Mamalapuram or Mahabalipuram is a tourist town 60 km south of Chennai made famous by its stone carvings. The most famous monument is the Shore Temple: when lit by moonlight, it is one of the most atmospheric locations in the region. The best time to visit is November to March.
Buses arrive from from Chennai or Pondicherry (about an hour and a half), you can also catch the bus from Pondy at Auroville.
It's easy to get around the town on foot, though bike rental is also available.
- The Shore Temple. The temple is carved from a single piece of stone and has stood for more than 3500 years.
- Vishnu temple and two Shiva temples.
- The Sculpture Museum, East Raja Street has sculptures.
- Old light house and New light house
- Bike trips around Tamil Nadu's countryside can be organized by travel agencies in the town.
- Chill on the sandy beach
- Stone carving Local sculptures in the main street leading to the see (after the Tina Shell View Lodge) teach stone carving. You will learn how to sculpt a simple locket, and the longer you'll stay, the more complicated things you'll be able to do. For a simple locket at least 5 hours are needed. For 100 Rs. a day you can learn/work as long as you like everyday (the result is yours of course).
- Stone sculptures made by local artist, you can see them on their work (and also learn it yourself, see Learn).
- Mahabalipuram is famous for its coconut water.
- Quality Inn Mgm Beach Resort. $50-$100.
- Mamalla Bhavan Annexe. <$50.
- Ideal Beach Resort. < $50.