The diary of a few rides and clicks!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Journey :
Mahabalipuram is situated in the state of  Tamil Nadu. It is a place with great historic significance. It has many monuments and a beautiful Shore temple. It has been renamed as Mamallapuram.
We went to Mahabalipuram from Pondicherry on bikes. As mentioned in my previous post, we had come to Pondicherry from Bangalore on bikes. Mahabalipuram is around 100 kms far from Pondicherry but it seems just 50 kms or so coz of the East Coast Road (ECR). ECR is one of the best roads in India and it runs parallel to many beaches. You can get beautiful views of the Bay of Bengal from the road itself.

 On the way to Mahabalipuram from Pondicherry, comes a small village called Kalpakkam, 4 kms away from ECR to the right. The beach at Kalpakkam is too good and it is also famous. There won't be too many people which makes it more awesome! We played there for an hour or so and then left to Mamallapuram.

Once we entered Mahabalipuram, we started searching for a lodge. But all neat lodges were very costly. Finally we found a lodge in the ECR fr just 600 bucks. We then got freshed up, and went to the beach in the night. There were hardly any people in the beach. Sat there for sometime watching the moon and went to have dinner. Our day ended then. The next day morning, we went to the beach again to see the sunrise early morning. But coz of our bad luck, it was cloudy. But still we managed to get some mindblowing snaps there and then went to the Shore temple located next to the beach. It is an old and famous temple which is seen in many videos.

From there we went to the Five Rathas, a place where Five Chariots are made of stone. All the five chariots are pretty huge and it is a wonderful work of art.

The most important place in Mahabalipuram is a park situated in the city itself near the bus stand which contains too many monuments to name here. Arjuna's Penance, A light house, Krishna's Big Butter Rock to name a few. It takes around 2-3 hours to watch everything in that park in detail. A good long walk in the end, worth it.

There is nothing else in Mahabalipuram other than the beach and these monuments and temples. Then we continued our journey in the ECR towards Chennai. After traveling around 5-6 kms from Mamallapuram, you can visit Tiger Cave. A big rock on which some tigers have been carved, and it is not somewhere in the forest, as we had expected.

Then we went to the Kovalam beach, which is worth watching for around 30 minutes, maximum. We couldn't figure out why it was famous. But still waves hitting the big rocks in the beach was worth watching.
From there, we went to the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, at Vandalur. You have to take a left from the ECR to go there. Better keep on asking people the routes regularly before missing out on it, if you plan to go there.

The Vandalur Zoo is the Largest Zoo in South Asia. It takes atleast 3 hours if you walk everywhere in the Zoo to see all the animals. There is also a Lion Safari if you want to see Lions. If you cant walk 4-5 kms, then better take the electric vehicles in the beginning itself. Cycles are also available for rent there. Almost all the animals you can think of, are there in the Zoo. You will be definitely tired in the end after walking in the entire Zoo.

Since we had to head back to Bangalore, we went to Vellore on the way, after having luch at ChangalPet. I don't know how many of you know this, but there is a golden temple at Vellore. Its an amazing sight to see the temple. You can't stop praising it till you come out. Its a wonderful temple and one of the best. A must see place. If you plan to go in the general queue in the temple, it takes nearly 2-3 hours at least since people come from all over India just to see that place. So better take a 100 Rs. ticket, as we did. You can skip the general queue and go the special queue. But still it takes at least an hour in the special queue also. You will walk the entire perimeter of the temple and watch it from all the angles.

The 4-lane Chennai - Bangalore Highway helped us travel at more than 80 kmph avg. speed and reach Bangalore at around midnight safely!

Routes :
Bangalore - Pondicherry - Mamallapuram - Vandalur - ChangalPet - Vellore - Krishnagiri _ Bangalore.

Final Review :
Mamallapuram is a good place to visit. If you plan to go to a 2-3 day trip from Bangalore, better go to a Pondicherry, Mamallapuram trip covering all the places I said. It took us 3 days to cover all the interesting places in Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, Vellore, Vandalur, Kalpakkam, Kovalam. Vellore temple is near to Bangalore and you can go there for a day out also. You must go to Mahabalipuram at least once to see the brilliance of the sculptures and the art there. Cheers!

Ratings :
Mahabalipuram Beach - 4/5
Shore Temple - 3.5/5
The park containing all the monuments - 4/5
Kovalam Beach - 3/5
Kalpakkam Beach - 4/5
Vandalur Zoo - 4/5
Vellore Golden Temple - 5/5!


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