple
The Shore Temple (built in 700–728 AD) is so named because it overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. The main credit for the architectural elegance of the Shore Temple complex in the category of structural temples goes to the King Rajasimha (700–28 AD), also known as Narasimhavarman II, of the Pallava Dynasty.


The Shore Temple


The Shore Temple Compound


The Gopuram


Durga On A Lion


The Shore Temple From A Different Angle


The Shoe And The Leg. An Over-sized Shoe Displayed At A Store.


Fruits On Display

In the evening went out to explore the Mahabalipuram town. Being a foodie I soon found myself sitting and having Calamari with chilled beer. The evening was wonderful with the chit chat of guests and music being played from various restaurants. It rained a bit and the temperate also dropped a few degrees and it was overall a wonderful experience. Retired back to our room and called it a day after dinner.

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Selfie Time

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Calamari

Will continue with the rest of the trip report soon....
Life is all about perspective. The sinking of the Titanic was a miracle to the lobsters in the ship's kitchen.
#2 Dec 16th, 2014, 14:21
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Mahabalipuram Site Scene

9th August 2014: Mahablipuram

As per plan our day for site scene started at 8 a.m. First went to the Pancha Rathas.

Pancha Rathas

Pancha Rathas or Five Rathas as the name suggests is a monument complex containing five monuments.The structures are named after the Pancha Pandavas and their common wife Draupadi, of epic Mahabharata fame. They include the Dharmaraja Ratha, Bhima Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Nakula Sahadeva Ratha, and Draupadi Ratha. Each of these is carved from one single large piece of stone.


Bhima Ratha


Bhima Ratha Front View


Lion Amongst The Rathas


Bull Amongst The Rathas


Dharmaraja Ratha


Arjuna Ratha


Lion Heads


Arjuna Ratha


The Rathas
#3 Dec 16th, 2014, 14:29
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Mahishasuramardini Mandapa and the Olakkannesvara Temple.

Next we went to the Mahishasuramardini Mandapa and the Olakkannesvara Temple.

Mahishasuramardini Mandapa

It is a rock-cut cave temple located on a hill, near a lighthouse. The temple is dedicated to goddess Durga who according to legend and hinduism killed the killed the demon Mahishasura, hence the title Mahishasuramardhini (conqueror of Mahisha). Mahisha means buffalo. The demon Mahishasura's father Rambha was king of the asuras, and he once fell in love with Princess Mahishi, who was cursed to be a water buffalo; Mahishasura was born out of this union. He is, therefore, able to change between human and buffalo form at will. The cave's interior relief depicts this battle. The goddess is shown riding a lion, her several arms holding a bow and arrow, pursuing the retreating Mahisha with his followers.


The Interior Of Mahishasuramardini Mandapa


Vishnu In Repose On The Wall Of Mahishasuramardini Mandapa

Olakkannesvara Temple

Olakkannesvara Temple is a structural temple built in the 8th century, it is situated directly above the Mahishasuramardini mandapa on a hillock which provides scenic views of the town. It is dedicated to an incarnation of Shiva.


Olakkannesvara Temple


The Mahishasuramardini Mandapa And The Olakkannesvara Temple From the LightHouse

There is a lighthouse at this site which was built in 1894 which overlooks the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. Climbed it and the view from the top is just awesome.


The LightHouse

Came down and visited a nearby shop to buy some mementos for home. After few heavy thoughtful minutes in dilemma( All the stone cutting mementos looked wonderful and like most good things in life they were not cheap), settled down for small Stone lamps and an elephant model.

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Stone Buddha Head

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Lamps At Display. We Did Buy A Similar One For Home.
Last edited by Rad; Dec 16th, 2014 at 20:48..
#4 Dec 16th, 2014, 20:59
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Continued...

The next stop was the Mandapas or rock-cut Caves and the Kirshna Butter Ball.

Kirshna Butter Ball

Kirshna Butter Ball is situated on a hill slope near the Ganesh Ratha is a massive natural rock boulder in a shape of huge ball, precariously balancing on a smooth slope. It is a common tourist attraction where many are found to pose resting their arms on the rock and get clicked.


Krishna's Butter Ball

Mandapas

Mandapas or rock-cut Caves are sanctuaries or temples covered with bas-reliefs. Of the eleven mandapas or caves seen in Mahabalipuram, the most notable are the Varaha Cave Temple, Krishna Cave Temple, Panchapandava Cave Temple, and the Mahishasuramardini mandapa.Many of the caves of the Pallava period have remained incomplete.


A Mandapa


Another Temple. Do not Remember The Name.


A Lamp In Front OF The Temple

Varaha Cave Temple

Varaha Cave Temple is a rock-cut cave temple. The cave reflects a transitional style of architecture in its columns mounted on seated lions and frescoes carved on the walls inside the cave which evolved during the rule of Pallava kings Mahendra Varman I and Rajasimha or Narasimhavarman I known as Mamalla. This style was continued by Mamalla's son Parameshvaravarman I. Historical research has also confirmed that Mahabalipuram town came to be established only after it was named after Mamalla and the caves and rathas are all attributed to his reign during the year 650 AD. It is the earliest known monument in Mahabalipuram though not the most visited due its hidden location. The distinctive feature of the Pallava style is that the frontage of the cave has, without exception, finely carved columns mounted on lions in a sitting posture.


Varaha Cave

Arjuna's Penance

Arjuna's Penance is a famous rock relief or bas-relief work. It is also reported as the largest bas-relief work in the world.This bas-relief is carved on two huge boulders of 27 metres (89 ft) length and 9 metres (30 ft) height with depictions from mythological episodes of hinduism.


Stone Monkeys


Arjuna's Penance

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Wondering What Was So Funny That I Clicked

It was already 12 p.m. and we headed back to our hotel. Then had an awesome lunch at a nearby restaurant.

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Mouth Watering Steak

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Somebody Was In A Happy Mood

To Be Continued ...
#5 Dec 17th, 2014, 13:20
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The Mahabalipuram Beach

Went for an afternoon stroll on the beach. It was beautiful out there, surfers surfing, boat rides , some were just walking down the beach, few gathered up at various places enjoying a chit chat. We were moving down the beach, clicking pictures when heard a sound “BOOO”. It was little kid who would chase the waves making that sound. Stopped there a bit to watch the fun and then incidentally got introduced to his parents. A lovely french family and they have named him Ganapati, he could barely talk but had smiley face and jovial nature with huge curiosity towards our cameras and obviously brave enough to chase the waves whenever he felt it right. Well that was fun.


Shore Temple From The Beach


Boats And The Shore Temple


Waves


Ready For A Ride?


Fisher Men Untangling Their Fish Nets


The Beach

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Mr. Ganapati Performing His Favorite Stunt (Chasing Waves)

After an hour or so of strolling around the beach we returned back to our hotel and went straight for the pool, which by then has become the common hub of the entire hotel.

The evening was again beautiful and we even discovered an awesome roof top restaurant for our dinner.

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Posing While Waiting For The Food

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More Calamari

To Be Continued...
#6 Dec 17th, 2014, 22:28
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What hotel were you staying at? The food looks delicious!

Great photos too.
It's all part of the adventure of travelling!

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#7 Dec 18th, 2014, 10:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean-Philipe View Post What hotel were you staying at? The food looks delicious!

Great photos too.
Thanks Jean.

None of the food pictured here are from the hotel that I stayed in. They are from separate restaurants, but the hotel was great as well.

Well I do not know if I can go about telling the name of the restaurants I dined and the hotel I was staying in . I actually do not wish to give the impression that I am advertising anything here..

If the Mods are okay, I can definitely type the name of the Hotel and the restaurants.

Loved your blog BTW
#8 Dec 18th, 2014, 12:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rad View Post Well I do not know if I can go about telling the name of the restaurants I dined and the hotel I was staying in . I actually do not wish to give the impression that I am advertising anything here..

If the Mods are okay, I can definitely type the name of the Hotel and the restaurants.

Loved your blog BTW
It's perfectly OK to give your own opinions of a lodge or restaurant. "We stayed at XYZ lodge and it was a real dump with lousy service." "We had dinner at ABC restaurant. The food was delicious and the service was prompt and courteous."

Thanks for the comment about my blog. I need to do some updates soon.
#9 Dec 18th, 2014, 12:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean-Philipe View Post It's perfectly OK to give your own opinions of a lodge or restaurant. "We stayed at XYZ lodge and it was a real dump with lousy service." "We had dinner at ABC restaurant. The food was delicious and the service was prompt and courteous."
Good then. I stayed in Mamalla Heritage. The food was good and so was their service. Nice and clean rooms and bathroom. The pool was definitely great. Over all had quite a pleasant stay in there.

Now the first Calamary picture is from The Moon Rakers restaurant. Great food.
The Steak is from a restaurant called The Burger Shack. This also provides bed and breakfast facility. Very close to our hotel. Just a few buildings apart. Food was great and nice clean restaurant.
The third calamary is from Le Yogi. This is an wonderful roof top restaurant with a great ambience and definitely awesome food. This is located on the opposite sidewalk of Moon Rakers, just a few buildings down the road that takes you to the beach.
#10 Dec 18th, 2014, 13:03
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Great. Thanks for the details. I will check them out on my next visit to Mpm.

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