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Mamallapuram

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*''' GRT Temple Bay''', [http://www.grthotels.com/temple/index.htm]''' - a 5 star beach resort.
 
*''' GRT Temple Bay''', [http://www.grthotels.com/temple/index.htm]''' - a 5 star beach resort.
 
*'''Ideal Beach Resort''', Comfortable rooms and cottages in a tropical garden setting leading to  palm trees and hammocks on the beach. Popular with tours. [http://www.pbase.com/oochappan/idealbeachresort/]
 
*'''Ideal Beach Resort''', Comfortable rooms and cottages in a tropical garden setting leading to  palm trees and hammocks on the beach. Popular with tours. [http://www.pbase.com/oochappan/idealbeachresort/]
*'''Ishwarya Guest house''', ''+91 '' 9710482191. #26,Thirukula street. 27 cozy rooms with cool sea breeze, attached bath and 24 hrs room service. approx Rs. 450 ($10).
+
*'''Ishwarya Guest house''', ''+91 '' 9789881558. #26,Thirukula street. 27 cozy rooms with cool sea breeze, attached bath and 24 hrs room service. approx Rs. 450 ($10).
 
*'''Mamalla Beach Resort''', [http://www.mamallaresort.com/]. - 35 sea view rooms with balconies and attached bath. Options of air conditioned standard and deluxe rooms, swimming pool, multi-cuisine restaurant with 24 hour room service.
 
*'''Mamalla Beach Resort''', [http://www.mamallaresort.com/]. - 35 sea view rooms with balconies and attached bath. Options of air conditioned standard and deluxe rooms, swimming pool, multi-cuisine restaurant with 24 hour room service.
 
*'''Sea Breeze''' - Othavadai Cross (''at the end of the street''), ''+91 4114'' 243035. Beach resort with a swimming pool. Ayurvedic massage is available on-site. Rs 1000-2000.
 
*'''Sea Breeze''' - Othavadai Cross (''at the end of the street''), ''+91 4114'' 243035. Beach resort with a swimming pool. Ayurvedic massage is available on-site. Rs 1000-2000.
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* '''Hotel Baywatch'''.  Nice cheap room on the beach side, next to Luna Magica restaurant.
 
* '''Hotel Baywatch'''.  Nice cheap room on the beach side, next to Luna Magica restaurant.
 
*<sleep name="Hotel Ramakrishna" alt="" address="#8 Othavadai Street Mamallapuram" directions="" phone="27442331" url="www.hotelramakrishna.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs.350" lat="" long="">A large place on three storeys around a central parking courtyard, filled with pot plants. The simple rooms all have bathrooms and are clean. [email protected]</sleep>
 
*<sleep name="Hotel Ramakrishna" alt="" address="#8 Othavadai Street Mamallapuram" directions="" phone="27442331" url="www.hotelramakrishna.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs.350" lat="" long="">A large place on three storeys around a central parking courtyard, filled with pot plants. The simple rooms all have bathrooms and are clean. [email protected]</sleep>
 
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==

Revision as of 06:39, 6 January 2009

Detail of the Arjuna's Penance bas-relief in Mamallapuram

Mamallapuram 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 beautiful locations in the region. The best time to visit is November to March.

It is an important tourist attraction close to Chennai (Madras), along with the temples of Kanchipuram and the colonial buildings of Pondicherry. India's fourth largest city. The East Coast Road has made it easily accessible - just about an hour from the city. Unfortunately, the entire strip is now a mess of restaurants, resorts, amusement parks, people, discarded plastic and chaotic traffic. At one time you could see the Bay of Bengal almost all the way to M'puram, but, there is so much development that the ocean is glimpsed only as you get close to M'puram.

Mamallapuram itself was getting run down over the last decade with very patchy efforts at keeping the monuments preserved. This has changed in the last few years with the Shore Temple being included in the UNESCO heritage project. The surroundings have been made much nicer, but, there has been a lot of wind and water erosion on the temple carvings with many of them having undergone loss of detail over the years. Sort of too little, too late, but still, better than nothing. Be prepared to fight you way through clutches of gypsies, beggars, guides, snakes charmers and so on, all of which is an essential part of the experience and not to be frowned upon. The whole thing would be bland without them. A nuisance, but harmless.

It is a nice two-hour detour on the road to Pondicherry, by far and away a more interesting place to visit.

Get in

Buses arrive in the centre of the town from either Koyembedu or Tiruvanmiyur (in Chennai) and Kanchipuram. You can also catch the bus from Pondicherry.

A taxi from Chennai will cost Rs. 600-800 (USD 15 to 20) though the rates are likely to be higher based on the season, cab operator. Visitors outside Chennai, even Indian nationals and most definitely from Overseas are likely to be asked for higher rates. To or from the airport will cost Rs.800-1200 and will take one hour off peak and 1 1/2 hours peak time. Please negotiate the cab fares at the beginning of the journey and remain firm if the operator asks for more.


The drive from Chennai on the East coast road is a wonderful experience. It is one of the few toll roads in India and maintained well. Also, it runs parallel to the coast of Bay of Bengal making it a scenic driveway. (Note: The area around Mamallapuram was devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami: you will see shanty-towns built for affected fishermen and much of the greenery has been swept away.)

There is entrance ticket if we want to visit the historical place Rs.10 for Indian citizens and Rs.250 (approx USD 7) for visitors.

Get around

It's easy to get around the town on foot, though bike rental is also available. It is realtively a small city and all point of interest are close to each other. Parking may be tough in cartian areas so one can walk around.

See

  • Thirukadalmallai, the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was also built by Pallava King in order to safeguard the sculptures from the ocean. It is told that after building this temple, the remaining architecture was preserved and was not corroded by sea.
Krishna's Butterball
  • Shore Temple. The temple is carved from a single piece of stone and has stood for more than 1400 years. Entry US $5 for foreigners (there is a lower price for Indians), also includes entry to the Pancha Pandava Rathas.
  • Pancha Pandava Rathas - five "rathas", literally chariots, dating from the 7th century. The sculptures are complemented by some enormous stone animals, including a large elephant.
  • Arjuna's Penance - a giant bas-relief filled with detailed carvings, including a family of elephants and monkeys. Nearby is Krishna Madapa, another bas-relief.
  • Varaha Cave has four impressive carvings of Vishnu, Gakalakshmi, Trivikama and Durga.
  • Mahishamardini Cave. The central carving is of Shiva and Parvati and Murugan
  • Krishna's Butterball a giant natural rock perched on a hillside. It provides welcome shade if you dare to sit underneath it!
  • The Sculpture Museum, East Raja Street has hundreds of sculptures in stone,wood etc.It is well worth a visit. Rs. 2 entrance fee.
  • Old and new light houses provide views across the area to the sea. There are several unfinished temples nearby, and the December 2004 tsunami exposed more previously submerged temples.

Local guides, who speak multiple languages, are available for around Rs 200 (as of 2008-06-23) and will take visitors to the most of the attractions mentioned above.

Do

  • Bike trips around Tamil Nadu's countryside can be organized by travel agencies in the town.
  • Chill on the sandy beach
  • Surf, a restaurant at the entrance of the town, provides, following facilities:
    • Boat rides to in the Bay of bengal with life guards.
    • Fishing trips to the sea.
    • Turtle walk at the sea shore.
    • Trekking to a near by hill.
    • The price for the above activities are slightly more than what it should have been. For example, boat ride with life guards for 45 minutes is Rs. 280/- per head.
  • Several Yoga camps are organised on a daily basis.
  • Solaman at Sakthi Yoga offers 1-1/2 hour drop-in classes for Rs 150 per person. Classes are offered three times a day: 7:00, 9:00 and 16:00.
  • Mamallapuram is known for its orphanages which often invite tourists to visit them (and donate), eg. Hosanna Childrens' Home [2]. Spending some time with the children and teaching them something or drawing together might help much more than spending money without controling where it goes.

Learn

  • 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).

Buy

  • Stone sculptures made by local artists. You can see them on their work (and also learn it yourself, see #Learn). You can save a lot of money if you buy sculptures in small side roads and not in the main road.

Eat

There are lots of food stands in the centre serving large portions for next-to-nothing price. Clustered around Othavadai Street and Othavadai Cross are restaurants catering primarily to tourists (e.g., Moonrakers, Garden view restaurant , and Village Inn) which serve generally undistinguished Western food. Your best bet is often fresh grilled fish (which you can usually select yourself) served with french fries or salad.

  • Garden View Restaurant-- At Greenwoods Beach Resort, Othavadai Cross Street. Excellent food, each order freshly prepared, views of the street or the garden courtyard. Breakfast (RS25 - 45), Lunch and Dinner (RS65--145).
  • Mamalla Bhavan - Shore Temple Road (near Raja Street). Cheap, very good, popular veg thali (unlimited vegetables and curries, fixed rice and roti/bread) joint. Rs 27 to Rs 35 (lunch thali as of 2008-06-23).
  • Moonrakers Restaurant.
  • Nautilus - Othavadai Cross. Popular with foreign tourists, this French-owned cafe features credible Western food, a decent cup of coffee, a competent and friendly waitstaff, and a library stocked with Tintin and Asterix volumes. Rs 50-200.
  • The Golden Palett - At Hotel Mammalla Heritage, 104, East Raja Street, serves excellent Indian vegetarian food and has a pleasant non-veg restaurant on the rooftop.
  • Surf - Surf provides a wide variety of food for all sea-food lovers. This restaurant is at the enterance of the town. If you are not the greatest fan of sea-food, then you will find this restaurant over priced. If you are really hungry, then Surf is not a good place to eat. The service is really late and you will receive your order just before you are about to starve down.
  • Gecko Cafe - Othavadai Cross. family-run,fast, friendly and clean. features indian veg and non veg food as well as freshest seafood, offers an nice lake view for bird watching and has a relaxed atmosphere, very helpful waiter and cook
  • the new cafe, No:6,Ottavadai Cross Street. friendly people, very good music and healthy breakfast and variety of sea food .specialty in (bar - b -q )indian currys and pastas,

Drink

  • Mamallapuram is famous for its coconut water.
  • Many restaurants serves beer though it may not be on the menu.

Sleep

  • Greenwoods Resort - Othavadai Cross, +91 44 27443118, [3][4]. Pleasant family-owned hotel with a charming restaurant serving freshly cooked meals on a terrace overlooking the street and a lovely garden courtyard. Rs 700-1500 for AC/Non-AC rooms, some with terrace balcony. Full breakfast included.
  • GRT Temple Bay, [5] - a 5 star beach resort.
  • Ideal Beach Resort, Comfortable rooms and cottages in a tropical garden setting leading to palm trees and hammocks on the beach. Popular with tours. [6]
  • Ishwarya Guest house, +91 9789881558. #26,Thirukula street. 27 cozy rooms with cool sea breeze, attached bath and 24 hrs room service. approx Rs. 450 ($10).
  • Mamalla Beach Resort, [7]. - 35 sea view rooms with balconies and attached bath. Options of air conditioned standard and deluxe rooms, swimming pool, multi-cuisine restaurant with 24 hour room service.
  • Sea Breeze - Othavadai Cross (at the end of the street), +91 4114 243035. Beach resort with a swimming pool. Ayurvedic massage is available on-site. Rs 1000-2000.
  • Hotel Mamallaa Heritage, 104 East Raja Street, Phone 00-91-44-27442060/27442260/27442360 (eMail: [email protected]). An authentic Southern Indian hotel. It is famous for its buffet meals and smiling hospitality. Room rates start from Rs. 1300/- to Rs. 1800/- per day. The hotel provides excellent service and the guest are made to feel right at home. The hotel provides a mini-bar in each room and a swimming pool on the first floor.
  • Lutz Guesthouse, [8]. Nice guesthouse on the beachside.
  • Hotel Baywatch. Nice cheap room on the beach side, next to Luna Magica restaurant.
  • Hotel Ramakrishna, #8 Othavadai Street Mamallapuram, 27442331, [1]. A large place on three storeys around a central parking courtyard, filled with pot plants. The simple rooms all have bathrooms and are clean. [email protected] Rs.350.

Stay safe

India's first nuclear reactor and much of its nuclear research program is just down the beach in Kalpakkam. Don't wander into restricted areas.

Get out

  • Crocodile bank - at Vadanemmeli, 15 km on the road back to Chennai. You can feed the reptiles for a small fee.
  • Thirukalikundram
  • Pondicherry - Mamallapuram is a good stopover if you are making a trip from Chennai to Pondicherry by road.
  • The Eagle Temple - a short bus ride from Mamallupuram brings you to the spectacular Eagle Temple. Take it easy on the climb up, as it's a long way, but the views are worth it.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!