It was my second trip to Chennai and so was to Mahabalipuram. I visited Mahabalipuram in 2007 but only in the evening and could not enjoy the various sight-seeing places where I could revel in the history or enjoy the sea in its fullest measure. However, this time, I had ample time and did visit all the related places nearby to the sea-shore.
I was staying with my friend in Asoor Village and hired a taxi to visit Mahabalipuram. The first place to visit was the Panch Rathas or five chariots. It’s a World Heritage Monument and was built by the Pallava king Narasimham. It has nothing to do with the Mahabharata‘s times though the rathas are related to the Pandava brothers. However, the site is a beautiful one though the sun was scorching hot in April.
The next place was a nearby stone-art site named Mahishasurmardini Cave. You have to do some elevated walking before you actually reach the spot. However, you can easily spend at least 2 hours at this place. There are various sites within the campus that you can visit.
At the same time, there is one unique thing that you can visit–the light tower. During noon, it gets closed for about 1:30 hours from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. After that, you can buy tickets and visit it. It usually gets crowded as there is only one way up and down. However, the view atop the light tower is almost breath-taking. You would like to enjoy standing at the top for some time, click photographs if you happen to have a camera and breathe-in the fresh air flowing so gently. All the heat was gone when we went atop the light tower.
Even the sea-shore temple was visible from the light-tower and we knew that this would be our next destination.
As you can see, the stone-art has many forms carved out of big stones. At the top of the light-tower, we realized that the shape of the cave is of an elephant with the palki palanquin over it.
After enjoying the aqua-fun at the beach, we visited the sea-shore temple. It is a Shiva temple built in Buddhist architecture. I was told there were seven of them but only one has survived as the rest of them have gone into the sea. Though the remains of one another can also be seen at the beach.
Overall, the trip to Mahabalipuram was a fantastic one except heat. there is no point in visiting it during April-May for sure if you can’t bear the heat.